Making Modernism: Literature, Dance, and Visual Culture in Chicago, 1893-1955

An NEH Summer Institute for College and University Faculty at the Newberry Library

July 18 to August 5, 2022

Making Modernism is a residential, three-week summer institute for twenty-five higher education faculty, including advanced graduate students, that will explore Chicago’s vital contribution to the modernist movement. Directed by Dr. Liesl Olson (Newberry Library) and Dr. Susan Manning (Northwestern University), the summer institute will offer an expansive look at creative expression in Chicago across the arts from the turn of the century through the aftermath of the Second World War.

Depending on public health guidelines related to COVID-19, plans for a residential offering are subject to change.

Deadline for applications: March 1, 2022

The Newberry Library

The Newberry Library, founded in 1887, is an independent research library dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, especially in the humanities. It is free and open to the public. Access to the library’s collections—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is supported by an expert and energetic reference and curatorial staff, and by an extensive index and reference collection, including digital and online reference tools. The Newberry is an ideal place to pursue research focused on Chicago literature, dance, and visual culture. Collections include extensive materials relating to the history of Chicago, its newspapers and journalists, clubs and arts organizations, writers, editors, artists, book designers, and publishers. The Newberry’s Midwest Dance Collection include the papers and archives of over 80 dancers, choreographers, dance companies, schools, festivals, and dance advocacy groups. In service to its diverse community, the Newberry encourages intellectual pursuit in an atmosphere of free inquiry and sustains the highest standards of collection preservation, bibliographic access, and reader services.


From participants in the 2018 and 2019 Making Modernism summer institutes.

“This was one of the most enriching experiences of my career. My teaching will benefit from new texts I’ve been introduced to, new approaches I’ve seen modeled, and having participated in a four week in-depth engagement with new directions in modernist studies.”

“I am still in awe that I had the opportunity to participate in this institute. It has profoundly shaped me as a scholar and an instructor.”

“There is only one thing to say about the project director—she is stupendous. Her energy, enthusiasm, and deep knowledge of the subject, her ability to both teach and to listen, more importantly, her interest in sharing and discussing, as well as learning along with us and probing the subject for all that it could yield, were all invaluable.”

“This institute was an amazing experience. Perhaps most importantly, it connected me with a community of scholars from across the country with whom I now have plans to collaborate. These relationships that we formed attest to the need for collaboration in the humanities and for working across institutions.”

“My students for the next decade or more will benefit from what I learned in this seminar… I learned so much from this seminar, but most of all it refreshed me as a teacher and scholar, reminding me about the reasons I chose this profession in the first place.”

The “Making Modernism” Summer Institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.