College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > DePaul Humanities Center > Events > Event Archive > 2016-2017


​​Videos for selected DePaul Humanities Center lectures and events are available at the DePaul Humanities Center Youtube Page.

The Humanities in Spaaaace!

Monday, October 17, 2016
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

4:30 — 7:00 p.m. Screening of the film, The Martian (2015)
7:00 — 9:00 p.m. Performances and lectures

Free delicious Martian treats for the first 100 audience members in attendance!

  • Dr. Chris Pak, Editor, The Science Fiction Research Association Review
  • Rachel Binx, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Prof. K. Maria D. Lane, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico
  • The Bach & Beethoven Ensemble:
    • Brandi Berry, baroque violin
    • Kiyoe Matsuura, baroque violin
    • Anna Steinhoff, viola da gamba
    • Dave Walker, theorbo

The DHC kicks off its yearlong investigation into the relations among the humanities, arts, and space-sciences with a celebration of The Red Planet. After a screening of the 2015 movie, "The Martian," the evening continues with live performances on period instruments of “The Descent of Mars” from Jean Baptiste Lully’s Thésée (1675) as well as music composed by Vicenzo Galilei (Galileo’s father). Lectures will focus on themes of imperialism, colonialism, and anti-environmentalism in science fiction’s treatment of Mars; how science and art come together when finding ways to visualize telemetry data received from the Mars Curiosity rover; and how the great “canal controversy” of the late-1800s led to claims about Martian landscape, geography, and culture that were tied to geopolitical concerns in colonial Europe and gilded-age America.

The Horror of the Humanities IV: "Pontypool"

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

6:00 — 6:30 p.m. "Haunted House" Interactive Halloween Exhibit
6:30 — 8:15 p.m. Screening of the film Pontypool (2008)
8:15 — 9:30 p.m. Conversation with the film’s director, Bruce McDonald, and star, Lisa Houle

The DHC’s fourth-annual Halloween event begins with an avant-garde "haunted house" featuring multimedia, interactive posters, installation art, and exhibits pointing to the horror of everyday life as well as the relationship between horror and the history of the humanities; continues with a screening of one of the greatest, scariest, and most semiotically-nuanced zombie films ever made, Pontypool; and concludes with a talk and Q&A with the film’s director and star. Horrific surprises abound!

Transformations Why You Shouldn't Vote Tomorrow

Monday, November 7, 2016
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

7:00 — 9:00 p.m.

  • Colman McCarthy, Director, The Center for Teaching Peace, Washington D.C.
  • Stephanie McMillan, Cartoonist/Author/Organizer
  • Jibran Ludwig, Student, Shimer College
  • R.L. Stephens II, Labor Organizer/Co-founder, Orchestrated Pulse
  • The Meijer Twins, Authors/Teachers/Art Collective
  • Pete Parsons, Improv comedian

On the eve of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, a panel of six distinguished scholars, activists, and artists from around the country investigates the case for anarchy and the question of the ethics of participation in the electoral process.  Though the next day’s election is billed as The Most Important Election Ever, we will have a reasoned conversation about the senses in which “the lesser of two evils” is not really a choice, the possibility that voting is a distraction from true political participation and action, the concern that the electoral process is part of the “bread and circuses” meant to keep the ruling class perpetually in power, and the claim that any vote within the system is ultimately a vote for empire, capital, hegemony, violence, racism, and oppression.

The Biblical Humanities
The Temptations of Christ

Monday, January 16, 2017
St. Vincent DePaul Parish
1010 W Webster Ave, Chicago

7:00 — 9:00 p.m.  
9:00 — 9:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception sponsored by Saint Vincent de Paul Parish

The gospels of Matthew and Luke recount the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert. Resisting the temptations helped to put Jesus on the path to becoming a teacher and liberator. What was so central about these three particular temptations? And what do they mean politically and ethically today? Starting with a live musical performance of Paul Stetsenko’s “Temptation of Christ” and Gustav Gunsenheimer’s “Die Versuchung Jesu,” and moving to literary and scriptural analyses, we will investigate each of the three temptations as we analyze Dostoevsky’s conception of the critical role of doubt for faith in the legend of the Grand Inquisitor, examine what it means to think that the devil has (political) power to offer in the first place, and come to see the temptations as the necessary precursor to liberation.

