Exhibits

James Baldwin Among the Philosophers

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 25 – December 31, 2017

James Baldwin at Civil Rights March on Washington

James Baldwin at Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., 08/28/1963 via Wikipedia Commons

“Take no one’s word for anything, including mine—but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” James Baldwin wrote these words for his nephew, and namesake, as the open letter “My Dungeon Shook,” originally published in The Progressive and later as an introduction to his book The Fire Next Time (Dial Press, 1963). The book was one of the best sellers of 1963 and earned him the cover of Time Magazine.

James Arthur Baldwin was born in Harlem on August 2, 1924. He became a minister at Fireside Pentecostal Assembly at age 14. During his teenage years, Baldwin started writing seriously. By the end of high school, he had started to question the role of the church in the African-American community, while growing more appreciative of the arts and aware of his queerness. He stopped preaching in 1941 at 17 and by 1944 was living in the artist community of Greenwich Village, with his roommate and lifelong friend Marlon Brando. Baldwin rose to prominence after the publication of his first novel in 1953, Go Tell It on the Mountain, a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood. By the 1960s, Baldwin had become the most recognizable African-American writer in the U.S. and the de facto spokesperson for the Civil Right Movement, a title he opposed. In 1971, Baldwin moved to France. He continued to write and visited the U.S. to teach at Bowling Green University and the University of California, Berkeley. By the time of his death on December 1, 1987, James Baldwin had published over 25 works, including novels, plays, poems and essay collections.

Baldwin’s house in Saint Paul de Vence, France in 2009

The house where James Baldwin lived and died in Saint Paul de Vence, France (image taken July 2009) via Wikipedia Commons

James Baldwin’s work is widely recognized for its religious overtones and influences as well as for its critiques of racism and heterosexual norms. His work is equally important as a contribution to American philosophy. Cornel West dubbed Baldwin a “Black American Socrates” since he “infect[ed] others with the same perplexity he himself felt and grappled with: the perplexity of trying to be a decent human being and thinking person in the face of the pervasive mendacity and hypocrisy of the American empire.” (Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism [New York: Penguin, 2004] 80) This two-case exhibit displays books and essays by James Baldwin, alongside philosophical works that engage his work.

1917: The Russian Revolution: In History… In Memory… In Literature

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 25 – December 31, 2017

The year 1917 imposed next to a flag of the Hammer & Sickle, the emblem of the new Soviet State“The Russian Revolution was, at least in terms of its effects, one of the biggest events in the history of the world. Within a generation of the establishment of Soviet power, one-third of humanity was living under regimes modeled upon it. The revolution of 1917 has defined the shape of the contemporary world.” This statement by Orlando Figes in the introduction to his book A People’s Tragedy: the Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 (New York: Viking, 1996) succinctly states the reasons why the centenary of this event is being commemorated far beyond the borders of Russia, not only by those whose lives and families have been changed by it, for good or ill, but also by those who have studied its meaning and consequences.

It was an almost impossible task to select from among the thousands of books written in dozens of languages on any given aspect of the Russian Revolution. Instead, this two-case exhibit highlights the complexity of the era in three ways: through works of history written in the years immediately after the revolution and civil war, as well those written after the end of the Soviet era (1989) when Soviet archives were at last opened to scholars; through the personal memoirs, diaries and oral histories of those who lived through these events; and through a selection of the literature which the revolution inspired.

Well Equipped: Library Technology from Days Past

library worker with photoduplication equipment

From the Photographic Archive (URL: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/), Identifier: apf1-02019.

September 18, 2017 – June 7, 2018
Location: Crerar Library First Floor

Over the years Crerar Library has used the newest equipment and technologies to make books, journals and other information accessible to patrons.  These tools have evolved through the years.  A library card system has been replaced with online catalog with significant collections available electronically.   Early techniques for photocopying and microfilming materials have been eclipsed by digital scanning services.  Displayed are objects and photos of some of these earlier technologies used by the Library.

A Web version of this  exhibit is also available: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/collex/exhibits/well-equipped-library-technology-days-past/

Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago

The Red Press exhibition has been extended.
Exhibition Dates: September 25, 2017 – January 15, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Socialist Revolution poster

“Long Live the Worldwide Socialist Revolution,” undated. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Samuel N. Harper, the first American scholar to have devoted a career to the study of Russia, was a first-hand witness to Russia’s revolutions of 1905 and 1917. An avid collector, over four decades, Harper built a unique archive that provides a street-level view of many of the historic events of the period. Broadsides, handbills and pamphlets attest to a long war of ideas—and to a decisive battle for explanatory power in the months leading up to the Revolution.

