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Access Chicago

Courses for Digital Chicago: Unearthing History and Culture

Digital Chicago: Unearthing History and Culture supports both First-Year Studies courses related to Chicago, as well as other courses across the curriculum, including those taught by the Chicago Fellows faculty. All students in their first semester at Lake Forest College enroll in a FIYS class, a small, discussion- and writing-intensive class intended to introduce students to each other, their professor, and an engaging topic of study. 

Fall 2017

ES 260: American Environmental History

Brian McCammack, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Introduction to the historical study of the relationship of Americans with the natural world. Examination of the ways that ‘natural’ forces helped shape American history; the ways human beings have altered and interacted with nature over time; and the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present. Cross-listed as: HIST 232, AMER 261

FIYS 119: Chicago Media Industries 

Camille Yale, Assistant Professor of Communication

Over the last 170 years, Chicago has been home to a diverse and vibrant set of media industries. From the founding of the Chicago Tribune in 1847, to the production of iconic films like Ferris Buehler’s Day Off in the 1980s, to the current boom in television production started by Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire franchise in 2012, there is no doubt that Chicago has made an indelible mark on the U.S. media landscape. In this class, we will examine the history, policies, and practices of Chicago media industries, including print, film, radio, and television. We will also look at the way Chicago media industries have been impacted by larger political and economic trends, such as new media’s effect on the newspaper industry, and growing international competition for Hollywood investment, known as “runaway production.” This course will include a field trip to a Chicago media company as well as famous movie locations around the city.

FIYS 135: Birthing and Dying in Chicago: 1850 to the Present

Catherine S. Weidner, Senior Lecturer in History

This course will examine the complex answers to a simple question: who lives, who dies and why? How are life and death issues defined and who decides what constitutes a threat to public health and safety? Focusing on Chicago, students will study the social, political, environmental and economic factors that have impacted the city’s demographic patterns over the last 150 years. From the outbreak of the first cholera epidemic in 1854, Chicago has faced many public health crises. Race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and class continue to impact birth and death rates in Chicago. Topics will include early battles to provide birth control and family planning, the polio epidemic, ethical and legal responses to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and current efforts to define gun violence and related deaths as a public health issue. Guest speakers and field trips will supplement class meetings and readings.

FIYS 133: The Great War 

Jim Marquardt, Associate Professor of Politics

World War I (1914-1918) is a historical milestone.  It marked the end of the “old world order” and unleashed complex forces of political, economic and social change, the effects of which are still being felt today.  What caused World War I? How did political, diplomatic and military issues affect the conduct of the war in Europe?  What is the legacy of the “Great War”? The course examines the complex forces and events that compelled the European powers to take up arms against one another. It also explores opposition to the war among pacifists, conscientious objectors, suffragettes and socialists.

FIYS 154: The Irish in Chicago

Anne Barry, Assistant Professor of Music

This course will place Irish history in context and examine the large-scale emigration from Ireland to the United States in the mid-19th century. It will trace the destinations of the Irish as they settled in America and focus primarily on those who came to Chicago. It will research where and how the Irish community lived in the city and surrounding areas. It will examine how the Irish immigrants contended with the darker side of this new life through impoverished times and the rise of mob activity, and yet, how the cultural aspects of Irish life (among them sports, music, dance, art, crafts, literature, and theater) not only survived the transatlantic crossing, but thrived in their new home, and continue to be part of life for the Irish community in 21st century Chicago.

FIYS 164: Archaeology of Chicago

Rebecca Graff, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of archaeology by exploring the city of Chicago, using archaeology to discuss and to engage with the social complexity found in urban America. Archaeology, a disciplinary subfield of anthropology, considers the material traces of human behaviors. Urban archaeological research looks at the complex interrelation of materiality and the documentary record, revealing everyday experiences and social relations at several levels. Through the lens of archaeology, we will cover Chicago as important stop along a prehistoric trail system, its place as a multicultural fur trade entrepôt, the attention from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and its current preeminence as a global city. Readings cover foundational concepts in archaeology, an introduction to historical archaeology, historical background on Chicago, and comparative urban case studies. Visits to current and future sites of archaeological excavations will be complemented with work on the preliminary archaeological assessment of a Chicago site.

THTR 230: Hist Drama I: Greeks to Shakespeare

Richard Pettengill, Associate Professor of Theater

(History of Drama I: Greeks to Shakespeare to Moliere) This required course for theater majors examines the history of drama and theater from its origins in religious ritual of ancient Greece to the productions of Shakespeare’s London and Moliere’s Paris. In addition to in-depth study of plays, emphasis is placed on acting styles, production techniques, stage and auditorium architecture, and the socio-political milieu that formed the foundation of the theater of each culture and period.  

