Smile Politely

Applications now accepted for free Philosophy, History, Literature Classes in C-U

The Odyssey Project, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council in partnership with the Clemente Course in the Humanities, has opened the application window for the 2013–14 session of classes beginning next fall.

The Odyssey Project is a free college-level introduction to the humanities, founded on the conviction that engagement with the humanities can offer individuals a way out of poverty by fostering habits of sustained reflection, critical thinking, and skilled communication.

Classes are offered in literature, philosophy, history, art history, and critical thinking and writing, taught by faculty members from top institutions including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In partnership with the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, students may receive up to fourteen units of college credit over two years.

Courses in Champaign are held at the Douglass Library. Since its inception, more than 500 students have graduated from the program.  

The most valuable thing that I obtained [from] the Odyssey project was to learn to question, to have a critical thought, and not to suppose that everything learned in life is what it is. The Odyssey Project is valuable at a personal level because it takes a blindfold off the eyes, as to not keep on walking along the world blindly — Antonia Salinas, 2010 graduate

Accepting applications through August 1, 2013. Applications are available via the Odyssey Project page on  or by calling (312) 422-5580.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and live in a household with income at or below 150% of the Federal poverty level.  Classes are free of charge and tuition and books are provided, along with on-site babysitting and transit cards.  Classes are held mid-September through May at all locations.  

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. 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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