Justice in the City Course Overview

Spring 2021

This course, presented by The Odyssey Project, asks us to think about Chicago’s spaces and places, who shaped them, who will shape them in the future, and how concepts of power, rights, and justice determine our interactions with the city. Together we will explore Chicago’s history as a metropolis formed on occupied, colonized land and fueled by industrial labor, infrastructural and architectural innovation, trade, and political wrangling. At the same time, we will recover the ways these stories of power, profit, and growth distract from Chicago’s legacy as one of the most racially segregated, overpoliced, and unequal cities in the United States.

Our course will examine the deep social problems and miseries produced by such inequalities. These conditions have also produced social movements and figures from a wide array of backgrounds dedicated towards social justice. By the end of the semester, you will have gained greater facility in understanding how the city and its spaces function, as well as analytic and active tools to participate in making it more just.

Our goals for this course are to:

  • Better understand the agents that shape the urban spaces in which we live, whether they be urban planners, government officials, the criminal justice system, realtors, bankers, or community organizers.
  • Consider the ways in which the history of space and place in Chicago organize, limit, and influence our choices, experiences, and opportunities in Chicago.
  • Gain analytical and practical tools to inform governance, claim urban space, and resist inequitable urban systems.

FEATURED IMAGE: Courtesy of artist Maxwell Emcays. Images of these sculptures and more of his work are available at demandjusticechicago.org

Course Schedule, Syllabus, and Readings

Download a copy of the syllabus for the Justice in the City course.

A pdf of the course readings is also available to download (password protected).

Course Instructors: Christophe Ringer & Becky Amato
Site Coordinators: Eric Wilson & Jacqueline Andrews


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