Great Books Chicago 2018

Big Ideas in Popular Culture

This annual weekend event, dedicated to discussion and exploring the city’s cultural resources, drew visitors from across the United States and Canada and took place May 4-6. This year’s theme was popular culture, and featured readings from GBF’s new anthologies Tube Talk, Double Features, and Sound Bites, as well as talks on television, film, and music by Walter J. Podrazik, Gary Schoepfel, and Joseph Coulson. Participants also enjoyed some of Chicago’s pop culture highlights, either seeing Blue Man Group perform, going to a comedy show at Second City, or hearing a jazz quartet at the legendary Green Mill club.

Thanks to all our participants, and to Harrison Middleton University for their continued support. Read attendee and HMU tutor Alissa Simon’s blog post about the weekend here.

See you all next year!

Joseph Coulson speaking at Great Books Chicago to a crowd of people

What is the registration fee?


What’s included in the registration fee?

  • One copy each of the Great Books Foundation’s new anthology Her Own Accord: American Women on Identity, Culture, and Community, and Willa Cather’s celebrated novel, My Antonia
  • Participation in three discussions, one each day, led by Great Books Foundation staff. Discussions will be held at the DePaul University conference center located at 333 S. State St., 8th floor
  • A visit to the Art Institute of Chicago along with a slideshow presentation and talk by artist Sean Forester
  • Friday evening reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks at Pinstripes Chicago
  • Ticket to a performance of “Shakespeare in Love” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 6
  • Free time to explore Chicago

What readings will we discuss?

My Antonia by Willa Cather (full novel)
Readings from Her Own Accord

  • At Odds, by Julia Serano
  • Rowing, by Anne Sexton
  • I Go Back to May 1937, by Sharon Olds
  • The Box House and the Snow, by Christina Henríquez
  • Reeling for the Empire, by Karen Russell
  • Recitatif, by Toni Morrison

Is there a more detailed itinerary?

Yes, the itinerary is:

Friday, May 5
12:15—12:30 p.m.
Check-in, pick up registration packet

12:30—1:00 p.m.
Welcome and opening remarks

1:00—2:00 p.m.
A conversation with Sean Forester, artist: ““Workers, Thinkers, Artists, Mothers,
Lovers, and Friends”

2:15—4:00 p.m.
Visit to The Art Institute of Chicago

4:30—6:30 p.m.
Discussion #1: Selections from Her Own Accord

  • “Rowing” by Anne Sexton
  • “At Odds” by Julia Serano
  • “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison

7:30—9:30 p.m.
Reception with drinks & buffet, Pinstripes Chicago

Saturday, May 6
9:30—11:30 a.m.
Discussion #2

  • My Ántonia by Willa Cather

11:30 a.m.—3:00 p.m.
Lunch on your own

3:00—5:45 p.m.
Event: Shakespeare in Love, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Free time

Sunday, May 7
9:30—10:15 a.m.
A conversation with Christine I. Hooker, PhD, Stanley G. Harris Sr. Professor of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center: “The Science of Gender Bias and the
Gender Bias in Science”

10:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.
Discussion #3: Selections from Her Own Accord

  • “I Go Back to May 1937” by Sharon Olds
  • “The Box House and the Snow” by Cristina Henriquez
  • “Reeling for the Empire” by Karen Russell

12:30 -12:45 p.m.
Hail & farewell

Where will the discussions take place?

DePaul University Center, 1 East Jackson Blvd., 8th Floor

What else do I need to know?

Read our Tips & Practical Information sheet for essential details that will help make sure your weekend in Chicago runs as smoothly as possible!

Are any Great Books Chicago events held at a centralized hotel?


Are attendees staying at the same hotel?

No. Participants can stay wherever they want. Here is a partial list of the many hotels in downtown Chicago provided by DePaul University for people participating in events there.

Should I book accommodations early?

Yes, we suggest you don’t wait too long to reserve your accommodations.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and sharing the love of good books and ideas.”
“I loved how everyone (participants and workers) was so friendly and willing to listen.”
“I liked everything! Loved Chicago, loved the discussions, the leaders, all of it!”

If you would like to be notified of open registration for Great Books Chicago 2018, please provide your information.

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