Saving the Internet

Please join us for the next Cafe Society as we discuss this timely topic.

What: Saving the Internet and Net Neutrality

When: Tuesday, December 6th, 6:00-7:00 pm

Where: Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafé

1323 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 (for map/details, click here)

From “Net Neutrality 101” by Save the Internet

“The network owners say they want a ‘tiered’ Internet. If you pay to get in the top tier, your site and your service will run fast. If you don’t, you’ll be in the slow lane….Make no mistake: The free-flowing Internet as we know it could very well become history.  What does that mean?  It means we could be headed toward a pay-per-view Internet where Web sites have fees.  It means we may have to pay a network tax to run voice-over-the-Internet phones, use an advanced search engine, or chat via Instant Messenger.”

Questions for Consideration

If phone or cable companies are able to interfere with content on the internet, how would that affect our experience as internet users?  With our current economic climate why is it important to keep all information on the internet safe-guarded and open for all users?  How can we preserve the freedom of information on the internet?

Want to learn more?

If you don’t get a chance to read the articles, please still join in the discussion.  For more information, please contact Erika Dudley at

Please join us for the next Cafe Society as we discuss this timely topic.

What: A Growing Distrust of Government

When: Tuesday, November 15th, 6:00-7:00 pm

Where: Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafé

1323 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 (for map/details, click here)

From “New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government” by Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan

“With Election Day just over a year away, a deep sense of economic anxiety and doubt about the future hangs over the nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with Americans’ distrust of government at its highest level ever. The combustible climate helps explain the volatility of the presidential race and has provided an opening for protest movements like Occupy Wall Street, to highlight grievances about banks, income inequality and a sense that the poor and middle class have been disenfranchised…Not only do 89 percent of Americans say they distrust government to do the right thing, but 74 percent say the country is on the wrong track and 84 percent disapprove of Congress— warnings for Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Questions for Consideration

How do the findings of this poll compare with your own views of government? What explains the rise in growing public distrust of government institutions? How can we work towards making government leaders more responsive to the needs of the people?

Want to learn more?  Click on the links below:

If you don’t get a chance to read the articles, please still join in the discussion.  For more information, please contact Erika Dudley at



What a great way to spend an evening!  Civic Knowledge Project participated in the first (of many to come) Fresh Fruit and Veggie Carnival with University of Chicago’s Donoghue’s Elementary School.  Surrounded by elementary school kids making delicious smoothies to order and choreographed performances keeping the kids moving, we shared our Humanities in the Gardens with Donoghue families by describing CKP’s sustainability efforts, starting plants from seed, and sampling healthy alternatives.



Please join us Wednesday, April 13th, 5:30-6:30PM

at the Robust Coffee Lounge when we discuss

What is a word worth?


From New edition of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ to lose the ‘n’ word by Keith Staskiewicz

What is a word worth? According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”

Questions for Consideration

What is problematic about replacing the “n-word” to “slave” and “Injun” to “Indian” in the Adventures of Huckberry Finn? What are possible benefits? How might this change take away from the nature and intention of the book? Is this an attempt to sanitize American culture and what are potential intended and unintended consequences?

Want to learn more?

A case for censoring Huck Finn

Censorship of ‘Huck Finn’ tasteless but not mandatory

To tweak or not to tweak a literary classic: Pro-censor

Letter: Censoring Huck Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…through censorship!

Free and open to the public.


For more information, please contact or call (773) 834-3929.







Please join us for our next discussion of Café Society at the Robust Coffee Lounge about Where are the Women in Wikipedia? By Susan C.  Herring

Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Time: 5:30-6:30 pm
Where: Robust Coffee Lounge

“I was not surprised to read that 87 percent of contributors to Wikipedia are men….Wikipedia, like the linguist list, is a site where discourse is not infrequently contentious. On ‘talk’ pages, where the process of article creation is hashed out, one’s contributions are often challenged, and some contributors, anonymous and otherwise, use rude and haranguing language. Such environments are — if not outright intimidating — unappealing to many women.”

Questions for Consideration

Given that 87% of Wikipedia contributors are men, how might this affect the perspective of its content? What accounts for this gender gap in Wikipedia? Why is it important to increase female contribution in public discourse and in public Internet communication? How can we encourage this?

Want to learn more?

Ladies, Can We Talk (About Wikipedia)?

Twenty-Three Short Thoughts About Women and Criticism

Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender

The Truth According to Wikipedia

Free and open to the pubilc.

