Liberal Studies Program > First-Year Program > Course Descriptions > Explore Chicago

Explore Chicago

Autumn 2018
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New section added 5/16/2018.

LSP 111

47th Street Bronzeville: From the Great Migration to Re-Gentrification

Bayo Ojikutu, English

On Chicago’s South Side, the 47th Street thoroughfare and the neighborhoods it concourses between Lake Michigan and the Dan Ryan Expressway go by a slew of historic euphemisms: the Black Belt, Kenwood, Bronzeville, Grand Boulevard, Blues Mecca, and the Strip. Lyrical tags coined and hummed by bluesmen, preachers, proletariats, panderers, and real estate developers. Ostentatious tags contrived by reverse carpetbaggers on the take, come to Chicago’s South Side in search of the Promised Land and all such a sacrosanct notion entails in the migrant imagination: freedom, hope, God, truth, survival, acclimation and at the very end of their trek, opportunity. We will engage 47th Street as a historic landing place for Black Americans migrating from the U.S. South. We will address that which so differentiates and complicates these three Chicago miles: its blue rhythms, its bourgeois pretensions, its parochial sensibilities, and its imposed yet embraced (and fiercely protected) demographic homogeny. In so doing, we will traipse through a place once so self-sustained, one which remains palpably insulated from the rest of the Chicago cultural landscape; a 47th Street that even in its raging blue irony, quite acutely reflects its Southern lineage, its urban industrial locus, and its American heritage.

Activists & Activism after 1960

Euan Hague, Geography

Chicago has a long history of political organizing and activism. This course explores that activism in the period after 1960. During the 1960s, organizations like the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, Jobs Or Income Now (JOIN), the Young Lords and Rising Up Angry organized protests throughout the city and engaged in community building by providing services including free breakfasts, medical help and legal assistance. Visiting sites across Chicago associated with these organizations, students will understand the geography of activism in Chicago, meet activists who participated in these events, and learn how these organizations and their members worked to build a more socially just city that recognized the diversity of Chicago residents. Student will explore how activists and activism shaped individual and social realities in Chicago, and assess the legacies of this past on the Chicago of today.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Activists & Activism after 1960

Michael James, Geography

Chicago has a long history of political organizing and activism. This course explores that activism in the period after 1960. During the 1960s, organizations like the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, Jobs Or Income Now (JOIN), the Young Lords and Rising Up Angry organized protests throughout the city and engaged in community building by providing services including free breakfasts, medical help and legal assistance. Visiting sites across Chicago associated with these organizations, students will understand the geography of activism in Chicago, meet activists who participated in these events, and learn how these organizations and their members worked to build a more socially just city that recognized the diversity of Chicago residents. Student will explore how activists and activism shaped individual and social realities in Chicago, and assess the legacies of this past on the Chicago of today.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Alternative Healing in Chicago

Marcia Good, Anthropology

Interested in finding your manipura chakra, using moxybustion to promote the flow of qi, or learning about the use of rua or manzanilla as medicinal herbs and how to cure mal de ojo or susto? This course explores these healing practices, among others, from Chicago’s different ethnic neighborhoods. Through a combination of field site visits, guest lectures and in-class activities, you will learn about Chicago’s rich cultural heritage from the perspective of health, disease and healing. Several times during the semester, excursions to ethnic neighborhoods will provide students with the opportunity to experience the unique culture of a community and observe the role of healing practitioners. Some of the topics we will cover include ayurvedic medicine from India, unani medicine from the Middle East, acupuncture from China, herbal remedies and sobadas from Latin America. Students will keep a detailed field journal, combining text and images, as they observe and interact. During the quarter, students will reflect on their field experiences and gain additional knowledge through guest lectures, readings, and in-class discussions.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago Blues