Spring 2017 

EDUC 210: Observing the Schooling Process

Desmond Odugu, Assistant Professor of Education

An introduction to the teaching-learning process from elementary through high school. Participants observe, analyze, and discuss a variety of educational environments, including classrooms with exceptional students and classrooms in multicultural settings. Major focus on developing competencies in educational library research and writing skills. 

ENGL 367: Environmental Writing

Josh Corey, Associate Professor of English

This course focuses on writing about the environment. Students will explore different approaches to the environmental essay, including adventure narrative, personal reflection, and natural history. Poetry and fiction will also play a role as we explore the practice of place-centered writing. We will also use the immediate surroundings of the Chicago area as an environment for our writing. Prerequisite: English 135/235 or a lower-level Environmental Studies course. Not open to students who have completed ENGL 332. Cross-listed as: ES 367

RELG 320: Religion, Architecture, and Space in Chicago

Ben Zeller, Associate Professor of Religion

This seminar examines in depth one particular subject area in religious studies. Topics vary from year to year. For Spring 2017, the topic is Religion, Architecture, and Space in Chicago. Chicago is renowned as one of the most vibrant centers of religious diversity and architectural sophistication in the United States. This course looks to the intersection between American religion and American architecture to study how communities of faith have created and used different urban and suburban spaces in the greater Chicago area. We focus on immigrant groups, neighborhoods, and sacred spaces themselves. This course includes both historical and living communities and spaces, drawing from the tools of religious studies, history, urban studies, and architectural studies, and features several hands-on site visits. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)

THTR 236: Shakespeare

Richard Pettengill, Associate Professor of Theater

Selected plays to show Shakespeare’s artistic development; intensive analysis of major plays.

Previous Semesters’ Courses:

Fall 2016

EDUC 310: Equity & Social Justice in Education

Desmond Odugu, Assistant Professor of Education

(Equity and Social Justice in Education) This course intends to examine notions of ‘equity’ and ‘social justice’ in the context of three aspects of education: the historical founding of U.S. schools on oppressive ideals; the ways in which race, gender, and sexual orientation affect and disrupt one’s experiences of schooling; and the evolution of the efforts to work against these phenomena within the field of education. The course will explore equity and social justice from a variety of perspectives and through different texts, including analytical journal articles and personal narratives. Readings and discussions will be based heavily on the local world of public education as a microcosm of these issues as they have played out nationally and internationally. Not open to first-year students. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.) Cross-listed as: ETHC 340

FIYS 190: Exploring Adolescence: The Role of Chicago School Experiences Then and Now

Rachel Ragland, Associate Professor and Chair of Education

Adolescence is a time of transitions shaped by the context of the experience. We will examine how adolescents develop with a focus on the challenges of the high school experience. Specifically, we will focus on the context of the Chicago public school experience and its impact on adolescent development as it existed both at the turn of the last century and today. To explore the contemporary situation, students traveling as a group will visit and conduct a series of observations at a Chicago high school. The class will develop a research question that can be compared to the past; this will be investigated and the data collected will be analyzed to form a case study. Students will work collaboratively as a research team to explore these questions, and they will use background knowledge and critical thinking skills to discuss the conclusions and implications of the research question. 
POLS 238: Jane Addams: Pacifist, Global Peace Activist

Jim Marquardt, Associate Professor of Politics

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chicagoan Jane Addams is remembered for her tireless efforts at radical social reform in late nineteenth century and early twentieth century America. This course is a survey of the ideas that shaped Addams’ pacifism, as well as her activism – in Chicago, throughout the United States, and abroad – to end the First World War, keep the United States out of the war, and see to it that the post-war settlement produced a lasting and just peace. The course explores Addams’ ideas about world peace and activities to achieve it. Students conduct archival research related to Addams’ pacifism, feminism, and progressivism and design and create content for a webpage on this topic. This course is affiliated with Digital Chicago: Unearthing History and Culture, a digital humanities grant at Lake Forest College funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. No prerequisites. Cross-listed as GSWS 238. 

Spring 2016

COMM 110: Introduction to Communication

Linda Horwitz, Associate Professor of Communication

Communication is a word that encompasses a wide range of human activity. This course will introduce students to: the over-arching theoretical considerations that define the field of communication, fundamental questions about how best to go about the practice of communication inquiry, keystone works in the history of the field of communication, and philosophical considerations that undergird the contemporary study of communication. The course is dedicated to the two animating themes in Lake Forest College’s Department of Communication: media studies and rhetoric. Readings, written assignments, and class discussion will involve these two themes and the numerous points of contact between them.

