What role has immigration played in the formation of America’s national identity and ideals? How have Americans understood and debated the social effects of immigration? How have immigrants portrayed their experiences and contributed to these debates themselves?
What are the relationships between social mobility and spatial mobility in American culture? In what ways do we associate movement—the ability to go anywhere and be anyone—with freedom? How do these relationships change when women are the ones on the move?
In 1870, three-quarters of the United States lived in rural areas; by 1920, over half the nation lived in cities. How, if at all, did religious communities change their inherited traditions in the midst of new surroundings?
Christopher D. Cantwell, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Daniel Greene, Newberry Library
What are Lincoln's arguments against slavery? What distinctions do Lincoln and other white Northerners draw between ending the institution of slavery, saving the Union, and achieving racial equality? What feelings and concerns do writers and artists—both white and African American—express about the consequences of emancipation?
What are the connections between exploring new territories and making visual representations of those territories? How do artists relate to the territory's indigenous people? In what ways do mapmakers and artists promote, protect, or displace the cultures and landscapes they portray?