Course Sessions
Winter Term Begins
Jan 8


Understand the amazing evolution of one of America's largest and most historically significant cities. From the first contact between indigenous peoples and the French in the 17th century to the late 20th century election of the second Mayor Daley, this course focuses on Chicago’s social, economic and cultural development. Examine political organizations, ethnic diversity, racial divides, and the expansion of the economy as well as the impact of de-industrialization and technological innovation in order to better understand Chicago's place in the urban world.

Why Study the History of Chicago?  

Regardless of whether you call Chicago the Second City, the City That Works, the City of Big Shoulders, or the City of Neighborhoods, Chicago is the heart of the U.S. with an amazing story to tell. This course features Chicago’s journey from portage to powerhouse with world-famous Chicago historian Dominic A. Pacyga providing his unique narrative and insight on Chicago’s past. Based on his book, Chicago: A Biography, this course takes you through Chicago’s most defining moments and how its people and the country were affected by its labor struggles, ethnic diversity and housing issues during the growth of this global city.

What You’ll Learn  

  • Connect and relate the past to the present through course readings and discussion.  
  • Understand the art of historical interpretations in regards to the Chicago flag, Fort Dearborn, Union Stockyards, and the Pullman Strike, to name a few.  
  • Apply the teaching and analysis of Chicago Historian, Dominic Pacyga to produce an evidence-based historical narrative.
Erin McCarthy Photo

Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy, holds a Ph.D. in United States History from Loyola University Chicago with fields of study in United States social and cultural history since 1877. Dr. McCarthy’s courses include “Oral History: the Art of the Interview,” “The Great Depression and the New Deal,” and “Baseball in History & Literature: a Contested Narrative.”  

Her students have contributed more than 400 transcribed interviews collections at the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP), the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center in Chicago, the Chicagoland Anti-Apartheid Movement Project at Columbia College Chicago, and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council. Currently, she is revising a manuscript on the life and career of legendary University of Chicago football coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Course: History of Chicago

Need more info?

Contact our advising team at or call 312-369-5646 (JOIN) to learn more and enroll.

Contact an Advisor