MUSC 265: American Music

Don Meyer, Professor of Music

Music in the United States from the time of the pilgrims to the present day. The course includes art music, folk music, religious music, and jazz. Prerequisite: Any music class or consent of the instructor. Cross-listed as: AMER 273.

RELG 200: Topics: Religion & Architecture in Chicago

Ben Zeller, Assistant Professor of Religion, and Mimi Cowan, Lecturer in History

(Topics: Religion, Architecture, and Space in Chicago). Chicago is renowned as one of the most vibrant centers of religious diversity and architectural sophistication in the United States. This course looks to the intersection between American religion and American architecture to study how communities of faith have created and used different urban and suburban spaces in the greater Chicago area. We focus on immigrant groups, neighborhoods, and sacred spaces themselves. This course includes both historical and living communities and spaces, drawing from the tools of religious studies, history, urban studies, and architectural studies, and features several hands-on site visits. (Elective for Urban Studies.) (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.) Cross-listed as: AMER 200

THTR 250: Exploring Chicago Stages

Chloe Johnston, Assistant Professor of Theater

There’s no better way to get to know Chicago—in all its cultural diversity—than by exploring its theatre scene, recognized as one of the best in the world. In this class students will read, discuss, and attend performances of classic and contemporary plays at theatres throughout the city, ranging from small ‘storefront’ companies to such institutions as the world-famous Goodman and Steppenwolf Theaters. In this class, we will discuss how theatre both reflects and shapes our understanding of various identities in society at large, and we’ll draw from the field of performance studies to think about how theatre can help us understand the politics of identity. Students will read scripts and criticism, write reviews and research papers, and participate in workshops with local artists. (There will be a lab fee for this course. Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement).

Fall 2015

First-Year Studies Courses

FIYS 132: The Birth of Chicago’s Museums 1893-1933

Lia Alexopoulos, Lecturer in Art

The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 brought tens of millions of visitors to Chicago - an extraordinary achievement for a city that only two decades earlier had been nearly obliterated by fire. Thus Chicago claimed its place as a world-class city, economically and culturally. In 1933, Chicago hosted its second - and final - world’s fair, A Century of Progress, which drew nearly twice as many visitors as its predecessor. The intervening years saw the great growth and establishment of many of Chicago’s most important museums, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago. This class will examine the circumstances that gave rise to Chicago’s museum-building boom, and study the histories and rich holdings of some of these institutions as well as their contributions to the city. Field trips to Chicago will permit students to study and analyze museum collections and archives first-hand. This course requires participation in some evening and/or weekend field trips or events, so consider your other commitments (such as off-campus employment or a fall/winter sports participation) as you identify courses of interest to you. Lia Alexopoulos.
FIYS 187: Religion in the Gilded Age Chicago

Ben Zeller, Assistant Professor of Religion

Students in this course will study the history and context of religion in Chicago at the turn of the century, roughly 1870-1930. We will examine pivotal events in the shaping of Chicago’s religious communities, including religious immigration and the building of the city’s major churches and synagogues, the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1894, the rise of faith healer and self proclaimed prophet John Dowie, the arrival of the Baha’i movement, and new occult and metaphysical movements. In addition to written histories, this course makes use of field trips and historical archival material. This course requires participation in some evening and/or weekend field trips or events, so consider your other commitments (such as off-campus employment or a fall/winter sports participation) as you identify courses of interest to you. 
FIYS 190: Exploring Adolescence: The Role of Chicago School Experiences Then and Now

Rachel Ragland, Associate Professor and Chair of Education

Adolescence is a time of transitions shaped by the context of the experience. We will examine how adolescents develop with a focus on the challenges of the high school experience. Specifically, we will focus on the context of the Chicago public school experience and its impact on adolescent development as it existed both at the turn of the last century and today. To explore the contemporary situation, students traveling as a group will visit and conduct a series of observations at a Chicago high school. The class will develop a research question that can be compared to the past; this will be investigated and the data collected will be analyzed to form a case study. Students will work collaboratively as a research team to explore these questions, and they will use background knowledge and critical thinking skills to discuss the conclusions and implications of the research question. 
FIYS 193: Writing Chicago 