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the exhibition also draws from other archives in Special Collections, including materials documenting the development of revolutionary print culture in the USSR, the spread of revolutionary ideas and methods from Russia to the Far East and to the streets of Chicago, and anti-revolutionary texts such as the fraudulent, anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Together they allow us to trace visual genealogies from the political satire of the post-1905 period to the mortal derision of Stalinist propaganda in the 1930s and the HUAC hearings of the 1950s.

Curators (from University of Chicago unless otherwise indicated): Robert Bird, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies; Christy Brandly, Ph.D. student in Political Science; Monica Felix, graduate student in Comparative Literature; Erin Hagood, student in the College; Austin Jung, Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature; Zachary King, Ph.D. student in Russian Literature; Zdenko Mandusic, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University; William Nickell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Claire Roosien, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Department of History; and Kaitlyn Tucker, PhD student in Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Related Events

Socialist poster

“Here and There and Everywhere We’re Building Socialism!,” 1930. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition: Revolution Every Day
September 14, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60637

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this exhibition immerses visitors in the distinct textures and speeds of everyday life that arose—and have lingered stubbornly—in the wake of revolutionary upheaval. Revolution Every Day juxtaposes works of Soviet graphic art—primarily posters from the 1920s and 1930s, many by female artists such as Valentina Kulagina—with works on video and film, including excerpts from Dziga Vertov’s documentary films from the 1930s, post-Soviet videos by artists like Olga Chernysheva, as well as a new commission by Cauleen Smith.

Humanities Day—Guided Tour of Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago
October 21, 12–1 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Trace the worldwide spread of revolutionary and anti-revolutionary media and ideas through rare printed sources. Professor and co-curator William Nickel leads a tour of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 as it was waged through broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals, and posters.

Registration: This tour is full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email humanities@uchicago.edu.

Revolutionology Workshop: The Bolshevik Contagion
November 3–4
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

Presenters at this two-day workshop, the first in a series sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium research project Revolutionology: Media and Networks of Intellectual Revolution, will focus on key texts and images emerging directly from the revolutionary struggle in Russia and the early Soviet Union.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Art in the Stacks: Selections from Special Collections

Exhibition Dates: June 19–September 15, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Installation view: In the foreground: Edouard Benedictus’s “Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches,” [1928?]. In the background: Henri Matisse’s “Jazz,” 1947. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Special Collections Research Center is known for being the University of Chicago Library’s center for rare books, manuscripts, and university archives. Nestled within these materials, there is a lesser known aspect of our collections—art. Art in the Stacks highlights these holdings with a selection of original paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in addition to artists’ books and other works on paper produced in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Stephen Longstreet’s collages

Installation view of Stephen Longstreet’s collages. Stephen Longstreet Collection. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Among the featured items are Picasso etchings, selections from Matisse’s Jazz book, pen and ink drawings by  Harold Haydon (PhB’30, AM’31), Professor Emeritus in Art, University of Chicago, and a bronze sculpture by Ruth Vollmer.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

A Brief History of Protest at the University of Chicago: 1915-1992

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: May 26 – June 30, 2017

Students march to protest the Draft in 1969

“Students march from Hyde Park into Woodlawn during a draft moratorium rally in Chicago, part of a nationwide day of protest against the Vietnam War.” 10.15.1969.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-03566], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

“Dear Sir: Your readers will be very interested to know the outcome of the conference between the teachers of the Wendell Phillips High School and the citizens’ committee appointed at a meeting of the Negro Fellowship League, January 17th. It will be remembered that on that day both Miss Fannie Smith, dean of girls at the Wendell Phillips School, and Mr. Perrine, assistant principal, addressed the League in explanation and defense of the segregation of White and Colored children in the social room.” So wrote Ida B. Wells, journalist and founding member of the NAACP, in a letter to the editors at the Broad Axe, published by the newspaper on February 27, 1915. The affair became public after Marion Talbot, Dean of Women at the University of Chicago, publicly protested the decision to separate white and black students of Wendell Phillips at social events.

Activists protesting on 10th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster.

“Ronald Schupp (left, in mask), a Chicago civil rights leader and minister, and Bill Steyert (right) participate in a vigil commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The event, sponsored by Greenpeace and Rockefeller Chapel, featured two speakers who survived the disaster. It was held at the Henry Moore sculpture ‘Nuclear Energy’ on the University of Chicago campus.” 04.26.1996.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-06042-002], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

There exists a long and varied history of social activism among the students, faculty, and staff at the University of Chicago. This exhibit displays documentation of protests that have occurred at the University of Chicago. The material was drawn primarily from the digitized archives of the University, especially the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the University of Chicago Campus Publications. The scope of the materials, ranging from 1915 to 1992, match the coverage in these two collections.