Michael Roberts, College of Science & Health

Rock ’n roll, reggae, funk, R&B, hip hop, and rap would not be what they are – and possibly not exist – without their foundation: the blues. Affectionately known as “the blues capital of the world,” Chicago has arguably the richest blues heritage in the world. As a product of the Great Migration, African-American blues players – mostly from Mississippi – flooded to Chicago for a better life. The austere urban environment evolved their blues style: into a rougher, faster, more aggressive sound than what they played in their Delta home. This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the city through at least five different neighborhoods that exhibit Chicago’s blues culture. Music, DVDs, articles and video clips will support class discussion about the relationship between Chicago and the blues.
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago Dancing

Lin Kahn, The Theatre School

Diversity has strong presence in the dance community in Chicago. Students will understand the city of Chicago as they study this rich diversity in various neighborhoods through stimulating observation and thought provoking discussions with an experiential learning approach. Excursions include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Company, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, the Art Institute, and Athenaeum Theater in Lakeview. Students will grow in critical and creative thinking skills, observe rehearsals, attend a Chicago dance concert, and have meaningful in person conversations with Chicago choreographers to deeply understand Chicago history and diversity. We will learn about the Chicago 1893 Columbian Exposition through the award-winning story ballet “The White City” choreographed by Chicagoan Melissa Thodos and Ann Reinking.

Chicago Homes: The Architecture & Artifacts of Everyday Life

Amy Tyson, History

The intimate spaces of homes have long fascinated people—many visit house museums, some try to decorate their homes to look like the past, and retro products fill home design centers. Moreover, interest in historic homes has gone beyond visiting them—reality television shows have even placed people into historic environments and left them to fend for themselves. In this course we will explore several Chicago-area homes and neighborhoods, paying careful attention to how the architecture and artifacts of these spaces lend insight into the changing nature of how Chicagoans have lived in this city from the 19th century to today.

Chicago Latinx Writers

Susana Martinez, Modern Languages

This course explores the Latino communities of Chicago by taking an interdisciplinary approach to literature and popular culture. We will explore the important presence and contributions of Latinas and Latinos in the social, cultural, economic, and political development of Chicago. We will study issues of cultural identity, language, gender roles, and sexuality in the novels, poetry, essays, and short stories of such noted Latina writers as Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Achy Obejas. We will learn about the similarities and differences among Chicago’s Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central American communities.

While no knowledge of Spanish is required, if you are planning to take this Explore Chicago course, now could be the perfect opportunity to learn Spanish or to develop your existing Spanish skills by taking a concurrent Spanish language class -- beginning, intermediate or advanced -- depending on past experience or results of the language placement test. For more information, contact Corban Sanchez at csanch12@depaul.edu​.

Chicago Literature: Now & Then

Salli Berg Seeley, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse

In this course, we will read, analyze, and discuss the work of contemporary and iconic Chicago authors, hot off the press, online, or as far back as the turn into the 20th century. By day, we will visit some of the neighborhoods where these writers’ stories and lives unfolded. By night, we will have the opportunity to attend readings, lit performances, and discussions at independent bookstores, cafes, and galleries. We will also experiment with our own creative writing, including an art-inspired writing activity at the Art Institute.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago Politics: Bosses & Reformers

Craig Sautter, School for New Learning

Forget the Cubs. Forget the Sox. Forget the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks. Politics is Chicago’s #1 spectator sport. That’s because politics in Chicago touches almost all aspects of city life from trash collection to social services and taxes. Chicago’s politicians are often flamboyant although sometimes corruptible figures. (Since 1972, 28 aldermen have gone to prison.) They both delight and enrage voters and are constant “front page” news. This course will introduce students to Chicago’s political institutions: City Hall, its system of 50 wards, current aldermen and women, its mayor, its elections, and its raucous history of scandals and reform movements. Students also will debate contemporary political/social issues which come before the mayor and city council during the Autumn Quarter. And they will explore the exploits of some of Chicago’s most memorable mayors and political “bosses” from Long John Wentworth, who guided the city during the civil war and Carter Harrison I, who presided over the 1893 Columbian Exposition before his assassination to Chicago’s newest mayor, Rahm Emanuel. They will also meet some of its most famous aldermen, such as “Hinky Dink” Kenna and “Bathhouse” John Coughlin, “Lords of the Levee,” the old First Ward, to current office holders.
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago Women's Activism

