“Rethinking the Gilded Age and Progressivisms: Race, Capitalism, and Democracy, 1877 to 1920”

Some say we live in a second “Gilded Age.” Why do these historical periods—and the issues, events, and personalities of more than a century ago—still matter so much? We invite K-12 teachers to come to Chicago to attend an institute on new ways to look at the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Meeting in the shadow of Jane Addams’ Hull House, we will explore a wide variety of historical—and historiographical—matters. Our focus will be on three important themes of American history—race, capitalism, and democracy—because, arguably, the most important economic and political institutions of modern America originated and took shape during the period from 1877 to 1920. New imaginings and definitions of race and its role in society played out in profound ways on the local and national stage. Our historiographical reflections will take place in the context of a seminar that will be rich in the humanities generally, with significant exploration of art, architecture, music, film, and literature.

Organized by the Chicago History Museum, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago, K-12 teachers can apply for “Rethinking the Gilded Age and Progressivisms: Race, Capitalism, and Democracy, and 1877 to 1920.” NEH Summer Scholars will spend four weeks in Chicago, a center of Progressive Era reform, engaging in vigorous discussions about this critical time period in American history and creating materials to use in their classrooms. We are committed to building a diverse team of participants, reflecting a range of disciplines, grade levels, and regions of the country.

Award-winning historian Robert Johnston (University of Illinois at Chicago) will guide the institute’s academic content, with the help of renowned experts in history, art, and architecture. Charles Tocci (Loyola University Chicago) will direct teaching application discussions, along with master teacher Michael Biondo (Maine South High School).

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