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In recognition of our common commitment to public education and access to the arts, Columbia partners with the Illinois Humanities Council to share resources and expertise to offer Chicago’s residents and visitors access to the latest scholarship on contemporary culture and the arts. This partnership is the Intersections lecture series.

Intersections is a lively series of lectures and discussions investigating and celebrating the complexity of contemporary culture and the arts. The lecture series takes place during the Fall and Spring semesters and is sponsored by the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago, and the Illinois Humanities Council.

Lectures are free, open to all, and held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, Garland Room, First Floor. 

Spring 2014 Intersections:

March 5, 2014
6:00―8:00 p.m.

“Changing The World: Music, Art & Culture of Consciousness”

Can art, music and expanded consciousness change the world? The relationship between art, music, consciousness and social change will be the subject of our exploration.

Cultural and creative expression can be a means to initiate social change by breaking down barriers, sparking new ideas, as well as initiate critical and creative thinking, and visions of alternative realities and futures. Art, music and culture nurture and spark the cognitive ability to imagine, and unleashes creativity and innovation. Culture and the arts are essential means by which all people explain their experience, shape their identity and imagine the future. These creative expressions enrich the public discourse that is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

Using the Chicago Cultural Center as a gathering place – a commons – we expect to promote and build new links between Columbia College Chicago, cultural and arts organizations with missions that include civic engagement as well as community social activists. 


Joan Giroux, Associate Professor in the Art + Design Department at Columbia College Chicago, is an interdisciplinary artist, activist and educator. Giroux’s work reflects strong interests in language, history, game theory and social conditioning. Her work has been exhibited and performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Ace Gallery in New York, Amerika Haus Berlin and Künstlerhaus Hamburg.

Jim DeRogatis has written nine books about popular music and continues to critique new sounds on his blog at WBEZ.org, where he co-hosts Sound Opinions, “the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show.” He is a full-time lecturer at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches Reviewing the Arts, Writing About Arts and Media, and Journalism as Literature.

Louis Silverstein, Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Columbia College Chicago, is a transcendental philosopher and practitioner, multi-cultural and interdisciplinary educator and social activist. He is the author of Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living In Marijuana Consciousness and Encountering Life’s Endings.


April 2, 2014
6:00―8:00 p.m.

“Bringing it Home from Paris: Three Latin American Women Embrace Modernism”

“Bringing it Home from Paris: Three Latin American Women Embrace Modernism” will share the music, art, and words of three Latin American women who travelled to Paris and embraced the Modernist artistic movement of the 1920s.

These three women left their homelands in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela, picked up modernist intellectual ideas in Paris and integrated these new ideas into their work when they returned to Latin America. Lia Cimaglia Espinosa (1906-1998) was an Argentine pianist and composer, whose work was influenced by French modernism. Tarsila do Amoral (1886-1973) was a Brazilian visual artist trained in Paris in the 1920s and whose work weaved traditional Brazilian themes and subjects with surrealism and cubism. Teresa de la Parra (1889-1936) was a Venezuelan writer whose work reflected modernist literary trends.

The Modernist movement began in Europe, arguing that "traditional" forms of art, literature, religion, and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions of the industrialized world. For these women, Modernism represented a break with the past, a reassessment of tradition, as well as a rejection of the colonial period and the Europeanized culture of the 19th century.



Suzanne Flandreau, is the Former Head Librarian and Archivist, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago (retired).

Nancy Van Kanegan, an interdisciplinary artist, teaches in the Art + Design Department at Columbia College Chicago.

RoseAnna Mueller, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Humanities in the Department of Humanities, History and Social Science at Columbia College Chicago and author of Teresa de la Parra: A Literary Life, which is the first comprehensive study of the author for English-speaking readers.


May 8, 2014 6:00―8:00 p.m.

“A Cure For What Ails Thee: Pop Psychology, Therapy, and Drugs”

Psychology is a glaringly incomplete and confused field of inquiry. It resides in a grey area that neurosurgeons and computer scientists share with chakra healers and hypnotists. Nevertheless, psychology remains the channel by which we as a society consider the great mysteries and powers of the mind. While some turn to quasi-magical explanations and practices, others prefer the hard-nosed discourse of science. Each approach provides us answers to different questions, and it is for this reason that the study of the mind is a drama of self-knowledge: psychology is the study of who – and what – we are. This panel explores psychology – from drugs to self-help and therapy – as a set of knowledge practices wherein belief and psychological needs become interwoven to compose a quilt of our desires, dreams, and understanding of the nature of life itself.


Rami Gabriel, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology and Founding fellow of the Research Group of Mind, Science, and Culture at Columbia College Chicago. His first book, Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America, was published by Intellect Press in 2013.

Marya Schectman, Ph.D., is Associate Dean and Professor of Philosophy at University of Illinois, Chicago. Her new book, Staying Alive: Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.