How are commodities extracted, produced, and exchanged? How have those processes shaped the physical and cultural landscape of North America? How might the way we see and study those processes alter our understanding of ourselves, the environment, or the history of North America?
What does de facto segregation in the urban North look like? How is it similar and different from de jure segregation in the South? How did African Americans respond to the segregation and racism they faced in the North? How did the civil rights movement in the urban North connect to the movement in the South?
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 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?
Christopher D. Cantwell, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Daniel Greene, Newberry Library