Ann Russo, Women's & Gender Studies

This seminar introduces students to Chicago women’s and feminist activism. You’ll meet community-based and student organizers and activists such as those who are mobilizing to address sexual assault, who are supporting women who have been unjustly incarcerated, who are creating art for resistance and social change, who are challenging institutional racism in the schools, who are working for immigrant justice, who work in domestic violence shelters, and more. We will visit organizations like the Women and Children First Bookstore, the Chicago Women’s Health Center, the Chicago Freedom School, Broadway Youth Center, and the Brave Alliance. And you’ll work with other students in the class to develop your own feminist activist project over the course of the class.​

  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago's Architecture

Joseph Socki, History of Art & Architecture

This course is about learning to understand and appreciate Chicago’s architecture—the techniques and styles in which buildings are made, their functions and how they are a part of the city’s history. To learn these things we take walking tours each week, look at buildings firsthand and talk with experts. We examine the lives and works of America’s most famous architects and visit many of Chicago’s neighborhoods. We take a trip to Oak Park, tour several of the city’s most important architectural monuments, and give our field experiences depth by reading and discussing issues such as how and why architects design buildings, and how the buildings they design affect people.
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago's Black Cultural Renaissance

Amor Kohli, African & Black Diaspora Studies

Although the explosion of new African American artistic creativity that was centered in Harlem has had the lion’s share of the press, as it was winding down there was a comparable flowering of black cultural activity in Chicago that began during the 1930s. As Chicago’s black population soared in the early part of the 20th century due to the “Great Migration” of blacks from the South, there arose with it a powerful body of cultural work in literature, music, and dance that reflected the formation of the new community that would become known as “ Bronzeville.” The upheavals that would coincide with the growth of black Chicago – labor struggles, racial unrest, the Great Depression, World War 2, crumbling social conditions – would all have a lasting effect on this cultural development. Drawing on new innovations in culture and in social science, this period from the 1930s to the 1960s is an important chapter in the history of Black Chicago.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Chicago's Music Scene

Joseph Clark, School of Music

This course introduces students to the diverse musical offerings in the Chicago metropolitan area. Students will learn about the wide variety of music- and arts- related activities across many genres and musical styles. In addition to regular excursions to music venues throughout the quarter, class discussions will focus on topics central to understanding Chicago’s music scene in both its historical and contemporary contexts. Topics will focus on the relevance of the music industry as it relates to musicians, industry professionals, educators, and patrons; including fandom, race, gender, historical changes, music criticism, and current industry developments. Genres will span the diversity of the Chicago music community, including blues, folk, hip-hop, jazz, musical theatre, opera, rock, Western art and classical music, and various music of the world. Sessions will include lectures, open classroom discussion, and guest speakers.
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Coffee in Chicago: Grounds for Debate

Keith Mikos, English

Over the last ten years, Chicago has seen a boom in “third-wave” coffee culture, characterized by artistically-minded craft roasteries and innovative new coffeehouses and community spaces. This course intends to capitalize on Chicago’s emergent and vital coffee scene by engaging students with their city through the many thought-provoking aspects related to coffee—as a commodity, a science, an art, and an experience. The coffeehouse has become a globally recognized social institution; a place of cultural exchange, literary invention, philosophical dialogue, and community outreach; of poetry, music, and news, where people meet to discuss matters both trivial and critical. It’s been a stage for counter-culture intellectuals, artistic pioneers, and political radicals. All the while, the history of the coffee industry has been fraught by controversy, as journalists expose the coffee trade’s poor labor conditions, farmer exploitation, increasing technification, and negative environmental impacts, all of which the new generation of coffee artisans in Chicago are expressly attempting to combat. Students in this course will explore the many contours of coffee culture through a wide-range of excursions, activities, readings, and tastings. As historian Markman Ellis writes, “[A] coffee-house is also an idea, a way of life, a mode of socializing, a philosophy.” This course will explore how coffee came to have these connotations, how a “simple commodity rewrote the experience of metropolitan life.”
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Crime, Business & Politics in Chicago