(Co)-Humanitarian

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fifth Floor
Exhibit Dates: May 1 – August 1, 2017

Cover image of 조선 유적유물도감 / Joseon Dynasty Ruins & Relics Illustrated Book

조선 유적유물도감
Joseon Dynasty Ruins & Relics Illustrated Book

(Co)-Humanitarian uses print and visual resources to illustrate the ideological and geographic divisions between South and North Korea.  The exhibit also conveys North Korea’s human rights issues. In 1948 Korea separated into South and North Korea; it has remained a divided country ever since. The exhibit exposes our generation’s role in acknowledging and understanding the differences between South and North Korea with a view to fostering peaceful communication between the separated nations. The younger generation of the Chicago Korean community conceived this exhibition as a way to connect with North Koreans living in Empower House, which is a U.S. North Korean defector shelter located in Hyde Park, through academic education, art activities, and discussions.

보물을 찾는 소년들 / Boys Searching for Treasure

보물을 찾는 소년들
Boys Searching for Treasure

(Co)-Humanitarian is a collaboration between the University of Chicago Library and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Each institution has curated display cases  on the same topic, but with two different approaches. Emphasizing visual imagery, (Co)-Humanitarian was presented at the SAIC Flaxman Library in January and February 2017 making use of the Joan Flasch Artist Book collections.  The exhibit at the University of Chicago Library displays print publications from South Korea, North Korea, and other countries, focusing on 3 different subjects: North Korean politics, culture, and human rights.

Collection selected by librarians at the University of Chicago:
Jee-Young Park, Korean Studies Librarian, and Nanju Kwon, Visiting Librarian Intern

Display designed by student artists at the Art Institute of Chicago:
Jae Hwan Lim, Rachel Chung and Eun Pyo Hong

Library exhibition poster

The University of Chicago Library display cases

The University of Chicago Library display cases

 

SAIC Flaxman Library display case

SAIC Flaxman Library display case

Catholics, Freethinkers, and the Printed Word in Czech Chicago

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: April 24 – August 1, 2017

Portrait of August Geringer

August Geringer (1842-1930), publisher of Svornost, the first Czech-language daily newspaper in the United States, and numerous books of Freethought literature.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chicago was the largest Czech enclave in the United States and, indeed, constituted the third largest urban concentration of Czechs in the world. Living primarily in the Pilsen and Lawndale neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago, members of the Czech community shared a common language and a strong sense of ethnic identity that manifested itself in a rich and vigorous associational life. There was, however, considerable social tension within this community, based on differing attitudes to religious belief. The primary fault line lay between members of the Catholic Church and those who espoused a form of secular humanism, known as Freethought.

The roots of the division between Catholics and Freethinkers lay in the history and political conditions of the Czech lands, where Catholicism was the state religion and thus strongly associated with Hapsburg rule and its Germanizing cultural policy, while anticlericalism and, more broadly, anti-Catholicism were conjoined with the nationalistic attitudes of those eager to emancipate their land from Austrian political control and cultural hegemony. Because Czech-American Freethought was strongly tinged with anticlericalism, Catholics and Freethinkers came to form two rival camps among Czech Americans, each of which carved out its own distinctive institutional and associational life.

Photograph of Fr. Prokop Neužil

Fr. Prokop Neužil, OSB (1861-1946), founder of the Bohemian Benedictine Press and third abbot of St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, Illinois.

As ideological rivals, Freethinkers and Catholics sought to make use of the printed word to propagate their views within the Czech-American community. The Czech-language press thus became an important medium in setting the tone for Czech-American culture. The city of Chicago was home to the most important Czech-American Freethought and Catholic publishers in the country—on one side, August Geringer, owner of a small publishing empire based around the daily newspaper Svornost and a committed Freethinker whose press published numerous works of Freethought literature, and, on the other, the Bohemian Benedictine Press run by the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey, which was the leading publishing venue for Czech-language Catholic literature in the United States. Drawing primarily upon the rich resources of the University of Chicago Library’s ACASA (Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad) collection, this one-case exhibit presents a small selection of the publications of these two presses, illustrating some of the characteristic features of the two poles of Czech-American culture that they represented.

