Archive for November, 2007
November 30th, 2007
Jaime was a student at the Chicago Center (then called Urban Life Center) during the 2001 Summer Session. She shares this update with us:
“I’m in DC finishing up my master’s in International Affairs – nothing all that exciting. I am hoping to work in the field of International Education and Development and this position (the one that I need the clearance for) is a step towards doing that. Spending the summer in Chicago with ULC was a big step in helping me decide to relocate to DC which has helped me identify this path.”
November 29th, 2007
Executive Director Scott Cheseboro shares an e-mail with Chicago Center during his trip to India.
I’m in Dehli and the group will have its last meeting today. I have my flight booked for Chennai and will leave tonight at 8. My contact there will pick me up. I had breakfast with the country diretor for world relief in his apartment in west Dehli. Middle clas or even upper for most of India and middle for Dehli.
I had a great conversation with them about the evangelical church in India. Birya converted to Christianity from Hindu just before marrying Rabi who grew up in a christian family. He visits US churches because they give lots of money for relief in India. His wife has very mixed feelings about the church because they want to impose their ways on Indian culture. She says they do not respect the Indian heritage and want all women to wear skirts and celebrate only christian holidays. She converted believing all are equal “in Christ” and wanted to break out of the caste system. She b elieves the protestant churches are distorting that inclusiveness, particularly towards Muslims and Hindus.
We stopped at an Indian McDonalds yesterday on the long drive from Agra (where, yees I stood in front of the majestic Taj Mahal and even went inside. It was built by King Jahan in the 1500′s for his wife who died giving birth to their 14th child. He is buried there also) and the free gift in the happy meal was a true to life blond and blue-eyed Barbie. Sounds like the chuch. They serve chicken instead of beef and no there is no McMutton.
The Taj Mahal is breath taking. Although Jahan was Muslim, all faiths come to the site and all respect it as holy space. There is a Masjid next door. India is the most diverse country I have ever encountered in so many ways even though it is not diverse in the race/color way we are used to using the term. It is impssible to describe the variety dress, transportation, housing/dwellings and landscape. Our guide made the comment that India is one of the few countries that has never had a revolution.. He stated that it is because Indians have ever ything they need. That is hard to comprehend amidst the extremes and it just becomes another of those paradoxes.
“Can you imagine giving an Indian a bell for a gift?” This was our guides question after opening the gifts brought by the delegates. Felipe Gonzales, soc prof at U New Mexico brought a small silver bell inscribed with New Mexico. Amitabh, our guide explained that bells were worn by the untouchables so that other castes would know when they were near and to get out of the way to avoid being touched. He had a lot of fun ringing the bell whenever an occassion permitted!
Email is less than sure here. I will try to send another when I have a space. One of my most enjoyable rides across the city was with my cab driver today as we returned from Rabi’s house. “Taxi University.” He told me where all the good shopping is.
I’m still waiting on a few questions. The answers to those I have are amazingly present, meaning I haven’t had to do much work yet!
November 19th, 2007
Scott Chesebro is part of a delegation of professionals specializing in sociology who have been selected to participate in bilateral exchanges with their professional counterparts in India, under the auspices of People to People Ambassador Programs in November 2007.
Learn more about where he’ll be at http://www.ambassadorprograms.org/upcomingprograms/social_sciences/cynthia-epstein.asp
November 19th, 2007
Kevin Stouda reflected at length on his experience as a January Term student in 1983 in his entry, “Racism in the Arab World – Can it be Worse than in the West?” Kevin lives in Kuwait. While a student in the program, he interned at South Shore Bank and studied with Instructor Arvis Averette.
Here’s part of the entry:
It was a freezing winter and the infamous Lake Michigan winds were about to crack our bones as we walked home from the bus and El-stops late on snow covered nights. Back in our ancient apartment block it was still so cold, that we wore gloves and jackets in our abode to keep warm. Since we were spending only just less than 40 days in Chi-Town, we put up with the cold with good humor writing home, “We are doing urban camping.”
During my stay in the City of Big Shoulders, I lived in Woodlawn—not far from where the El-Train scenes from the classic film, THE BLUES BROTHERS, were filmed.