The Humanities in Spaaaace! Orbits

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago


5:15 — 7:00 p.m.     Screening of the film, First Orbit (2011)   
7:00 — 9:00 p.m.     Performances and lectures  

Free sweet treat that will put you in orbit for the first 100 audience members in attendance!

  • The Bach & Beethoven Ensemble
    Kurt Westerberg, composer
    Mark Nowakowski, composer
    Thomas Alaan, countertenor
    Brandi Berry, baroque violin
    Anna Steinhoff, viola da gamba
  • Roshanna Sylvester, Associate Professor of History, DePaul University
  • Courtney Giannone, professional dancer, choreographer, and world champion in competitive wheel gymnastics
  • Sean Kirkland, Associate Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University

In 1957 Sputnik I became the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. Later that year, Laika the dog became the first living being in orbit. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man—followed in 1963 by Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, the first woman—to orbit the Earth. Long before the Soviets dominated “the space race,” though, ancient cosmology turned to circles and spheres to make sense of the workings, and the beauty, of the cosmos. In January, the DHC comes full circle, too, bringing all of these traditions together in an investigation that includes a screening of the film that tells the real-time story of Gagarin’s flight, the world premiere of two musical works by Chicago composers Mark Nowakowski and Kurt Westerburg, both inspired by orbits; an artistic performance on the Cyr wheel by a master “orbiter”; and lectures that investigate the future imagined by young Soviet girls who wrote letters to Tereshkova, as well as the importance of ancient Greek cosmological thinking—Aristotelian orbs and all—for today.

Transformations/In Conversation with Great Minds
Kafka’s Metamorphosis featuring Edward Watson

Thursday, February 16, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago


6:30 — 9:00 p.m.

When Royal Ballet Principal Edward Watson dances the role of Gregor Samsa in Arthur Pita’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novella, Metamorphosis, it is not only a man that transforms into an insect on stage, but an audience that is transformed in the presence of a master and a masterpiece. Interpreting choreography that ingeniously reveals Samsa’s inner experience and intersubjective embodiment, Watson lets Kafka’s story settle into his flesh in a virtuoso performance, proving why he is one of the greatest dancers working today. After a screening of the film of the ballet, the DHC is proud to welcome Edward Watson as he joins Center director H. Peter Steeves on stage for a conversation about Metamorphosis, dance, art, and transformations.

The Scholar’s Game Night
The Scholar’s Improv 2: Academic Boogaloo

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago


7:00 — 8:30 p.m.

Join us as DePaul professors and a troupe of professional Chicago comedians go toe-to-toe, as the comedians perform improv and the professors are challenged to lecture extemporaneously on surprise topics.  Led by improv comic Pete Parsons, the comedians will present six improvised scenes, showcasing their talent, quick minds, and artistry.  These moments will be interspersed with five mini-lectures by DePaul professors, each accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation in his or her field but which he or she has never seen before.  By the end of the evening, you’ll see that what academicians do by thinking, thinking on their feet, and making others think is a real art, and that what professional improv comedians do is a similarly intellectually and aesthetically rich enterprise worthy of serious scholarly reflection—as well as laughter.


Anna Souchuk, Modern Languages/German

Paul Booth, Communications

Amy Tyson, History

Nancy Grossman, Honors Program

Rick Lee, Philosophy

s Pete Parsons, Lisa Burton, Tim Dunn and Alaina Hoffman 

“A must-see! Don’t miss the only DHC event of the year at which Stephen Colbert, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King, and Stephen Sondheim would feel equally at home—and all make fun of Stephen Baldwin.” — Stephen Jay Gould

The Humanities in Spaaaace!
The Moon

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

Event Flyer

6:15 – 6:30 p.m. Screening of the restored, hand-colored film, A Trip to the Moon (Georges Méliès, 1902)
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Performances and lectures
8:30 – 9:00 p.m. Viewing of the full moon with telescopes

Free delicious Moon Pie treats plus Tang—the drink of astronauts!—for the first 100 audience members in attendance.