Noel Barker, Sociology

Getting money and power in Chicago – What are the rules of the game and how have paths to success changed? What becomes of those left behind in the scramble? Quite a tale has been told in Chicago. We will be talking about a terrorist bombing for which innocent people were executed. How the Field, McCormick, and Pullman fortunes were created in struggles against their workers. May Day became the day of international working class solidarity but was forgotten in the city that founded it. Chicago’s ethnic diversity was fought by racist mayor Levi Boone. Chicago is the place where even the World Series was fixed. Nowadays airport contracts are more lucrative than brothel payoffs. Nelson called it a hustler’s town. Mike Royko said the official motto of “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden) should be replaced by “Ubi Est Mea?” (Where’s Mine?) Hip-hop calls it “getting paid.” We learn how Chicago does it.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Cultural Zones of Islamic Chicago

David Akbar Gilliam, Modern Languages

Americans, and many others worldwide, associate Islam with the Arabic language and Arab culture. Yet four nations in South and East Asia are home to more than 40% of the world’s Muslims. In the United States, and especially in Chicago, we often associate Muslims with Arab, Indian and Pakistani communities. But African Americans comprise between one fifth and one third of Muslims in the United States, and Chicago is home to the nation’s largest concentration of African American Muslims. In “Cultural Zones of Islamic Chicago” we will explore the origins and development of four Muslim communities: African American, Arab, Bosnian, and Indian/Pakistani. These communities trace their roots to three continents – Africa, Asia and Europe. How have these Chicago communities managed to survive and thrive, despite the adverse conditions of migration – voluntary or forced; culture shock and discrimination in a new homeland; and a contemporary world where a Muslim identity may put any individual at risk, whether he or she resides in Cairo, Damascus, Paris or Chicago?

While no knowledge of Arabic is required, if you are planning to take this Explore Chicago course, now could be the perfect opportunity to learn Arabic or to develop your existing Arabic skills by taking a concurrent Arabic language class -- beginning, intermediate or advanced -- depending on past experience or results of the language placement test. For more information, contact Corban Sanchez at csanch12@depaul.edu​.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

The Digital Divide

Terry Steinbach, Computing & Digital Media

This course explores the social issue that refers to access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Initially this digital split was defined as access to the Internet (late 1990s) and centered on racial and socio-economic differences. Today, we’re looking at a different kind of divide. Access has increased through the use of smartphones, but there are large differences in quality of connection, affordable cost, and intent (entertainment or empowerment). We’ll also look at the difficulties that Americans with disabilities face. We will visit organizations in a multiple neighborhoo​ds to see how the City of Chicago is trying to bridge the divide. Open only to students participating in the CDM learning community.

  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Diverse Faces of AIDS: Prevention Education Treatment

Nancy Abbate, Sociology

This course is designed to introduce students to one of the most critical and intriguing health issues in history—the AIDS epidemic. Students will learn about the diverse range of individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS and the range of prevention, education, treatment, and advocacy services that are offered throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. As students interact with those who live with HIV/AIDS and who provide AIDS-related services, they will experience the human face of AIDS, and will explore the social, psychological, political, religious, and legal dimensions of this epidemic. This course will cover the following topics in the AIDS epidemic: history and epidemiology; transmission and disease progression; education and prevention; traditional medical and psychosocial treatment; spirituality and alternative treatments; housing and hospice care; policy and advocacy. The course is also designed to present a multicultural perspective on the AIDS epidemic, thus students will interact with individuals and agencies representing a range of ages, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and serostatuses (HIV+/HIV-).
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Drama in Chicago

Michael Williams, English

With over two hundred professional companies representing its diverse culture, Chicago is often called the most vibrant theatre city in America. The well-known English critic, Michael Billington, referred to Chicago as the “current theatre capital of America”, attributing its success to a “mix of raw energy and refined aestheticism” (Guardian, 2004). In this course we will explore this exciting theatre scene by attending productions at a variety of Chicago’s theatres serving different audiences and communities and by reading the texts of some of the plays we attend. Through the performances and the connected readings on Chicago theatre history and performance theory, we will learn about the histories of particular Chicago theatres and the relationship between Chicago theatre groups and the communities they serve, and experience some of the pleasures—and problems—of live performance.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Experimental Music in Chicago

