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?
How did popular publications in the United States respond to World War I? How did artists, writers, publishers, and advertisers work to promote the war effort? What criticisms of the war did dissenting artists make?
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?
What are the connections between the exploration of the North and South Poles and their visual representation?
What reasons do writers and politicians give for protesting the authority of the federal government? Why do they perceive the State as a threat? How has anti-statist thought changed over time?
What forms has dissent taken in U.S. history? What is the role of dissent in a representative democracy?
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?