The 17th annual Chicago Humanities Festival, this year themed “Peace and War,” runs through 11/12, offering dozens of lectures, readings, and discussions by an international coterie of writers, artists, and scholars as well as film screenings (see reviews in Movies) and theatrical and musical performances. And for the first time the festival introduces science-focused “Wonder Cabinet” programs and free “Sidebars at the Center” events. Programs are $5 in advance, $6 (cash only) at the door, unless otherwise noted. (Tickets for sold-out programs often become available due to attrition; arrive at the venue no later than 30 minutes before the program, and available tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.) Tickets can be ordered by phone at 312-494-9509 or online at Following is the schedule through 11/9; a complete schedule is available at


RPaul Krugman The economist and New York Times op-ed columnist (The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century) delivers the festival’s opening lecture. Northwestern University School of Law. 6 PM Sold out.


“Curiodyssey” The festival’s benefit gala includes a cocktail reception, silent auction, and dinner. Details are being kept under wraps, but CHF artistic director Lawrence Weschler notes, “It will be an evening of pure spectacle,” and audience members are encouraged to bring along their cell phones. Field Museum. $500; call 312-661-1028, ext. 18, for tickets. 6 PM There’s also a 10 PM performance-only presentation of Curiodyssey. It’s $25; call 312-494-9509.

“Night and Fog” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 6:30 PM

“Japan’s Peace Constitution” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 8:30 PM


“Bode’s Law and the Harmony of the Spheres” A “Wonder Cabinet” program by film editor Walter Murch (Jarhead, The English Patient). Loyola University. 10 AM

“Families at War” Discussion with playwrights Richard Nelson (Franny’s Way) and Toni Dorfman (Family Wolf); actors from the Goodman and the Steep Theatre Company perform play excerpts. Goodman Theatre. 10 AM

“The House in Conflict” Talk by historian Robert V. Remini (The House: The History of the House of Representatives). Newberry Library. 10 AM

RStephen Kinzer discusses Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq. Chicago History Museum. 10:30 AM Sold out.

“The Silk Road to Peace” National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry presents highlights from his books South Southeast and The Path to Buddha. Art Institute. 10:30 AM Sold out.

“War Is Hell(arious)” Film scholar Patricia Erens screens clips from classic comedies such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Gene Siskel Film Center. 10:30 AM Sold out.

“The War on World Order” Talk by international political affairs scholar Charles Hill. First United Methodist Church. 10:30 AM

“Sidebars at the Center” Studs Terkel interviews journalist-artist Lauren Redniss (Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies); they’ll be joined by CHF artistic director Lawrence Weschler; a two-hour reading of Maureen Gallagher’s drama Martin Furey’s Shot follows at 12:30. And at 3 PM Iraq war veteran Brian Turner reads from his poetry collection Here, Bullet. Chicago Cultural Center. 11 AM F

Richard Taub The University of Chicago social sciences prof presents There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America. Columbia College. 11 AM

“The Collective Choice” Political scientist and economist Cynthia Farrar “examines the role of democratic publics in decisions about war in ancient Athens and modern America.” Alliance Francaise. Noon

“Cyberconflict: Representations of War in New Media and Electronic Games” Panel with Columbia College new media profs Annette Barbier and Brendan Riley and video game producer Kevin Scott Mills. Museum of Contemporary Art. Noon F

“Kinsale and the Great O’Neill” Irish historians Hiram Morgan and John McCavitt discuss events surrounding the Anglo-Irish Nine Years War of 1594-1603. Newberry Library. Noon

“The Science of Optics, the History of Art” “Wonder Cabinet” program by physicist and optical scientist Charles Falco. Loyola University. Noon

R”Can a ‘War Film’ Oppose War?” Panel with film editor Walter Murch (Jarhead, Apocalypse Now), film scholar Jill Godmilow, and Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. Northwestern University School of Law. 12:30 PM

“Decasia” See Movies. Gene Siskel Film Center. 12:30 PM

“Rights During Wartime” Discussion with federal judge Richard Posner (Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency) and University of Chicago law prof Geoffrey Stone (Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism). Chicago History Museum. 12:30 PM Sold out.

Peter Sis presents his illustrated Tibet Through the Red Box. Art Institute. 12:30 PM

“The Cold War as History” Talk by historian John Lewis Gaddis (The Cold War: A New History). First United Methodist Church. 1 PM

“The Search for Internal and External Peace” Panel on Buddhism with Columbia College philosophy prof Stephen Asma (The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha), Cambodian Association of Illinois director Kompha Seth, and Northern Illinois University anthropology prof Judy Ledgerwood. Columbia College. 1 PM Sold out.

“An ‘Iliad’ for Today” Talk by classicist and translator Stanley Lombardo. Harold Washington Library Center. 1:30 PM

R”The Art of the Interview” Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch holds a conversation and discusses The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. 1. Chicago Cultural Center. 2 PM Sold out.