  • The Bach & Beethoven Ensemble’s Catherine Spitzer (soprano) and Charles Metz (historical keyboardist)
  • Scott Montgomery, Lecturer in Geology, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki traditional storyteller, author of 130 books including Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back and Code Talker
  • Geoffrey A. Landis, NASA John Glenn Research Center

April 11 is a full moon, and on this special night the DHC concludes its space-themed series by investigating our precious natural satellite.  Live musical performances include Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata” on fortepiano, Bellini's “Vaga luna, che inargenti,” and the aria “O Luna Lucent” from Joseph Haydn's opera Il mondo della luna.  Traditional Native stories, including vocal and flute musical performances, look at Nokomis—our grandmother, the moon—from the perspective of the American Indian tribal nations of the northeast.  An investigation of  “The Moon and the Western Imagination” turns up the forms of cultural projection that scientists, artists, and others have given to the lunar body. And a NASA scientist helps us think through the ways in which science fiction has influenced our understanding and exploration of the moon.  The evening concludes with a guided tour of the moon for the audience as we go outside to telescopes that will be set up for a public viewing of the full moon.

Art, Identity, Ideology

Thursday, April 20, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

Event Flyer

  • LaShonda Katrice Barnett, author of Jam on the Vine; 2016-17 DHC Visiting Fellow
  • Jeff Carter, Professor of Art, Media, & Design, DePaul University
  • Sonny Assu, Interdisciplinary Ligwilda'xw Kwakwaka'wakw contemporary artist
  • Maggie Brown, singer

When the dominant structures of cultural power overwhelm, allowing full subjectivity only for some, the expression of one’s identity—including race, gender, ethnicity, and class—is often possible only through art. By appropriating and re-purposing those dominant markers and ideologies, art can remind us that nothing is as fixed as we might like to believe. Join us for an evening that explores the ways in which Native/tribal identity emerges by confronting and usurping corporate logos, racial identity and history proves amorphous through music (including a live performance of Abbey Lincoln's music by famed Chicago artist Maggie Brown), and a hacking of IKEA furniture questions modernist philosophy, economics, and globalism.

Clowns, Jesters, and Tricksters: Laughing from Inside the Outside

Monday, May 8, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

Event flyer

7:00 — 9:00 p.m.   Performances and lectures  

  • Rik Gern, aka Bonzo Crunch
  • Margaret Noodin, Associate Professor of English and American Indian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Beatrice Otto, author of Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World

The Enlightenment would have us believe that tragedy founds the human experience. Yet comedy is potentially liberatory. One type of comedy—the comedy that laughs at the dominant power structures from a position that challenges what it means to be outside versus inside those structures—is especially telling. From a performance and talk by a professional clown, to an investigation of the role of tricksters in Anishinaabe narratives, to an analysis of the precarious role of the court jester by the world’s leading expert on the topic, the DHC looks at what it means to laugh from the outside only to find the inside/outside dichotomy hilariously and shockingly deconstructed in that laughter.

The Humanities Laureate Award 2016-2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

7:00 — 8:30 p.m.

Event Flyer

The DePaul Humanities Center is pleased to announce that it will bestow its annual Humanities Laureate Award to the Natives at Standing Rock. This is the first time that the award has been given not to an individual but to a community - in recognition of the ethical, political, and cultural importance of that community's ongoing struggle, and in celebration of the role that the arts and humanities play in establishing such a strong and important culture and people. To accept the award on behalf of the Natives at Standing Rock, the Humanities Center welcomes Bobbi Jean Three Legs, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, and Dallas Goldtooth for an evening of discussion and reflection on the Dakota Access Pipeline, the history of the land in question, the spirit of the Sioux Nation and the countless groups that have joined in solidarity, and the possible futures that lie ahead for us all. Please join us to add your voice to the conversation and the celebration! 

Transformations: The Golden Anniversary of The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper”

Thursday, June 1, 2017
DePaul Student Center, room 120
2250 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago

7:00 — 9:00 p.m.

Event Flyer

  • John Kimsey, Associate Professor, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, DePaul University
  • Bill Martin, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University
  • Elaine T. May, Professor of History and American Studies, University of Minnesota
  • 6 bands/musicians with live performances of their own versions of Sgt. Pepper songs

On June 1, 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album that irrevocably changed music, art, and culture. On the fiftieth anniversary of that date, the DHC celebrates Sgt. Pepper’s golden anniversary with a special event featuring scholarly lectures and live performances. Ranging from talks that cover the way in which “Pepperism” influenced other bands and albums, to the meaning of the album from a feminist, historical, and musicological perspective, the lectures will also be accompanied by several live performances of award-winning musicians offering their contemporary interpretations of songs from the album. It’s getting better all the time as the DHC closes its 2016-17 season with a little help from our friends!