“Seward’s Folly” – “Walrussia” – “The New National Ice House”: In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia, 1867-2017

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: April 24 – August 1, 2017

Why did Russia sell Alaska? Why did the United States purchase it? And how did the American public and press react to this purchase in 1867, so soon after the end of the Civil War?

Signing of the Treaty on 30 March 1867

Signing of the Treaty on 30 March 1867
Robert S. Chew (Chief Clerk, State Department), William Seward (Secretary of State), William Hunter (Second Assistant Secretary of State), Vladimir Bodisko (Secretary of the Russian Legation), Eduard Stoeckl (Russian Ambassador to the US), Charles Sumner (Senator from Massachusetts), Frederick Seward (Assistant Secretary of State)

WHY SELL? By the end of the 1850s, after its defeat in the Crimean War, Russia’s tsarist government had no further use for the Russian American Company and began searching for a buyer of the colonies in northwest America, preferably not the British, Russia’s greatest rival in the Pacific. By 1863 Russia concluded that the Russian colonies in America were “at a perfect standstill as regards colonization, hunting, trade, and civic development, and that, generally speaking, the Russian American Company has far from justified the expectations which the government had placed in it” (S. B. Okun. The Russian-American Company.
Tr. by Carl Ginzburg. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951: 232-33.)

WHY BUY?  William H. Seward, 24th United States Secretary of State (1861-1868), saw the purchase of Alaska as another step in the expansion of the United States in the west, as did Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts whose 2 1/2 hour speech to the Committee on Foreign Relations presented all of the facts then known about Russian America (i.e. Alaska). He articulated four advantages pertinent to the future interests of the United States: Advantages to the Pacific Coast, Extension of Dominion, Extension of Republican Institutions, and Anticipation of Great Britain.

Treasury draft no. 9759

Treasury draft no. 9759, the check that paid for the purchase of Alaska.
The check, in the amount of $7,200,000, amounted to two cents per acre, and is dated more than a year after the signing of the Treaty of the Cession of the Russian Possessions in North America

Although the Treaty to purchase Alaska was ratified by a 37-2 margin, at a cost of $7,200,000, it caused a great deal of pro and con exposition in the nation’s papers, with the purchase being labeled as “Seward’s Folly,” “Icebergia,” “Walrussia,” “The Nation’s Ice House.” It was well into the 20th century before Alaska’s purchase was generally acknowledged to be of great strategic and financial importance.

Witness: Holocaust Memorial Books

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: April 21 – April 30, 2017

Illustration from yizkor book

Yizker-bukh fun der Zshelekhover Yidisher kehile, “Memorial Book for the Jewish Community of Zhelekhov”

In the wake of the destruction of the Jewish communities of Europe and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi Regime, survivors sought to preserve the history of these cities and towns and the lives of their residents. The yizkor book, or community memorial volume, became a preferred method of preservation. This one-case exhibit displays yizkor books from the University of Chicago Library’s collection in commemoration of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), which begins at sundown on April 23, 2017.

Publication of such volumes began immediately after the war and peaked in the 1960s, though volumes continue to be published today, often as translations of earlier volumes. Yizkor books, sifre zikaron in Hebrew, yisker bikher or pinkeysim in Yiddish, were written primarily by Holocaust survivors in their countries of resettlement, typically by landsmanshaftn, mutual aid organizations comprised of immigrants from the same town or region. It is estimated that 600-800 such volumes have been published, mostly in Israel and the United States. The majority were written in Hebrew or Yiddish, sometimes both, and some with a summary or introduction in English.

Yizkor books are typically divided into four parts: the town and its inhabitants  before the war, the events during the war, the fate of the town and its people after the war, and a necrology. They were meant to serve as witnesses both to the pre-War Jewish community and the crimes of the Holocaust, as such they include multiple autobiographical accounts of survivors, maps of city before the War, and photographs of the murdered and of survivors, such as those who served in the Israeli army and who edited the volume.  The volumes often incorporate illustrations that draw heavily of flame imagery, referencing the Jewish custom of lighting a candle at the time of death and every year on the anniversary of the death of a family member.

They Saw Stars: Art and Astronomy – new web exhibit

SelenographiaAn archived web exhibit of the 2005 Crerar exhibit They Saw Stars: Art and Astronomy is now available.  The physical exhibit was shown in the atrium of Crerar Library from June 2 — November 1, 2005.

Exhibit Description: For centuries humankind has gazed into the heavens with awe and wonder. For some, the night sky has tugged at their imagination and piqued their curiosity, resulting in art inspired by the beauty of the stars and the study of astronomy. This John Crerar Library exhibit highlights works of art and literature influenced by astronomy, either through scientific study, a fascination with the night sky, or as an inspiration for the literary imagination. Both contemporary and historical works are included.