“Octopus Garden” A “Wonder Cabinet” program. Marine biologist Roger Hanlon presents videos featuring marine invertebrates. Loyola University. 2 PM

“The Rhetoric of War” Talk by political scientist Norma Thompson (The Ship of State: Statecraft and Politics From Ancient Greece to Democratic America). Alliance Francaise. 2 PM Sold out.

“Wi-Fi or I Spy?” Discussion with Matt Adams of the interactive-media artists’ group Blast Theory (presenting the show “Can You See Me Now” at the MCA) and University of Illinois speech communications prof Christian Sandvig. Museum of Contemporary Art. 2 PM F

Nicholas Lemann discusses Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War in a conversation with arts educator and historian Ronne Hartfield. Chicago History Museum. 2:30 PM

“A Neighborhood Fight” A reading of David Barr and Glenn Jeffers’s play, based on Roberta Feldman and Susan Stall’s book The Dignity of Resistance: Women Residents’ Activism in Chicago Public Housing; the playwrights and authors hold a Q and A after the performance. Art Institute. 2:30 PM

Paul Kennedy (The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers) discusses The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations. Northwestern University School of Law. 3 PM Sold out.

“Dr. Frankenstein’s Footsteps” “Wonder Cabinet” program by Columbia College film prof Daniel Dinello (Technophobia! Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology). Loyola University. 4 PM

“Teaching a Culture of Peace and Justice” Panel with Voices in the Wilderness cofounder Kathy Kelly, Columbia College human rights instructor Shayna Plaut, and Columbia College liberal education prof Louis Silverstein. Chicago Cultural Center. 4 PM

“Our Strategy in Iraq: A No-Holds-Barred Debate” Discussion with international political affairs scholar Charles Hill and historians John Lewis Gaddis (The Cold War: A New History) and Paul Kennedy (The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations). Northwestern University School of Law. 5 PM Sold out.

“War Music” The ensemble Aurea performs British poet Christopher Logue’s adaptation of Homer’s Iliad. Merit School of Music. 8 PM


Joyce Carol Oates The novelist (Blonde) receives the 2006 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize. Symphony Center. $15. 10 AM

R”The War Reporter” Panel with foreign correspondents Chris Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning), A.J. Langguth (Our Vietnam), and Stephen Kinzer (Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq); moderated by NPR’s Weekend Edition host Scott Simon. Chicago History Museum. 11 AM Sold out.

“Whither Africa?” Panel with Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda), Tanzanian ambassador to the UN Augustine Mahiga, and public-health consultant Helen Epstein; moderated by journalist Susie Linfield. Newberry Library. 11 AM Sold out.

R”Women and Torture” Panel with editors Tara McKelvey (One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers) and Karen Greenberg (The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib) and Janis Karpinski (One Woman’s Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story). Columbia College. 11 AM

R”The Autobiography of My Alter Ego” Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member Tracy Letts performs this monologue by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa (Neon Vernacular), under Komunyakaa’s direction. Chicago Cultural Center. 11:30 AM

Sara Terry presents her photo collection Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace. Alliance Francaise. Noon

“Sidebars at the Center” Brent Hoff, editor of the McSweeney’s “DVD magazine” Wholpin, screens a selection of short films curated for the festival; continuing through midafternoon. Chicago Cultural Center. 12:30 PM F

Gary Snyder The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (Turtle Island) reads his work. Art Institute. 12:30 PM Sold out.

Louise Erdrich, Taylor Branch Novelist Erdrich (The Painted Drum) and historian Branch (At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68) receive the 2006 Chicago Tribune Heartland prizes for fiction and nonfiction. Symphony Center. $15. 1 PM

“Holy Terror and Holy Love” Talk by Northwestern literature, religion, and law prof Regina Schwartz (The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism). Columbia College. 1 PM Sold out.

“An Architecture of Peace” Talk by architect Moshe Safdie. Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. 1:30 PM Sold out.

“Arms and the Man” Actors from ShawChicago perform selected scenes from the George Bernard Shaw play; with a discussion of the work. Chicago Cultural Center. $10. 1:30 PM Sold out.

