Past Event

Elective Studies Supper Club Vol. 13: Dr. Hilary Strang

In partnership with Land & Sea Dept., Illinois Humanities presents the next volume of the Elective Studies Supper Club for Illinois artists, featuring a lecture by English professor and science fiction theorist Dr. Hilary Strang, a meal by chef Damian Yopek, and an opening drink by Land & Sea Dept. Beverage Director Paul McGee.

This event is part of our Elective Studies series, created to help artists find inspiration from the world around them. Through a combination of lectures by top-tier experts and meals crafted by the city’s finest chefs, these convenings are designed to unite, inspire, nourish, and connect.

With generous support from the Joyce Foundation, and sponsorship by Letherbee Distillers and Lagunitas Brewing Co.


Lecture: “Why 1984 Might Not Be A Must-Read, or Some Reflections on Science Fiction, Estrangement and the Possibilities of Possible Worlds”
Dr. Hilary Strang
University of Chicago

This talk considers and offers a challenge to some current thinking about what’s “right” to read in our current historical moment. In lieu of what Strang argues is the oddly comforting quality of dystopia, she suggests instead that science fiction, particularly in its formal estrangements and utopianism, may offer critical possibilities for imagining not only different futures but a different present. Along the way she also offers some consideration of the idea that hope might be a particular, peculiar human faculty, as well as some suggestions for further reading (just like an English professor should!).

Dr. Hilary Strang - University of ChicagoHilary Strang teaches in the English Department and the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (where she’s also deputy director) at the University of Chicago. She also teaches literature, theory and philosophy in the Odyssey Project, an Illinois Humanities college-credit liberal arts program for low-income adults. Her teaching and research interests include nineteenth-century British literature, the novel, science fiction, Marxism and biopolitics.


Chef Damian Yopek is new to Chicago and known for his positivity at Cherry Circle Room. He gained his superior experience in Washington, DC, at the notable Alain Ducasse Group and then the Matchbox Group, where he oversaw many locations as Executive Chef.


If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email
If you require a sign interpreter or any other arrangements to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event.