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Gillen DArcy Wood, a professor of English, is the author of Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World, that documents the aftereffects of an 1815 volcanic eruption, the largest in recorded history. In his book, Wood describes the broad-ranging consequences, including climatic cooling, a worldwide cholera pandemic, a boom in opium production and an economic depression in the U.S.

New book tells the story of a little-known volcano's global impact

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:March 20, 2014

The 200th anniversary of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history will be marked by the publication of a new book by University of Illinois professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood. If you think the title character might be Vesuvius, or Krakatoa, or maybe Pinatubo, you’re wrong. Wood’s focus is Tambora – a mountain in the Indonesian archipelago that erupted so violently in April of 1815 that today, it is ranked as “super colossal” on the scientific Volcanic Explosivity Index. And the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora’s destructive power.

Published Date: March 20, 2014


Dianne Harris, the director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, will lead a new initiative called Humanities Without Walls, which just received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Mellon grant to involve 15 schools and focus on 'Global Midwest'

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:January 14, 2014

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities has been awarded a $3 million grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a consortium of 15 humanities institutes.

Published Date: January 14, 2014


University of Illinois English professor Audrey Petty is the author of High-Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing.

U. of I. English professor and team document life in Chicago's public housing

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:November 13, 2013

Growing up in Chicago’s Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood, Audrey Petty lived about two miles from the Chicago Housing Authority’s Robert Taylor Homes. Those 28 high-rises, arranged in horseshoe clusters along the Dan Ryan Expressway, contained more than 4,400 apartments, giving the complex the dubious title of largest public housing development in the nation. But though she could practically see the drab concrete towers from her doorstep, Petty regarded the Robert Taylor Homes as a foreign, mysterious and impenetrable enclave.

Published Date: November 13, 2013


Dan Chaon

Pygmalion Literary Festival reading series starts Sept. 27 in Urbana

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:September 18, 2013

The popular Pygmalion Music Festival, held annually at the University of Illinois Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Art Museum and other venues in Urbana-Champaign, has added a two-day literary festival this year. Among the writers who will be reading from their works: Matt Bell, the author of “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods”; Dan Chaon, the author of “Among the Missing” and “You Remind Me of Me”; and James Greer, the author of “Artifical Light,” “The Failure” and “Guided By Voices: A Brief History.”

Published Date: September 18, 2013


Kim Stanley Robinson

Symposium at Illinois to feature science fiction authors and music

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:September 18, 2013

Best-selling author Kim Stanley Robinson will deliver the keynote lecture at “Writing Another Future,” a symposium on science fiction, the arts and humanities, Sept. 25-27 (Wednesday-Friday) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to presentations and panel discussions, the event will include several concerts. Organizers hope the symposium will spark interest in science fiction writing as part of the university’s ongoing explorations of science, technology and society.

Published Date: September 18, 2013