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Newberry Library (Chicago, IL 60610-3380)
Liesl Marie Olson (Project Director: February 2016 to December 2019)
Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955

A four-week institute for college and university teachers to study modernist literary and artistic expression through the collections of the Newberry Library and various sites in Chicago.

The Newberry proposes a 4-week NEH summer institute that will explore Chicago’s contribution to the modernist movement, with particular attention given to literature. The institute will begin with the persistent cultural resonances of the 1893 World’s Fair and will end with mid-century representations of African-American experiences in literature and the visual arts. The institute aims for an inclusive and expansive history of modernist literature and art in Chicago across racial lines. Four themes will be emphasized: the geographic uniqueness of Chicago as both a Midwestern and international hub; the historically overlooked women in Chicago who built the city’s literary and cultural infrastructure; the connections between the “literary renaissance” of the 1910s and early 1920s and the Chicago Black Renaissance; and modernism’s distinctive production and reception history in Chicago. Participants will engage the Newberry’s vast collections and the experience of the city itself.

Project fields:
American Literature; Art History and Criticism; Urban Studies

Institutes for College and University Teachers

Education Programs

$196,839 (approved)
$190,906 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2016 – 12/31/2017