Joshua Corey, Associate Professor of English

Students in this course will explore how poets, writers, and other artists have described, imagined, and reimagined the city of Chicago as, alternately, “nature’s metropolis,” the economic dynamo of the American dream, and as a nightmarish dystopia of corruption, pollution, violence, and injustice. Starting with the Burnham Plan, students will pair the investigation of particular sites and neighborhoods with the study of literary texts and cultural histories, as well as artworks and architecture. Urban spaces as envisioned by women, immigrants, African Americans, and the LGBT community will be a particular focus of the course, and students will produce their own creative and critical writings about the city.
FIYS 195: College Sport in Chicago: Then & Now

Chad McCracken, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Politics

College football is currently in crisis, due largely to public anxieties about health risks and potentially exploitative amateurism. Such anxieties are hardly new: the NCAA was founded in 1906 as a private alternative to the public regulation then being applied in industries such as meat-packing. From the founding of the Western Conference (precursor of the Big Ten) in Chicago in 1896 to current attempts by Northwestern University football players to unionize, institutions in and around this city have played a crucial role in the thorny debates about how best to regulate college football. Using the history of college football in Chicago as point of entry into these debates, this course asks questions about the value of college football, about the rationality of voluntary risk taking, about economic exploitation, and about general fairness (including, e.g., Title IX questions, since college football is played exclusively by men). This course requires participation in some evening and/or weekend field trips or events, so consider your other commitments (such as off-campus employment or a fall/winter sports participation) as you identify courses of interest to you. 

FIYS 196 American Playwrights in Chicago

Ben Goluboff, Associate Professor of English 

Chicago is home to a vivid and diverse theater scene that includes everything from tiny stages in the back rooms of bars to glitzy Broadway-style productions.  This course will examine a selection of American-authored plays from the Chicago season as the materials for an introduction to literary studies.  As such, the course considers the plays we see and read as an occasion to develop skills in critical thinking, research, and writing.  A secondary objective is to connect the various plays to particular moments or themes in American history and culture.  We will proceed from the acquisition of a simple critical vocabulary for describing a play’s form and content, through character study, to more complex questions of the director’s decisions in taking a play from the page to the stage. This course requires participation in some evening and/or weekend field trips or events, so consider your other commitments (such as off-campus employment or a fall/winter sports participation) as you identify courses of interest to you. 

Other Chicago-Focused Courses in Fall 2015

MUSC 225: Intro to Electronic Music

Don Meyer, Professor of Music, Chair, Department of Music

Designed to foster creative work in the College’s recording/electronic music studio, the course deals first with the history of electronic music (Futurism, musique concrete, early analog analysis) and then with studio techniques, using both analog and digital equipment, microphones, tape recorders, mixing, digital synthesis, and a creative project. Two regular sessions and one laboratory each week. Co-requisite: Music 150.
SOAN 225: Historic Artifact Analysis

Rebecca Graff, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

(Historic Artifact Analysis: Artifacts of Modernity.) This hands-on course introduces archaeological laboratory methods and accompanying archival and research-based techniques for interpreting these “artifacts of modernity”: excavated materials from ongoing archaeological projects of historic-period sites in the Chicago area. Students will be exposed to various stages of artifact processing on a collection from a recently excavated site, including: washing, sorting, identification, data entry, analysis, report preparation, and curation. Students will learn how to identify 19th- and 20th-century artifacts—American, British, French, Japanese, Chinese, and other—representing a broad range of materials from the daily lives of past peoples/past societies. The artifact analysis will allow students to develop skills useful for museum, laboratory, and/or archaeological settings. Prerequisite: SOAN 205 OR SOAN 215 OR SOAN 220 OR consent of instructor. Corequisite: This course has an additional weekly lab session (2 hrs). Cross-listed as: AMER 229
SOAN 245: Medical Anthropology

Holly Swyers, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology, Chair of Urban Studies

This course approaches various aspects of medicine and disease from an anthropological perspective and from outside the framework of standard biomedical concepts. We will look at how experiences of illness and health are culturally, rather than biologically, constructed. A second objective is to compare the belief systems and medical practices of several specific Western and non-Western societies. In carrying out these cross-cultural comparisons, we will focus on qualitative research and read several ethnographic case studies. Prerequisite: Sociology and Anthropology 110. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
ARTH 485: Seminar: Means & Methods of Art Historians

Miguel de Baca, Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of American Studies

(Seminar: Means and Methods of Art Historians). In-depth consideration of special issues, fields, or topics with careful attention given to questions of methods of investigation and the reporting of research. An exploration of some of the principal methods used by art historians in their investigations of the visual arts including historiography, style and connoisseurship, iconography and iconology, social history, and other means of interpretation. Prerequisite: senior standing in the major or permission of the instructor.