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?
What can maps tell us about how people from different times, places, and cultures make sense of their world? How did maps and mapmaking influence the development of colonial North America?
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?
How did people interpret the events of the American Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? How did the meaning of the Revolution change over time? In what ways has the Revolution meant different things to different people at any given time?
How has the West been imagined as both America’s manifest destiny and a wild frontier? In what ways do American Indian art and literature challenge these popular narratives of the West?
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 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 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?