What did the New Deal look like in Chicago and the greater Illinois region? Who were its champions and opponents? How did different types of people make sense of new welfare programs in the midst of the Great Depression?
What did it mean to live in the neighborhood of the Union Stock Yard around 1900? How does Upton Sinclair’s representation of this community in The Jungle compare to the accounts of sociologists and reformers?
How do maps tell the early history of Chicago and the Midwest? How have maps been used by different empires and nations to secure control of the region?
Why did so many African Americans leave the South and move to Chicago between 1915 and 1950? What social conditions did they encounter in Chicago? How were the migrants changed by the city and how did they, in turn, change it?
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?
What did visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition experience? How did the Exposition’s White City compare to the actual city of Chicago?
What is the history of political radicalism in Chicago from the 1880s through the 1950s? How did the government and the public respond to radical movements?
What were working conditions like in Chicago during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? What efforts did workers make to change these conditions? How did industries—and the public—respond to their demands?
How have writers and artists portrayed the city of Chicago? How did they respond to the city’s changing population and character during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?