Geoffrey Farina, School of Music

This course will introduce students to Chicago’s revolutionary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and to the vibrant experimental music scene the group has inspired. Formed in 1965 in Chicago’s black Southside by children of the Great Migration, the AACM began as a nonprofit devoted to "nurturing, performing, and recording serious, original music.” At a time when black jazz musicians, audiences, and critics often conflated individual musical expression and instrumental virtuosity with a symbolic freedom from the insidious effects of racial segregation and discrimination, the AACM pioneered a set of collective musical practices that challenged the soloistic foundations of jazz, and launched a series of music-related civic actions and education initiatives that would redefine the relationship between art and activism. In the wake of their 50th anniversary, the AACM claims over 150 of Chicago’s most prominent progressive musicians as members, and an influence that pervades every corner of Chicago’s dynamic experimental music scene. First-wave AACM bands like the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Great Black Music Ensemble aggrandize the Chicago Jazz Festival, as a new generation of members like Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, and Saalik Ziyad continue the group’s legacy. Chicago’s most celebrated progressive musicians like Michael Zerang, Hamid Drake, and Ken Vandermark espouse the AACM’s collective performance principles at the Hungry Brain, Elastic Arts, Comfort Station, and other AACM-inspired artist collectives. Delmark and Nessa, the local record labels that first championed the AACM, have survived decades of record industry turmoil, and have inspired new generation of Chicago-based labels dedicated to local experimental music. Through live performances and other outings, students will experience this living music revolution that has transformed Chicago both sonically and socially.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Explore Chicago Libraries

Lucia Marchi, Modern Languages

“Libraries are the memory of mankind” (Goethe). Inevitably, the complex history of a diverse metropolis such as Chicago is reflected in its book collections. This class aims to read some of this history by exploring different city institutions. After a short introduction on the function of libraries and archives, the students will be exposed to four institutions that serve a wide variety of readers and neighborhoods. The DePaul Richardson Library tenders to the needs of an academic community in Lincoln Park, while also preserving the memory of its founders through the Vincentian collection. The Chicago Public Library represents the American effort at democratizing culture according to its core political and ideological principles. We will explore its Chinatown branch, devoted to a changing Chinese community. An important piece of civic history, the Chicago Black Renaissance, shapes the mission of the Center for Black Music Research, hosted at Columbia College. At the world-renowned Newberry Library, an independent research library open to the public, students and scholars can explore local and European history, and discover the history of the book through its beautiful rare manuscripts and early imprints.

  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Haunted Chicago: The Ghost Story as Oral & Written Narrative

Tricia Hermes, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse

Students will learn about the origins and purpose of the “ghost story” as both an oral and written tradition. Ghost stories, as well as traditions surrounding death, vary based on culture. This course will explore cultural traditions on the topics of death, belief in the supernatural, and the ghost story narrative. These issues will be explored in the context of Chicago’s culture and history. Cultural traditions from the cities major cultural groups will be included (i.e. Día de los Muertos, Irish wake, All Hallows Eve traditions, etc.). Excursions will provide supplemental learning experiences and could include the Chicago Ghost Tour, a visit to the Mexican Fine Arts Museum for the Día de los Muertos exhibit, and a Chicago Historical Society tour of Graceland Cemetery.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Jewish Chicago: A Minority Experience