Resources for the study of the use of gas by the Nazis to murder

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: April 12 – April 30, 2017

Pile of clothes next to entrance to gas chamber at Dachau.

Dachau, Germany, 1945, Entrance to a gas chamber and pile of clothes. (Yad Vashem archive, item 13526).

Hitler’s use of gas to murder millions, including German citizens, is well-documented. During World War II, the Nazi regime systematically murdered 6 million Jews, men, women, and children. The first death camp was established on December 8, 1941, at Chelmno in Poland, where gas vans were used to murder 300,000 Polish Jews and 5,000 Sinti and Roma. Starting in March 1942, the Germans built permanent gas chambers at concentration camps in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Approximately 1.7 million Polish Jews were murdered at these camps. The Germans established a fifth death camp in Majdanek in late 1941 where approximately 78,000 Jews, Slovaks, Czechs, Germans, and Poles were murdered by the Nazis. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp. The Germans began exterminations at Birkenau in October of 1941, using Zyklon B gas in four, permanent gas chambers. There, the Nazis murdered over 1,100,000 Jews, 70,000 Poles, 25,000 Sinti and Roma, and 15,000 prisoners of war.

Cover image from book on Zyclon B gas

Cover image of Zyklon B: die Produktion in Dessau und der Missbrauch durch die deutschen Faschisten (Norderstedt: Books on Demand, 2007).

This exhibit highlights some of the resources available at the University of Chicago Library for the study of Nazi atrocities during World War II.  A list of more resources owned by the library can be found here. In addition, the Library subscribes to online databases, including Testaments of the Holocaust.  Finally, there are many resources available, including vast documentation of Nazi atrocities, through the websites of Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Museum and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Tensions in Renaissance Cities

Exhibition dates: March 27 – June 9, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Cicero. Philosophical treatises

Cicero. Philosophical treatises, ca. 1400. Ms. 956. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Venice, Florence, Rome, Mexico City, Geneva, London: the rapidly transforming cities of the Renaissance used art and literature to express their growing power, and growing pains. In the centuries of recovery after the Black Death, wealth, trade, and technology accelerated exponentially. Urban centers existed in a web of interdependence, in which the borders of fluctuating kingdoms were overlaid by geographies of mercantile connections, and information networks whose influence exploded with the arrival of the printing press. This new invention let news of new discoveries or disasters sweep through Europe in weeks, rather than years.

Moving geographically, this exhibit charts the interconnected tensions of great capitals from Venice to Mexico City. As Venice looked both eastward towards Islamic cultures of the Mediterranean and inward toward the microcosmic tensions of diversifying populations, Mexico City grappled with cultural and religious clashes between native Mesoamerican and imported European traditions. Florence and Rome looked backward toward the golden dream of antiquity and upward into a celestial geography. Magic, science, humanism and theology each played a role in filling in the blanks in current knowledge of the world and the universe. Concurrently, Geneva saw conflict in shifts from Latin to the vernacular and changing Calvinist and Catholic devotional practices, and London sought to establish itself as a major intellectual center that was both in dialogue with and distinct from continental centers.

Arch of Titus

“Arch of Titus.” Etching and engraving. Cavalieri, Giovanni Battista de’ Dosio, Giovanni Antonio, engraver [1569]. From the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The treasures presented in this exhibit from the Special Collections Research Center and Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago offer a look into the Renaissance not as a single, coherent cultural movement, but rather a set of many simultaneous and often contradictory developments across scholarship, politics, and religion. Many of the cultural, political, and religious tensions experienced during this period are just as relevant today. In an effort to create a neat narrative, the history of a period can be cleaned up too much. By examining the nuances and complexities of the early modern past, this exhibition hopes to shed light on just how messy history can be in both the past and the present.

Curators:  Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago; Hilary Barker, PhD student, Department of Art History, The University of Chicago; Margo Weitzman, MAPH’15, The University of Chicago

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Events

Curator’s Open House for the Renaissance Society of America Conference

March 29, 2017, 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Curators Ada Palmer, Hilary Barker, and Margo Weitzman will be on hand to discuss and give tours of the exhibition Tensions in Renaissance Cities.

Free and open to the public.  Those attending the Renaissance Society of America Conference can sign up for transportation on the conference events page.

Library Society Lecture and Exhibition Viewing

May 10, 2017 – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery and Room 122, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Lecture by Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.