NEH Summer Institute: Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955

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Summer Program
June 12, 2017 to July 7, 2017
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Humanities, Intellectual History, Local History
Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twnetieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955
Monday, June 12, 2017 – Friday, July 7, 2017
Directed by Liesl Olson, The Newberry Library
 The Newberry Library is pleased to announce a 2017 NEH summer instituteMaking Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955. The 4-week institute will explore Chicago’s contribution to the modernist movement, with particular attention given to literature and the visual arts. The program of lectures, discussion, and site visits will consider the dimensions of a Chicago “style,” from the turn of the century through the Second World War. Participants will also consider how Chicago’s cultural output during these decades is connected more broadly to transatlantic modernism. We will begin with the persistent cultural resonances of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago—better known as the World’s Fair—which gave rise to many of the city’s key cultural institutions, clubs, and smaller arts organizations. We will then explore what scholars have called the “Chicago literary renaissance” of the 1910s and 1920s, particularly the work of writers who challenged the subjects and styles of a genteel literary tradition. From the interracial collaborations supported by the Works Progress Administration in Chicago through the creative ferment of Bronzeville, the institute will also engage a rapidly growing body of scholarship on the Chicago Black Renaissance. Importantly, the institute aims for an inclusive and expansive history of modernist literature and art in Chicago across racial lines.

Each week of the institute will include site visits to Chicago museums, clubs, neighborhoods, landmarks, or archives, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Poetry Foundation. There also will be an organized trip to the Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at the Carter G. Woodson Library, the oldest and largest African American Studies repository in the Midwest.

Applications are due by March 1, 2017.

Contact Info: 

Liesl Olson, The Newberry Library

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