Daniel Kamin, International Studies

What lessons can be learned from the experience of one of Chicago's earliest minority groups? With eight excursions to different sites around Chicago culminating in visits to one of Chicago's major league ballparks and the best kosher restaurant in the city, this course will introduce students to a vital community which contributes to the ethnic and religious diversity of Chicago. After an initial discussion about American pluralism, we will explore the history of the local Jewish community from its immigration to Chicago to the present day. Being Jewish is primarily an ethnic identity reflecting Jewish civilization for some Jews, while for others it is more of a religious identity. This class will explore this seeming dichotomy while placing the Jewish-Americans into the context of all ethnic, racial, and religious groups in America, most particularly minorities. Thus, the course is a valuable learning experience for all students, particularly those that see themselves as ethnic, racial, or religious minorities in order to see how such groups in America can both express and develop their own identities in the context of being part of America's common civilization. We will focus on the current demographics of Jewish Chicago as well as on the community’s religious and cultural life, and on understanding issues of concern to the community. We will be visiting a number of Jewish organizations, institutions, and synagogues. We will examine the self-definition, public relations and advocacy work of Chicago’s Jewish community with an eye towards the diversity of opinion and experience which exists within it as well as indications of commonality between the sites we visit. We will cover local, national, and international issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to get a picture of where the Jewish community, in its diversity, stands and commits time, energy, and resources. We will also examine how the local Jewish community interacts with the greater community here in Chicago as well as more broadly. The course will give students a sense of how the Jewish community fits into the social and cultural fabric of Chicago.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Justice in the City

Sonia Antolec, Political Science

This course will give students an inside look at the Chicago Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice Systems by traveling throughout the city and taking first hand tours of our city’s courthouses, jails, and police department, among other locations. In addition to experiencing first-hand how our system works, they will also hear from prominent speakers including experienced Police Officers, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and Judges who will be able to describe to them the “Chicago way.” Students will be able to evaluate their own experiences of the class excursions and what they learned from the guest speakers of how our modern justice system works or is flawed and compare that to the past decades’ issues of race inequality, societal influence & corruption. Finally, students will use all of this information to identify the problems that still exist, and promote how Chicago’s citizens can continue to work towards making it a system that promotes justice for all people.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

The Maker Movement in Chicago

Eric Landahl, Physics

Learn 3D printing, woodworking, electronics, and other fabrication skills while exploring the Maker movement in Chicago. Combining Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture, software and hardware hacking, crowd-sourced initiatives, and inexpensive personal manufacturing technologies, Maker communities have grown especially rapidly in Chicago, a city with a long history of manufacturing and technical innovation. We will visit start-up companies, business incubators, co-working spaces, and makerspaces to learn about the shared values and broad appeal of the Maker movement. Students will get certified in digital manufacturing at DePaul’s two new makerspaces, the Idea Research Lab (IRL) on the Loop Campus and the MakerHub in the Richardson Library in Lincoln Park.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Occult Chicago: Alternative Spiritual Communities

Jason Winslade, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse

Dubbed Dubbed “Psychic City” by journalist Brad Steiger in the 1970s, Chicago has long been an epicenter for esoteric currents, alternative spiritualities and progressive philosophies. In the 1890s, the jewel of Chicago’s skyline was the famous Masonic Temple Building, one of the tallest buildings in the world at the time, designed, owned and occupied by the fraternal order of Freemasonry. In the 1920s, Chicago was also home to one of the few American temples of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an esoteric group highly influential in the development of modern Western Occultism. Chicago has served as the home base for noted occultists and esoteric philosophers such as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Paul Foster Case, Emma Curtis Hopkins, William Walker Atkinson, and even the notorious Aleister Crowley, for a time. Chicago continues to nurture countless organizations, communities and individuals who continue these esoteric traditions, including Kabbalists, Wiccans, Yogis, and Theosophists, as well as Santerians, Vodun and Hoodoo practitioners. Focusing on prominent individuals and organizations that have benefited from Chicago’s diverse population and progressive foundation, we will study our local manifestations of these belief systems and movements, within the cultural context of modern American mysticism and esotericism. Further, we will address how this local “occulture” has influenced mainstream thought, rhetoric and values, particularly within the realm of contemporary politics and activism.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Photographing Chicago Landscapes