R”Hope in the Dark” Discussion with Nation correspondent Jonathan Schell (The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People) and cultural historian Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities). Harold Washington Library Center. 1:30 PM

“War and Peace in the Halls of Moctezuma” Talk by historian Thomas Cummins (Ecuador). Newberry Library. 1:30 PM

“War Into Words” Discussion with NPR’s Weekend Editon host and novelist Scott Simon (Pretty Birds) and film editor Walter Murch (Jarhead). Chicago History Museum. 1:30 PM

“Peace Through Justice” Panel with legal scholars Lydia Lazar and Bart Brown of Chicago-Kent School of Law, Daniel Rothenberg of DePaul’s International Human Rights Law Institute, and Andrew Wachtel of Northwestern’s Center for International and Comparative Studies. Loyola University. 2 PM

“Unilateralism vs. Reconciliation: Which Is the Way to Peace?” Journalist Emily Hauser comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Alliance Francaise. 2 PM

“Epic Battles/Epic Pictures” Talk by Asian-art curator Betty Seid. Columbia College. 3 PM

R”Eyes on Iraq” Panel with New Yorker staff writer George Packer (The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq), historian Juan Cole (the blog Informed Comment), Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid (Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War), and writer-diplomat Rory Stewart (The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq); moderated by journalist Susie Linfield. First United Methodist Church. 3 PM

“Innovation and Tradition” Members of the Silk Road Ensemble offer a performance and discussion; a self-guided gallery tour follows. Art Institute. 3 PM

Andrew Carroll presents the anthology Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families; local veterans read excerpts. Newberry Library. 3:30 PM

“Moshe Safdie: The Power of Architecture” See Movies. Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. 3:30 PM F Reservations required.

R”Poems of Peace and War” Poet-translator Philip Metres reviews the history of the war poem, followed by readings by poets Jorie Graham, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Gary Snyder, along with Iraq war veteran Brian Turner (Here, Bullet) and Iraqi-born poet Dunya Mikhail (The War Works Hard). Chicago History Museum. 3:30 PM

“War Through the Lens” Panel with photographers Steve McCurry (Looking East), Sara Terry (Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace), and Ashley Gilbertson, the 2004 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award winner. Chicago Cultural Center. 3:30 PM

“Caravaggio” Theatrical production by the Silk Road Theatre Project. First United Methodist Church. $15. 4 PM

Sold out.

“Jihad: Internal Struggle and Holy War” Talk by University of Chicago Center for International Studies associate director Irving Birkner. Alliance Francaise. 4 PM Sold out.

“Where Is War Hiding?” Panel with American poet Christopher Merrill, Senegalese novelist Marietou Mbaye Bileoma (aka Ken Bugul), Uruguayan poet and novelist Rafael Courtoisie, Afghan poet Partow Naderi, and Iraqi literary critic Fadhil Thamir. Loyola University. 4:30 PM

“One More Gaudy Night” Scholar Ralph Williams is joined by actors in a lecture-performance based on Shakespeare’s history plays. Northwestern University School of Law. 6:30 PM

“Voci” Performance by composer and sound artist Pamela Z. Museum of Contemporary Art. $10. 7:30 PM


“Camp Thiaroye” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 6:30 PM

“Good Songs for Bad Times” Revue featuring songs from World War II and the Depression, with performers Barry Day, Klea Blackhurst, Anna Bergman, Heather Hawkins, Steve Ross, Simon Jones, and Evan Stern. Northwestern University School of Law. $10. 7 PM Sold out.


“They Chose China” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 6:30 PM

Joan Baez Concert presented in association with the Old Town School of Folk Music. Harris Theater for Music and Dance. $40-$50 (for tickets call 312-334-7777 or go to 7:30 PM Sold out.

“Peace Paix Paz” The Chicago Sinfonietta performs works by Samuel Barber and Sergey Prokofiev, as well as the debut of James “Kimo” Williams’s Buffalo Soldiers. Symphony Center. $15. 7:30 PM

“Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 P.M.” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque.

8:30 PM


“The Big Red One: The Reconstruction” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 6:30 PM

“And the Songs Live On: Remembering Songwriters Who Departed Too Soon” Musical program hosted by cabaret performer Karen Mason. Northwestern University School of Law. $10. 7 PM Sold out.


Kwame Anthony Appiah (The Ethics of Identity) discusses Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. Art Institute. 6 PM Sold out.

“The Medal of Honor” Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton and Thomas Norris discuss their experiences in the Vietnam war. Northwestern University School of Law. 6 PM

“Full Metal Jacket” See Movies. Facets Cinematheque. 6:30 PM


Alliance Francaise 54 W. Chicago

Art Institute Fullerton Hall, Michigan and Adams

Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington

Chicago History Museum 1601 N. Clark

Columbia College Ferguson Lecture Hall, 600 S. Michigan

Facets Cinematheque 1517 W. Fullerton

Field Museum Simpson Theater, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

First United Methodist Church Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington

Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N. State

Goodman Theatre Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn

Harold Washington Library Center 400 S. State

Harris Theater for Music and Dance 205 E. Randolph

Loyola University Rubloff Auditorium, 25 E. Pearson

Merit School of Music 38 S. Peoria

Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E. Chicago

Newberry Library 60 W. Walton

Northwestern University School of Law Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies 618 S. Michigan

Symphony Center Armour Stage, 220 S. Michigan