March 2013 Archives

Spring 2013 Courses Offer Students Opportunity to Engage with the City


The Chicago Studies Program invites you to learn more about your city this quarter by registering for one of the Spring 2013 courses that connect to Chicago:

• Intensive Study of a Culture: Chicago Blues
• The Practice of Anthropology: Ethnographic Methods
• Introduction to Science and Technologies Studies
• Anthropology of Museums II
• Nineteenth-Century Art in the Art Institute
• Natural History of North American Deserts: Field School
• Urban Economics
• Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage
• Integrative Research Seminar: Calumet
• Food Security and Agriculture
• Restoration Ecology
• Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights
• The Business of Non-Profit: The Evolving Social Sector
• Child Poverty and Chicago Schools
• Pursuing Social Justice in the City
• Urban Structure and Process
• Schools, Communities, and Urban School Reform

For a complete list of Chicago Studies Courses, check out the Interdisciplinary Opportunities on the College Catalog website.

Winners Announced for 2013 About Chicago Writing Competition


By: Christopher Hansen, Communications Intern for Chicago Studies

The Chicago Studies Program and the Creative Writing Program congratulate the following winners for the 2013 About Chicago Writing Competition:

Fiction: Charlie Bullock - "Love and Horror in a Cavern in What is Now Chile"

Nonfiction: Evan Weiss - "Never Put a Wisconsin Brat on a Chicago Grill"

Poetry: Alison Thumel - "Cardinal"

Winners will be recognized by Dan Raeburn, a member of the Creative Writing faculty, at a reception at the Midway House (Room 108) on Thursday, April 18 at 5 p.m. Each honoree will also read a selection from their winning entry. This event is free and open to the public.

By: Christopher Hansen, Communications Intern for Chicago Studies

On Thursday, February 28, the Chicago Studies Program of the University Community Service Center (UCSC) hosted the winter quarter's second Faculty Fireside Chat featuring Assistant Professor of English Adrienne Brown in the Bartlett Lounge.

Brown's Faculty Fireside Chat, titled "The Black Skyscraper," explored the similarities between the cultural discourse of race relations and architectural criticism in the U.S. during the period of 1884 to 1931, the age of the early skyscraper.

In her discussion, Brown highlighted the Home Insurance Building that once sat on the site of the present-day LaSalle National Bank at the intersection of Adams and LaSalle downtown. Built in 1884, the Home Insurance Building was considered the first modern skyscraper due to its innovative, steel skeleton frame, a design that rendered obsolete the use of walls as the primary bearers of a building's weight. As Brown pointed out, this architectural marvel sparked intense debates among architects at the time concerning the use of walls as a building's skin: "What do walls do now? If they don't carry weight, they can look like anything."

Brown connected these architectural debates to the unique historical moment of race science, the end of Reconstruction, and the beginning of Jim Crow. The questions posed by architects -- How do you read one's skin? What significance can be attributed to skin? What's the connection between skin and structure? -- became imbued with broader social implications.

For more information about Brown's Faculty Fireside Chat, check out the links below:
Professor Brown's Faculty Page
Chicago Studies Program
Chicago Architecture Foundation
Home Insurance Building
Chicago History Museum

Visit the Chicago Studies Flickr page to view photos from the event.

By: Christopher Hansen, Communications Intern for Chicago Studies

On Tuesday, February 19, the "Architecture is Activism: Design for Social Change" panel discussion event at the Chicago Architecture Foundation provided an opportunity for scientists, farmers, community activists, and architects to come together and discuss new ways of incorporating environmentally responsible design and agricultural sustainability. Chicago residents John Edel and Orrin Williams were two of the six featured panelists.

John Edel is the owner and developer of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business hub in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. One component of Edel's initiative is The Plant, a 93,500 square foot meatpacking facility that Edel purchased and repurposed into a vertical farm and food business operation. For Edel, the plant is part of a broader, holistic vision for the Back of the Yards neighborhood. He said, "One-third of The Plant will hold aquaponic growing systems and the other two-thirds will incubate sustainable food businesses by offering low rent, low energy costs, and (eventually) a licensed shared kitchen. The Plant will create 125 jobs in [the area] but, remarkably, these jobs will require no fossil fuel use."

Orrin William is the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Transformation and is the Regional Lead Field Organizer for Energy Impact Illinois. A native of the South Side, Williams shared with the panel what he called the "aesthetics of oppression" through his collection of photographs of south and west side communities in Chicago. Williams argued that a community's physical landscape contributes to its residents' sense of health and vitality. He then underscored the potential for revitalization of these areas through ecologically sustainable development and encouraged the audience to apply their designs and ideas toward increasing food access and creating green jobs in these neighborhoods.

Visit the Chicago Studies' Flickr page to see photos from the event.

For more information about the panelists and their work, check out the links below:
Chicago Architecture Foundation
Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center
The Plant Chicago
Center for Urban Transformation
Energy Impact Illinois