Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council presents the fifth Chicago program in its series: All-Consuming: Conversations on Oil and Water

CHICAGO – We face a series of critical decisions about managing oil and water resources that have the potential to change our communities for better or for worse. How have our attitudes about these resources changed, and how have those changes been reflected in policy? What can we learn from Chicago’s early efforts to control its water needs? What legacy have past policies left us, and what do we want to leave for future generations? "Checking the Gauge" will conclude with audience polling and facilitated small group discussions on GO TO 2040, the first truly comprehensive regional plan for metropolitan Chicago.

This event will take place on Tuesday, June 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Newberry Library (Ruggles Hall, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago). It is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC by phone at 312.422.5580, email, or visit

The panelists for this program are: Carl Smith, Ph.D., Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University; Donald Worster, Ph.D., Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Professor of U.S. History and Environmental Studies at the University of Kansas; Randy Blankenhorn, Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning; and Jennifer Hirsch, Ph.D., Research and Operations Director for the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change at The Field Museum (moderator).

"Checking the Gauge: The Legacy and Future of Oil and Water Policy " is presented in partnership with the Newberry Library, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Burnham Plan Centennial, and the Neighborhood Writing Alliance.

From Fall 2008 to Fall 2009, the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) presents All-Consuming: Conversations on Oil and Water, a year-long statewide series aimed to increase public knowledge of oil and water issues by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the individual, regional, and global impact of these two essential resources. Programs will feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, and philosophers as guest speakers. For a full calendar of events or for more information, please visit or call 312.422.5580.

Lead sponsorship for All-Consuming: Conversations on Oil and Water is provided by the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company, with additional support from Illinois American Water. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are the media sponsors.

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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