Calumet Quarter

The Calumet Quarter was launched in 2008 as an effort to bridge theory and practice in environmental studies. Since then, it has become a long-standing collaboration with Chicago Studies, welcoming students from across the College. The Calumet Quarter is an experiential learning opportunity for undergraduate students interested in environmental and urban studies, taught this year by Alison Anastasio, Ray Lodato, and Mark Bouman in Spring 2022. The program will bring courses on urban ecology, regional planning, and environmental justice in the Calumet together with weekly day-long Friday field trips throughout the region. The Spring 2022 Calumet courses constitute an opportunity for interconnected, interdisciplinary exploration of the historic region that includes Southeast Chicago and Northwest Indiana.  While they can be taken independently, we encourage you to try taking two or even all three so as to better understand the richness of this fascinating part of Chicagoland. 

The Calumet region, extending from Chicago’s south side along Lake Michigan into Indiana and Michigan, lies at the intersection of pre-contact distributions of northern boreal forest, prairie, wetlands, savanna, and dune. While the area saw significant use prior to European colonization, it was only in the last 150 years that human land use—especially heavy industry and urban development—began to radically reshape the region. In spite of this, the Calumet is still home to significant levels of biodiversity. Students interested in pre-registering for all three Calumet Quarter classes should contact cskrable@uchicago.edu.

View our virtual info session (recorded with the Quarter faculty on Friday, 1/21) here.

The Calumet Quarter is a tremendous opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Chicago and northwest Indiana. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about how cities work and how they'll have to change going forward. ”

Sam Joyce, AB'2020

Spring 2022

people walking into a forest

Environmental Justice in the Calumet

Ray Lodato
Tuesdays, 2:00–4:50pm
ENST 26365

 

As part of the Calumet Quarter, the Environmental Justice practicum will allow students to engage in research on an issue of environmental justice in the Calumet region. The class will partner with a local community organization to identify and study an environmental concern that disproportionately affects people of color in the area, by learning and implementing research methods in the pursuit of a final project that is presented to the community organization. Among the research methods to be employed will be key informant interviews and a general population survey. Students will be responsible for drafting and revising the survey instruments according to established survey research methods. Students will be expected to work collaboratively both with other students and members of the community in order to be maximally responsive to the needs of local residents. This course will include mandatory Friday fieldwork days on 4/1, 4/15 and 5/13.

Urban Ecology in the Calumet Region

Alison Anastasio
Wednesdays, 12:30–3:20pm
ENST 27325

 

This course will give students a foundation in the local ecology of the Calumet region. Students will use local research and habitats to understand fundamental concepts in ecology and explore some of these habitats during field trips with scientists and practitioners. As a class, we will examine the extent to which these fundamental ecological concepts are applicable in the urban ecology of the Calumet, and the role humans have had in modifying local habitats, as well as restoring natural and managing novel ecosystems. In 2022, the course focus will be on wetlands: their function ecologically, and their past, present, and future in the region. This course will include mandatory Friday field excursions on 4/1, 4/8, 4/22, 5/6, 5/20, and 5/27.

Planning for Land and Life in the Calumet

Mark Bouman
Thursdays, 3:30–6:20pm
ENST 26366

 

The collaborative plan to create a Calumet National Heritage Area that touches aspects of environmental conservation, economic development, cultural heritage, recreation, arts, and education will ground this course’s exploration of landscape history and landscape planning in the Calumet region. Students will investigate this planning process and its relationship to other local and regional plans. A strong focus of the course is on the opportunities and challenges this complex and richly textured industrial region faces in its transition to a more sustainable future. This course is presented in partnership with the Field Museum's Keller Science Action Center, and will include mandatory Friday field excursions on 4/1, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, and 5/27.

Requirements

The Spring 2022 Calumet courses constitute an opportunity for interconnected, interdisciplinary exploration of the historic region that includes Southeast Chicago and Northwest Indiana. While they can be taken independently, we encourage you to try taking two or even all three so as to better understand the richness of this fascinating part of Chicagoland. 

Students will be required to attend multiple day-long (9:30–4:20pm) field trips on select Fridays. View each course description for details.

Please contact Tess Conway, programming coordinator, at tconway@uchicago.edu with any questions.

Calumet Quarter FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly-asked questions about the Quarter.  For still more information, view our virtual info session with the class' faculty, recorded on 1/21.