Civic Knowledge Project

Division of the Humanities | The University of Chicago

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Humanities Education and Knowledge Dissemination

Building on the strength of humanities scholarship at the University and on the culture and art of Chicago's South Side, we provide a series of programs designed to connect individuals with knowledge wherever it is held.

Winning Words: Orate, Debate, Enact/Verbal Arts for Democratic Practice:

This initiative involves creating an affordable and effective humanities afterschool program for local middle schools. Working in collaboration with the University's Office of Special Programs--College Prep, the South Shore Urban Debate Project, the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, and the Silk Road Theatre Project, CKP is developing and making available to local middle schools a yearlong series of afterschool programs that will offer students in disadvantaged schools opportunities to learn a wide range of performance arts--including debating, speaking, and acting. This program will both enhance academic skills and develop broader cultural sensitivities.

We are also working with the College Prep Space Explorers program, directed by Randall Landsberg, to bring a humanities/writing component to their exciting science program for local middle and high school students involved in College Prep. CKP interns will be working with these students, both on campus and at Yerkes Observatory, to develop both their writing skills and their appreciation for the humanistic side of science.

Professional Development and Continuing Education:

In collaboration with the University's Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, and the Office of Community and Government Affairs, CKP is designing special, subsidized adult education courses that will both foster greater understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Chicago's South Side and afford local educators opportunities for earning CPDUs and Lane Credit.

The Odyssey Project:

The Odyssey Project is a collaborative educational initiative between the Illinois Humanities Council and the University of Chicago that provides a free yearlong course in five humanities subjects (literature, U.S. history, critical thinking and writing, philosophy, and art history) for adults at or below the poverty level.

Southside Arts and Humanities Network (formerly Enhancing Assets):

Through an innovative combination of free workshops, professional development courses, and networking opportunities, the Southside Arts and Humanities Network will assist the smallest arts, cultural, and humanities organizations become anchors for their rapidly changing communities.

Know Your Neighborhood Initiatives:

These initiatives seek to provide university students with information about the history and culture of the South Side, enabling them to participate more fully as citizens in their community. One of the chief concerns here is to develop an effective --to serve as an educational resource for members of the University community seeking to learn more about the rich history of their larger community.

Sustainability and Local Infrastructures:

This project aims, among other things, to develop Washington Park as a space for the interchange of knowledge between the University and members of the community, and in general to promote community collaboration on issues of urban ecology.

Civic Knowledge Listserve:

The listserve sends out a weekly announcement of University of Chicago and South Side community news and events to a diverse membership. To join, simply send an e-mail to Bart Schultz requesting subscription (

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