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Loyola to host urban history conference

Loyola to host urban history conference

The Urban History Association is coming to Chicago later this month for its biennial conference. “Chicago is a great place to teach urban history because it’s literally all around us,” said Loyola professor Timothy Gilfoyle, PhD, who is the group’s current president.

More than 650 urban historians, scholars, and authors from around the world will come to Loyola in October for the Urban History Association’s eighth biennial conference.

The event, which runs from October 13-16, will feature more than 150 workshops and roundtables for experts to discuss their research and exchange ideas. It also will include presentations by current and former Loyola students, as well as tours of several Chicago neighborhoods.

As a major research university in one of the largest cities in America, Loyola has always had a strong interest in urban history—and in the history of Chicago in particular.

“Chicago is a great place to teach urban history because it’s literally all around us,” said Loyola professor Timothy Gilfoyle, PhD, who has been at the University since 1989.

Gilfoyle is the current president of the Urban History Association, and he said the conference is an excellent way to highlight all of the work Loyola is doing in the field.

“We’ve got outstanding faculty,” he said. “We’ve hired a number of leading urban historians in recent years, and we also have the Center for Urban Research and Learning. So we’re very well positioned to be a leader in urban history.”

The theme of this year’s conference is “The Working Urban,” and the event will focus largely on labor issues and the different forms of employment found in cities. But the theme is also a play on words, Gilfoyle said, and the conference will include sessions on how urban historians actually work.

Highlights of the conference include:

• A discussion with University of Michigan professor Heather Ann Thompson, PhD, whose critically acclaimed book, “Blood in the Water,” examines the Attica, N.Y., prison uprising of 1971.

• A roundtable on author and activist Jane Jacobs, whose 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” profoundly influenced urban planning in America and beyond.

• A discussion about Playboy magazine’s shift away from nudity, led by Loyola associate professor Elizabeth Fraterrigo, PhD.

• A look at Martin Luther King’s “End Slums” campaign in Chicago, which launched 50 years ago.

As for Gilfoyle, he hopes the conference will drive home the importance of urban history in today’s world.

“We’re living in a time of rapid urbanization,” Gilfoyle said. “We don’t really live in an urban society. We live in an urban world.

“And with globalization, you really can’t escape urbanization. Urban history is more relevant than ever in trying to help us understand some of the changes that are happening now.” 


What: The Urban History Association’s eighth biennial conference
When: October 13-16
Where: Philip H. Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St., Chicago
How to attend: Although online registration is closed, you can sign up onsite beginning October 13. Visit the conference website for more details.