Through discussion, we seek to foster a robust civil society, cohesive interactive communities, and a critical examination of our media. We invite people to engage one another in discussion from all points of view, dig deeper into a given subject, and help create a stronger democratic society.
- Browse past Café Society topics
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- Click here for information on Café Society en Español
- Listen to Café Society discussions on Vocalo
People are talking...
"Café Society provides the space for issues to be hammered out, debated, and discussed. It helps people to develop their critical thinking skills and encourages them to delve deeper." – Elce Redmond, community organizer
"The topic engendered interest and a lot of discussion. It was inevitably punctuated by much laughter." Nillofur Zobairi, Café Society facilitator in Carbondale, Illinois on the topic: "What a Hoot: The Politics of Making Them Laugh."
"It’s critically important that not only friends but strangers talk to each other about social issues. A cornerstone of any kind of deliberative democracy is talking to strangers and doing a lot of it." Barbara Ransby, historian and author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement.
This series is made possible in part by the generous support of the McCormick Foundation's journalism program.
How can you be a part of Café Society?
Join the Conversation!
Attend one of the regularly-hosted Café Society discussions held every week at the following locations and times:
6-7 p.m., HumanThread Center, 645 West 18th St, Chicago
5-6 p.m., Ron's Barber Shop, 6058 W North Ave, Chicago
- 1-2 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center's 1 Garland Room, 77 E Randolph St, Chicago
7:30-8:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1126 E Walnut St, Carbondale
- Roving Café Society discussions around Chicago. Date and time announced the week before.
Do It Yourself!
Are you looking to become more involved in your community? Do you want to share this style of discussion with your friends? Are there no current Café Society conversations near you? Then create your own Café Society! It’s free. Anyone can host their own discussion. Just follow these simple steps:
- Read the Latest DIY toolkit
- Notify us of how you're using the DIY Toolkit at email@example.com
Join the conversation!
You can also:
View photos from the DIY Café Society toolkit launch party!
Check out these featured DIY sites here in Chicago:
Critical Encounters Café Society Meetings
Critical Encounters at Columbia College will host Café Society meetings at campus galleries and exhibits throughout the 2010/11 academic year. Café Society meetings are opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together and talk about the larger implications of the images we confront and create. Meetings are usually held on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 PM.
For topic information and location, please visit the Critical Encounters website.
Odyssey Project Café Society
Every month on the 2nd Wednesday
6 PM - 7 PM at International House (1414 E. 59th St., Tiffin Room, Chicago).
For topic information, please email Amy Thomas Elder, Director of The Odyssey Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their blog.