I recall being told that the local Woodlawners, a mostly pleasant but poor urban black neighborhood at that time, had howled in laughter at the “Blues Brother’s” movie scene set in their neighborhood whereby an El-Train passed in the dead of night every 25 to 30 seconds in front of the window of the main characters abode. Recall that Elwood lived in an apartment just under the El-Train.
Those Woodlawners were laughing so hard at that scene because they knew that typically one had to wait many many 10s of minutes minutes for a train or bus to pass through their neighborhood at that time of night.
It was on one of my own El-Train rides where I began to take time to read the book, Malcolm X, which my professor of urban economics, Arvis Averette, had assigned.
It was the same El-Train line that later took me out further south in the city to hand out get-out-the-vote leaflets and voter registration information in an equally depressed neighborhood of that city. Black male urban unemployment ran about 33% or more at that time in the areas south of the city with the tallest skyscrapers.
It was while reading this biography of Malcolm X that I learned for the first time that Malcolm Little had grown up on the Midwestern plains just north of Kansas where I went to high school and college. That was in Omaha in the neighboring state of Nebraska.
While reading the Haley book, I also came to appreciate for the first times some aspects of Islam and why so many Americans might be interested in the faith—but I especially comprehended why historically marginalized peoples, like America’s black community, would turn to Islam and the strong positive renewing identity it supported….
In short, from my personal perspective, Malcolm X’s journey to Mecca in the 1960s–and his personal transformations during the quarter-year he traveled there–helped open Islam (especially, the African connection to Islam) to me and my classmates as we traveled the El-Trains of Chicago……
The full post is at:
November 16th, 2007
A section of the Chicago Communities and Cultures course met with Julio Rodriguez of the Association of Latino Men for Action.
Julio Rodriguez is one of the founders of ALMA, the Association of Latino Men for Action. ALMA strives to empower Latino gay, bisexual and questioning men by providing support, advocacy, leadership opportunities through innovative cultural programming.
For over a decade, ALMA has nurtured a group identity based on the experiences of gay Latino men and has become an important voice on social and political issues both locally and nationally. A member of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, ALMA continues at the forefront of the movement, helping to shape a better future for the gay Latino community.
Instructor Leesa Albert recieved this email from Julio:
It was a wonderful experience for me too. I am glad that you and your students both enjoyed and felt they got some practical information out of my presentation.
I would be more than happy to work with the Center in the future. I truly believe in the work being done with these students and its future impact on society.
Please convey my gratitude to all your students for their interest and attentiveness to the issues facing the LGBTQ community.
Keep in touch!
November 9th, 2007
Fall Semester Students in the “Chicago Communities and Cultures” Seminar meet with restaurant entrepreneur, John Meyer, at BJ’s Market, and enjoy a noveau soul food lunch.
John grew up in Chicago’s Chatham community (near Groveland, featured in class text, There Goes the Neighborhood). John operates three restaurants in Chicago and has plans to open a fourth at O’Hare Airport. ABC/Channel 7′s food critic, James Ward, has named BJ’s Restaurant one of Chicago’s Top Ten.
November 6th, 2007
One of our Fall 2007 students, Abby, interned at the McCormick Tribune Foundation. She describes her experience here.
“I am interning at the McCormick Tribune Foundation in the Tribune Tower. Working for a foundation is my ultimate goal after completing my education, therefore to get the opportunity to work at the MTF Foundation was a giant step towards who I’d love to become in the future.
The McCormick Tribune Foundation is the perfect outlet for me and my many interests because of the plethora of fields, philanthropy, community, social justice, civil rights and freedoms, public policy, ect. I work in the Journalism Department under the supervision of three very stimulating and inspiring people. I am continually inspired by the people around me in the Foundation and hope that this trend will continue throughout my life.
At this point my biggest job and priority at the foundation is learning about the many grantees we sponsor, and what types of programs the foundation believes are sustainable, benevolent, and innovative. Also, I am researching material on youth violence in the Chicago area that will help generate ideas and collaborate projects with a grantee.
One of the most informative aspects to my internship is the opportunity to attend many relevant events, such as the Donors Forum program on effective grant making practices, and the Women in Philanthropy luncheon.
Another great thing about interning for the McCormick Tribune Foundation is that in the Tribune Tower is a museum dedicated to the First Amendment! Aside from being dedicated to my favorite amendment the museum is a great resource for the community!”