Tom Denlinger, Art, Media & Design

“Landscape” has multiple meanings. Traditionally it has meant the natural environment as seen and considered by human beings. Landscape is a construct, a human perception that cannot exist without us. Today the term broadly encompasses everything seen in the world around us, both natural and “built.” Cities, too, are landscapes, the quintessential human remaking of the natural world, and they define themselves by the structures we build. What do the buildings and infrastructures, decorated by history, teach us about Chicago’s roots, its present and its future? In class we will study the physical, architectural, social and cultural histories of several Chicago neighborhoods, such as the Loop, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Lincoln Park and others. How has the use of the land changed over time? How has the visual appearance of the built environment evolved? First-hand observations, aided by the camera, will be our starting point. Photographs remember everything and may later confirm our notions or invite a re-evaluation. With pencil and camera, we will walk the streets gathering impressions and interviewing residents. Readings, viewings, guest speakers and, primarily, first-hand observation will provide context for the neighborhoods we explore and study. Although the use of a camera is required, no prior photographic experience is needed. Several site visits will be required, not all during class time.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Plants, Chicago & the Rest of Society

Anthony Ippolito, Biological Sciences

Come explore the engaging, wonderful, and exotic world of plants! What are plants? How do plants get on with life? How are plants integrated into every aspect of our lives? Our very existence is dependent on plants! This course is designed for non-majors with little to no experience with plants. Plants are dynamic and interesting creatures and are an integral part of our society. We will study plants via lecture material, readings, and various field trips to Chicago area museums, conservatories, and business establishments in which plants are the products. By using these Chicago area resources as a teaching tool, you will gain an appreciation of the variety of exhibits available in Chicago and their educational importance and beauty. We will cover plant evolution, anatomy, reproduction, economic and social importance.

  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors


Postcards from the Past: History of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood

Fr. Edward Udovic, History

Chicago is proverbially known as a “city of neighborhoods.” The Lincoln Park neighborhood (bounded by Lake Michigan to the east, the Chicago River to the west, North Avenue to the south, and Diversey Boulevard to the north) has been the home of DePaul University since its founding in 1898, and for St. Vincent’s parish since 1875. The exploration this course will undertake is from the unique perspective of the material culture collections on the history of Lincoln Park within the university’s Archives and Special Collections Departments. These items include everything from postcards, to photographs, matchbooks, advertisements, commemorative items, business cards, etc. Students will study the Lincoln Park material culture items, and actively relate and interpret them in the light of the neighborhood’s history and present physicality. The physical proximity of the Lincoln Park neighborhood will allow a large amount of out of classroom site visits within walking distance of the Lincoln Park campus.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Power, Politics & Race in Chicago

James Rudyk, Public Policy Studies

Power, Politics, and Race in Chicago focuses on the relationship between race and power in Chicago politics. The course focuses on four main areas of exploration: the definition and construction of race in Chicago, the theoretical understanding of power and how power has unfolded in Chicago, contemporary Chicago Politics (1990-present), and the intersection of race, power, and politics in contemporary Chicago. Students will explore Chicago first hand with field trips to City Hall and various community organizations throughout Chicago.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Public Education & Segregation in Chicago

Alexios Rosario-Moore, College of Education

From the 1963 school boycott to the 2012 teacher's strike, the history of public education in Chicago has been marked by conflicts over educational inequality. This course explores the history of school segregation and racial inequality by reviewing the policies that have deepened the divides between communities. During the semester we will talk with teachers, policymakers, and activists in order to understand how school segregation is linked to housing policy while visiting the most affected neighborhoods in order to explore the relationship between school closures, gentrification, and the changing demographics of the city.

