Preview: History Museum to Celebrate Halloween With “Lovecraft Chicago: History, Horrors & Afrofutures”

“Lovecraft Chicago: History, Horror & Afrofutures” is the theme of Chicago History Museum’s Halloween celebration on Saturday, October 31. Virtual tours and events will focus on the HBO series, “Lovecraft Country,” set mostly in Chicago. Experts in history, psychology, arts and culture will discuss Black horror through an examination of the series, which is based on Matt Ruff’s novel, Lovecraft Country. The programs are free but the museum will appreciate donations.

Lovecraft Chicago: History, Horror & Afrofutures” centers on Black horror, both real and otherworldly. Viewers can explore this unique entry point into horror and Afrofuturism to explore deeply rooted fears, anxieties sparked by legacies of trauma, the creation of otherness, and narratives of Black people in the future.

“Lovecraft Country” image courtesy HBO.

Chicago History Museum historians will lead virtual tours of CHM’s collected materials in an exploration of Chicago’s geographies and histories featured in the series, followed by roundtable discussions featuring experts across disciplines, moderated by cultural anthropologist Dr. Stanford Carpenter. Conversations will dive deeper in the convergent impacts of Chicago’s African American past, present and Afrofutures.

The schedule for Saturday, October 31, runs from 11am to 6pm. You must register for each of the sessions you want to attend. There are four separate one-hour sessions;. Zoom links will be sent after registration.

11am—Virtual Tour | Lovecraft Chicago

1pm—Virtual Talk | Storytelling Chicago’s Geographies of Hope and Horror

3pm—Virtual Talk | Activated Archives: Black Trauma, Identity, and Culture

5pm—Virtual Talk | Chicago, Horror, and the Afrofuture

Events are free; donations are welcome. Register here today for all sessions or select individual ones.

Here’s a list of the speakers you will see during the Lovecraft Chicago programs.

Lovecraft Country book cover.

Stanford W. Carpenter, PhD, moderator. Carpenter is a cultural anthropologist, comic scholar, comic creator, and former archaeologist.

Julius L. Jones, CHM assistant curator

Brittany Hutchinson, CHM assistant curator

Nia Easley, lecturer in visual communication design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, creates work that addresses issues of visibility, accessibility, urban migration, social justice and data visualization

Scott Jordan, professor and chair of psychology at Illinois State University, studying the neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy of cooperative behavior, place and self

Christopher Benson, associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, co-author of Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America

Vanessa Hintz, licensed clinical psychologist who received her doctorate from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, active proponent of multicultural counseling and theory

Charles E. Bethea, CHM Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs

Kinitra Brooks, Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University, specializing in the stud of Black women, genre fiction and popular culture

John Jennings, professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside, coeditor of the Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of the Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art

Ashley A. Woods, comic book artist, writer, and creator, recognized for her female illustrations and designs and known for her work on the Niobe, Ladycastle and Tomb Raider series

Ytasha L. Womack, author, independent scholar, filmmaker and dance therapist, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture

To learn more about “Lovecraft Chicago: History, Horror and Afrofutures” and the lineup of panelists, please visit: the museum website.

The Chicago History Museum.
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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.

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