Informational Session: Board Leadership Certificate
Hosted by: The Southside Arts & Humanities Network, Graham School of General Studies and Arts & Business Council of Chicago

Develop the knowledge you need to become a successful board member of a small southside arts organization. The training you receive will enable you to make a positive impact while building your professional skills and civic responsibility.

When: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 12:00-1:30pm
Where: Graham School of General Studies, Press Building, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL, 60637 Room 201

Who: Individuals interested in becoming an effective board member for a small south side arts or humanities organization.


Lunch will be provided (RSVP required)

The Southside Arts & Humanities Network (The Network) offers a Board Leadership program designed to leverage the University resources to provide participating South Side cultural organizations with talent for their boards. The Board Leadership program is unique in two ways: First, it aims to serve small and emerging arts and humanities organizations with annual budgets of less than $500,000. These organizations often have “working boards” that require dedication. Second, this program is “by the Southside, for the Southside” — with an emphasis on connecting the intellectual resources of the University of Chicago community with the cultural resources of local non-profits. The program will train participants and match their skills and interests with one of 10 selected small South Side cultural institutions.

For more information:

Thanks to all who joined us Saturday afternoon for our first Annual Odyssey/Bridge Program Symposium.  We had a fantastic turnout of students, graduates, faculty and friends.  The presentations were interesting and thought-provoking.

The Pig roast and potluck added to the fun and convivial day.  Thanks to all who attended and brought something to share with our large gathering.

For those who would like to know more about the Bridge Course and Odyssey Project, please follow this link.

Stay tuned for more upcoming events.

Here is our second installment in the series highlighting some of the graduates of the Odyssey Project.

When did you participate in Odyssey?

I participated in the first Odyssey Project Class in Chicago-2000.

What made you enroll?

FREE!!! Caught my eye!!! I saw the posting for the Odyssey Project at my daughter’s Day Care center. It stated that there would be FREE Childcare; Bus fare; Books; and Dinner if I enrolled in this class to earn college credits- how could I pass that up?!! I was already thinking I should go back to school. The Odyssey Project helped guided me closer towards that goal.

Have you done anything Odyssey-related since?  If so, can you give UP TO 3-5 examples?

After completing the first course, I did enroll and finish The Odyssey Project – Bridge Course. After completing that, I did enroll myself at Daley College. I felt I needed more of a challenge so I then enrolled in an accelerated college course at Roosevelt University. I completed my semester there. Got engaged, bought a house in the suburbs and began a new journey in my life. I am short credits for my associates.

Was there anything in particular that grabbed you during class?  A particular book, poem, etc.?

What “grabbed” me was the generosity of the University of Chicago Professors! Their dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement were what many of us were looking for. The experience of going back to school was intimating enough, but to be taught by professors from a prestigious university such as University Chicago, could have been overwhelming, but they put us at ease and we all appreciated that. We were a family.

After working a full day- for many of us- the professors as well as students had one common goal: to endure and ensure that we complete this course with pride and a feeling of accomplishment. I believe we did just that!

Do you write?  How long have you been writing?

I am an avid reader and writer. I have written poems all my life. I enjoy writing short stories and have journalized much of my life as well. Currently I am working on my memoir. I am a member of “The Lansing Public Library Writer’s Group” and we are working on publishing our second book. It will be a collection of our works.

How would you describe your style?

I am a hopeless romantic and an enthusiastic storyteller- or I’d like to this so! My writing depicts all of what life has to offer- the good as well as the bad; the happiness including the sadness. In beginning the process of writing a memoir, I find that pain reigns through and through. You can’t escape it, you shouldn’t avoid it. Through it all- how you manage your heartache or sorrow and begin the healing process, undoubtedly helps mold you into the person you are today.

We have introduced a new feature, A Few Questions, where a friend of the Odyssey Project or the Civic Knowledge Project is interviewed.  Our first one is with Malvin Jeffries.  If you are interested, please click here.

Taking his cue from Madison, Mr. Obama writes in his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope” that the constitutional framework is “designed to force us into a conversation,” that it offers “a way by which we argue about our future.”  An excerpt from “In Writings of Obama, a Philosophy is Unearthed”, New York Times, October 27, 2010.

Recently, two articles about President Obama’s approach to the presidency appeared in the New York Times. One, a book review of Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition describes him as a true “intellectual”.  The second, an editorial by Paul Krugman, highlights some of the president’s difficulties.

Here are the two links:

In Writings of Obama, a Philosophy is Unearthed

The World as He Finds It

What are your thoughts on these articles.  Please share your insights by posting a comment here?

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