College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > History > Student Resources > Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar

Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar (NLUS) 2022

​​Writing Migration: Chicago, Haymarket to 1968

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Applications Due:
October 29, 2021, 11:59pm

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What topics will be discussed in NLUS 2022?

In this seminar, students will explore and research stories of migration to Chicago, how they have been told and shaped the city’s history and culture.

More NLUS 2022 Info

What is the Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar?

The Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar (NLUS) provides an opportunity for DePaul undergraduates to participate in an intensive seminar and produce an original research project using the world-renowned collections of the Newberry Library. This is an especially important opportunity for students considering graduate study in history or the humanities.

Up to five DePaul students will be selected to participate in this seminar along with students from UIC, Roosevelt, and Loyola universities. During the first part of the course, students investigate topics related to the seminar’s theme and work with the various types of resources that the Newberry has to offer. Then, under the guidance of the instructors and using primary sources from the Newberry, they select a topic to explore and develop into a research paper and presentation. The seminar is team-taught by instructors from different disciplines. (See below for more information on this year's instructors.)

This is a semester-long seminar that meets at the Newberry Library (Clark/Division stop on the CTA's Red line). Participating DePaul students will earn 9 hours of credit in two disciplines, enrolling in 4.5 credits during winter quarter ​and 4.5 credits in spring quarter​. (Students must complete the semester-long course to receive credit for either quarter.) The two departments or programs in which the student earns credit for NLUS participation will be determined by the student in consultation with his or her advisor and the relevant departments or programs.

The semester-based class is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons 2-5pm from January 18, 2022 through May 6, 2022. The format and structure of the course may be adjusted due to the ongoing public health situation.

Participation in NLUS also can be used to satisfy the Liberal Studies "Experiential Learning" requirement.

DePaul applicants should go ahead and register for winter quarter as they would otherwise. They should nonetheless be prepared to drop one course and to make Tuesday and Thursday afternoons available if they are accepted into NLUS. Applicants will know by Thanksgiving if they have been accepted.

Special Note for History majors: Successful completion of the Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar in some cases can satisfy the gateway-capstone sequence requirement for HST majors (fulfilling the equivalent of a 300-level HST course and HST 390). For further information about this possibility, please contact Prof. Tikoff at

The Newberry will have a session for prospective NLUS applicants on Friday, October 8 from 1:00-1:45pm. Representatives from the Newberry, a program alumnus, and the 2022 faculty will be available to share information about the course and to answer questions. Students interested in applying to the program should email Prof. Tikoff ( by Thursday, Oct. 7 for the Zoom link. (There are plans to record this session, so if you are unable to attend but would like this information, please contact Prof. Tikoff on or after October 11.)

Admission to the seminar is by application, and spaces are limited.
The application extended deadline is October 29, 2021, 11:59 pm.
Ready to apply? Apply now!

Chicago is a city of migrations. Whether of goods, people, or ideas—from the anarchists of Haymarket to the Midwestern transplants in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie to the Pullman Porters delivering the Chicago Defender in the Jim Crow South—Chicago has long been both a point of departure and arrival. This course will explore how migration stories have been told and circulated and then in turn how they shaped new movements in art, culture, and politics.

We will begin with boomtown Chicago in the Gilded Age, when the city’s population doubled every decade, and more than three-quarters of its residents were either immigrants or the children of immigrants. We will then examine Modernist Chicago, when a new generation of artists and thinkers imagined the city in fresh ways, including writers such as Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks who both came to Chicago as part of the Great Migration. We will explore stories from the mid-twentieth century federal American Indian Relocation Program and conclude the seminar portion of the course with readings from the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s and ask once again about how these narratives of migration raise questions about whose stories or protests are heard and legitimized. Readings may Theodore Dreiser, Carl Sandburg, Mother Jones, Willa Cather, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Jun Fujita, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Cronon, Isabel Wilkerson, Liesl Olson, and Simon Balto, among others.

Along the way, we will also explore the Newberry’s collections. With attention to questions of genre, point of view, and audience, we will consider accounts of and responses to migration, in fiction and non-fiction, in newspapers and maps, in letters and diaries. What sorts or things are in the archive, and what is left out, what topics, papers, documents, personal writings, etc? We will ask fundamental questions about the archive, particularly what journeys and intersections the archive records through its collections, its arrangements, and its absences. These questions will then propel students as they develop and write their own archival research essays in the second half of the course.

  1. Written Statement: A written statement (maximum 500 words) explaining your preparation and reasons for participation in the Newberry Library seminar. You should discuss your interest in the topic , courses that you have taken and experiences that you have had that prepare you for the seminar, and the ways in which you see this seminar relating to your short-term and long-term educational and/or career plans. Please include a discussion of your experience conducting academic research.
  2. Writing Sample: This should be a copy of a recent research paper or analytical essay (paper containing a thesis statement supported by evidence and analysis) that you have written for a college course.
  3. Unofficial DePaul transcript: You can print out a copy from Campus Connection.
  4. Brief Letter of Recommendation from Faculty Member: All applications require one letter of recommendation from a professor who is familiar with your work and can attest to your readiness to do intensive interdisciplinary study and independent library research. It should be sent to Prof. Tikoff via e-mail (to The letter need not be long, but please give your recommender ample time to write it and submit it by the application deadline. If your recommender has any questions, please have him or her contact Valentina Tikoff at 773-325-1570, or

The course will be taught by Drs. Elliott J. Gorn and Mary Hale.

Dr. Gorn is the Joseph A. Gagliano Chair in American Urban History at Loyola University Chicago. View bio

Dr. Hale is the Assistant Director of Scholarly and Undergraduate Programs at the Newberry Library.

For questions or more information

Contact Prof. Valentina Tikoff at or ​773-325-1570.