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The Chicago Humanities Forum: The Humanities in Public Life

Entering its tenth year of programming, the Chicago Humanities Forum provides an opportunity for University of Chicago faculty to engage with a public audience by presenting some aspect of their current research. With the support of the Humanities Division Visiting Committee Centennial Endowment, the Franke Institute for the Humanities sponsors this annual series as part of their broader mission to make the humanities relevant to people’s everyday life.

One of the highlights of last year’s program was a talk in March of 2009 by professor of philosophy Candace Volger. In exploring “Ethical Challenges,” Professor Vogler skillfully wove together examples from philosophy, literature, and everyday life. She challenged the audience to examine their daily choices between right and wrong, peppering the lecture with examples from the economic crisis of the last year. You can listen to a recording of Professor Vogler’s talk by clicking here.

This year’s program continues this tradition of broadening the dialogue between academia and the community-at-large. Adrian Johns, professor of history, will start the year off by discussingThe Politics of Media Piracy on November 4, 2009. He will challenge the audience to think about the history of intellectual piracy from the invention of the printing press to the dawn of the Internet era and how this history influences contemporary debate about access, use, creativity, and commerce.

A talk by Wendy Doniger onFaking It: Narratives of Circular Jewelry and Resourceful Womenwill follow on February 3, 2010; the series will conclude with Josef Stern’s discussion ofThe Unbinding of Isaac: Maimonides on Genesis 22 (The Aqedah)on May 5, 2010.

Engage yourself in the humanities at the University of Chicago by attending Professor Johns’s lecture (and future Humanities Forum events) at the Gleacher Center, located in downtown Chicago at 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive. All the lectures are free, but advance registration is recommended. To reserve your spot for the lecture, please call 773-702-8274, and for more information about the Franke Institute please visit

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