The Right to the Second City

Three classes on Chicago Immigration for Spring 2023

By 1900 Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world, with much of its booming population coming from immigration. The new arrivals found work in factories and created new neighborhoods, but they also faced prejudice, poverty and alienation. Using Eastern Europe as a case study, these three interconnected classes examine mass movement to Chicago through readings, excursions, and a practicum of methods for studying past and present immigrants’ experiences.

Designed as a Chicago Studies Quarter, the three classes in "The Right to the Second City" can be taken as stand-alone courses, paired, or taken as a bundle to deepen your exploration of Chicago's historic and present-day immigrant communities, places, and narratives.  Each course will be enriched with experiential learning, including field trips in the city, guest speakers, and the opportunity to learn from unique archival resources.  Some excursions will take place on Fridays - contact the instructor(s) of the classes you're considering to discuss potential conflicts with other coursework.

Classes (click on titles to learn more)

    REES/CHST 29025; HIST 27710; ENST/CMLT/ENGL/PBPL 27125
    Angelina Ilieva - Mondays 1:30-4:20 PM

    This course investigates the individual experience of immigration: how do immigrants recreate themselves in this alien world in which they seem to lose part of themselves? How do they find their voice and make a place for themselves in their adoptive homes? If in the new world the immigrant becomes a new person, what meanings are still carried in traditional values and culture? How do they remember their origins and record new experiences?

    REES/CHST 24417; ENST 27210; HIST 27712
    William Nickell - Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 PM

    This course provides an interactive survey of methodologies that engage the experiences of immigrants in Chicago. Exploring practices ranging from history to fiction, activism to memorialization, this course will introduce students to a variety of the ways that immigrants and scholars have approached the Second City.

    REES/CHST 21500; ENST/PBPL 27330; HIST 27713
    Nada Petkovic - Thursdays, 2:00-4:50 PM

    "The city is the site where people of all origins and classes mingle, however reluctantly and agonistically, to produce a common if perpetually changing and transitory life." (David Harvey) This course will use an urban studies lens to explore the complex history of immigration to Chicago, with close attention to communities of East European origin. Drawing on anthropological theory and ethnographic materials, we will study the ways in which the city and its new citizens transform one another.

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