Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council announces its 2009-2010 roster of traveling humanities scholars.

CHICAGO Looking for a new way to enrich the lives of community members? Need to round out an existing panel of scholars or experts, but not sure where to look? Have more curious minds than dollars? The Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau supplies easy solutions to these problems by providing nonprofit organizations across Illinois the opportunity to offer high-quality public humanities programs free of charge to local audiences.

In response to the IHC Road Scholars‘ ongoing popularity, the IHC has recruited new scholars and made the application process easier than ever. The new roster, featuring 38 speakers and 84 unique presentations, can now be accessed by visiting the IHC Road Scholars online at There you will find descriptions of all Road Scholar presentations, a complete list of program guidelines, and a downloadable application form.

The IHC Road Scholars program encourages Illinoisans to reflect upon the human condition from a range of perspectives, providing a distinctive forum for discussion and dialogue. "At a time when cultural organizations across Illinois are seeking innovative ways to reach audiences, the IHC Road Scholars Speakers Bureau makes creative, thought-provoking, and accessible humanities presentations readily available," said Kristina A.Valaitis, IHC Executive Director.

The program places humanities scholars in diverse communities throughout the state where they give presentations on a variety of topics that include history, culture, literature, music, politics, ethnicity, science, and religion. Below is a sampling of the programs being offered in 2009-2010:

  • Cultural Studies: "Early Mexican Chicago: Missing Pages of History" and
  • "The Global Significance of China’s Rise"
  • American History: "Heroes, Statesmen, Philanderers, and Fools: The American Presidency in Popular Culture"
  • Exploring Illinois: "Desperadoes: Notorious Lawbreakers of Early Illinois" and "Binga Bank and the Development of Bronzeville"
  • History Alive!: "The History of Science, as told by Mark Twain" and "Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones: A Voice for Workers"
  • Music and Literature: "In Fiddle Music and Tall Tales: French Creole Culture in the Illinois Country of Upper Louisiana" and "Spoon River Anthology: Insights from an Illinois Classic"
  • Religious Studies: "Apocalyptic Literature and the Bible"
  • Science and the Humanities: "Einstein: His Science, Philosophy, and Humanity" and "The New Wave of GMOs: What to Expect"
  • Assorted Humanities Topics: "Bread and Circuses: Truth and Fiction in the Ancient Gladiator and Chariot Arena"

Nonprofit organizations that are interested in hosting a Road Scholars speaker should visit, email, or call 312.422.5580 for directions on how to apply. There is a $75 processing fee for each speaking engagement requested. The IHC pays the honorarium and expenses for the speaker. Examples of eligible nonprofit organizations include-but are not limited to-historical societies, libraries, senior centers, museums, community colleges, professional groups, and community organizations.

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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