Read, Write & Walk Chicago

Chris Green, English

We will not only read some of the most important Chicago literature, but we will also walk the places and spaces at the heart of these writings. We will explore a range of contemporary Chicago works about a variety of themes as diverse as urban nature and youth violence. We will also read books from contemporary Chicago writers such as Kevin Coval, Stuart Dybek, and Alex Kotlowitz. These different voices share common themes about Chicago’s immigrant experience, diversity, work life, and influence on those who grow up and grow old in the city. You will read critically and creatively, at times analyzing the texts’ style and themes, and at others using the texts as models for creating your own poem, short story, and essay about Chicago. Furthermore, we will venture into the city—taking inspiring walking/writing tours.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Sculpture in Chicago

Margaret Lanterman, Art, Media & Design

After the Great Fire, Chicago rebuilt itself into one of the world's grandest cities. Sculpture has been a key ingredient in that greatness. Learn how sculpture has worked to shape history and reflect the city’s Midwest and immigrant values. Discover what motivated the movers and shakers of this youthful town to recruit talented sculptors from around the world. Politics, financial secrets, altruism and heroic far-sightedness all played a role in moving Chicago from the mud of a wild, provincial town to the sophisticated world-leader that it is today. Sculpture is one lever that has kept that progress moving forward.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Segregation in Chicago

Mark Wodziak, Sociology

Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the country. On the surface, it might look like Chicago’s segregation is the product of class (the invisible hand of the market), or that people prefer to live by people who look like them. In reality, segregation in Chicago is caused by racist policies and practices; i.e. housing discrimination and structural racism. Throughout this course, we will examine how Chicago became segregated by exploring the various mechanisms through which this occurred. We will discuss: redlining, panic peddling, restrictive covenants, and blockbusting, and explore how even Chicago mayors were/are involved in creating and reinforcing policies that promote racial segregation. We will make the connection between these policies and their impact on people. In particular, we will see how they result in the creation of food deserts resulting in neighborhoods where over 50% of the population have stage 2 kidney disease. Through field excursions to the Bronzeville, Bridgeport, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods of Chicago, we will see first-hand the process of racial change. We will analyze the similarities and differences between ethnic enclaves and hypersegregated African American communities. For example, neighborhoods like Chinatown and Humboldt Park may appear to share similarities with hypersegregated communities, but they are qualitatively different. Lastly, we will explore the often simplified and misunderstood process of gentrification, paying particular attention to those that this process negatively and disproportionately impacts.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Why Do Neighborhoods Change? Maxwell Street & Pilsen

Janelle Walker, First-Year Program

The Maxwell Street neighborhood on Chicago’s Near West Side has had a colorful past, acting as port of entry for many immigrant and migrant populations, as home to a world-famous open-air market and retail district, and as the birthplace of electrified Blues music. For years, the city of Chicago and the University of Illinois engaged in a concerted “clean up” of the area, moving the market, displacing the community, demolishing the built environment, and eventually creating a new neighborhood called “University Village.” The historic outdoor market has been relocated three times, downsized, upscaled, and regulated. Just to the south of the Maxwell Street area lies Pilsen, a predominately Mexican neighborhood in the early phases of gentrification. It is facing many of the same issues a​nd challenges that Maxwell Street once did. We will make field trips to Pilsen, the Maxwell Street neighborhood, and the Maxwell Street Market, as well as other Chicago places that inform our ongoing discussion of gentrification and urban change. What we see and hear on these trips will add to our discussions of the City of Chicago’s attempts to beautify/sanitize its public areas and the implications of this for neighborhood culture, community, place, and issues of social justice. The course will consist of academic readings and discussions, observation, interviewing and documentation at the Maxwell Street Market and in Pilsen, guest speakers, student presentations, and field trips as a class using public transportation.
  • Schedule compatible with BIO 191 General Biology I for Science Majors
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I

Windy City Politics in Action

Nick Kachiroubas, School of Public Service

Students taking this course will explore the world of politics within Chicago and gain an understanding of the structures of government that make up the larger governmental system in which “things get done.” Particular focus will be on the City of Chicago; Cook County; and State of Illinois exploring each system of government and the major policy issues that each unit of government is currently dealing with. Students will learn about the interactions between the various levels of government and how they complement and compete with each other for resources. As a c​ulminating learning experience, students will participate in a team project where they become specialists about a particular ward within the City of Chicago. A variety of guest speakers and visits will be arranged to allow students to hear firsthand from political reporters and elected leaders including a visit to Chicago City Hall and the City Council Chambers.
  • Schedule compatible with CHE 130 General Chemistry I