Creative Communities

Fall 2022 Creative Communities Courses

  • CCCX 210: Art, Design, and Change

    Section 01
    Taught by: Mel Potter (Art and Art History)
    Wednesdays, 9-11:50am, 618, LL02

    In this course, students will explore concepts of community engagement within the practices of art and design. The class will examine how individuals and institutions collaborate to employ creative practices that address social justice. Students will learn skills, strategies and principles of social practice to build toward successful reciprocal engagements with community groups. Through a series of site visits, case studies and interviews, students will investigate the aesthetics, structure and practice of artists, performers and designers who seek to affect social change. Strategies for fundraising, assessment, research and reflection will be considered within the context of Chicago-specific projects.

  • CCCX 211: Chicago Performs

    Section 01: The Art of Drag
    Taught by: Justin Dougan-LeBlanc (Fashion Studies)
    Tuesdays, 3:30-6:20pm, 618, LL02

    In the Art of Drag, students will explore the art form of drag and gender performance as it pertains to community building, nightlife, and performance art. Students will analyze the role of drag in Columbia College Chicago, in Chicago itself, and in its current status as a global phenomenon. Texts include queer theory on drag as performance from scholars such as Judith Butler, ethnographies of drag such as Mother Camp by Esther Newton, and films such as Paris is Burning. Students will develop a contextual understanding of drag and its history in 20th century queer history and performance, as well as contemporary Chicago drag and the issues facing the art form today. The course will help establish student relationships with current working drag performers in Chicago, drag nights and venues, and help students identify areas where the community could be uplifted and supported. Students will be able to choose among options for a final group project which include creating a unique drag performance, researching the history of a particular project or point in time in Chicago drag, or developing a new way for drag to interact with the Columbia College Chicago community. 

    Section 02: Theatre Through Our Lens
    Taught by: Bill Williams (Theatre)
    Fridays, 12:30-3:20pm, 618, #207

    This course will introduce students to the diverse and ever-changing topography of the Chicago theatre community, including the role of theatre-making at Columbia College Chicago. Texts will include excerpts from critical works on performance practice, mission statements of representative theatre companies, scenes from plays drawn from the respective seasons of Chicago theatre companies we will visit, and scenes from the Mainstage season at Columbia College Chicago. From this course, students will be able to articulate many of the creative practices of and pressing issues facing theatrical production in Chicago (and the national theatre community) writ large. Moreover, by engaging with the Columbia community and Chicago theatre companies and practitioners, students will be provided opportunities to generate their own theatrical content and formulate their own theatrical aesthetic in ways that may contribute to theatre-making and critique in Chicago and beyond. Students will develop a final project that will demonstrate their ability to create and/or foster interdisciplinary, socially engaged theatrical work.

  • CCCX 212: Fashion Ethics and Aesthetics

    Section 01
    Taught by: Lauren Downing Peters (Fashion Studies)
    Thursdays, 9-11:50am, 618, LL01

    This interdisciplinary course engages the city of Chicago as a site for investigating the ethics and aesthetics of contemporary fashion. Building on the foundational experience of the first semester Big Chicago courses (and specifically, "Chicago Fashion Tribes"), this course frames fashion as one of the most polluting and exploitative global industries as well as a creative medium through which designers can challenge inequality and further environmental and social justice initiatives. In thinking broadly about the ethics of fashion, this course takes a deep dive into tough topics such as environmental sustainability, fast fashion, sweatshop labor and style piracy, and will introduce students to local groups who are using the medium of fashion to effect meaningful change in Chicago and beyond. Through site visits, participant observation, craft-based workshops and community partnerships, students will be challenged to develop an understanding of the place they occupy in the fashion system, to devise actionable solutions to the myriad problems plaguing the industry, and to hone their creative and critical voices as future leaders in the fashion industry.

  • CCCX 213: Listening to the City

    Section 01
    Taught by: Rami Gabriel (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Mondays, 12:30-3:20pm, Spertus #421

    This course explores communities connected through sound. Such communities form through networks both local and virtual, coalescing around shared interests in particular genres and venues, roles and expertise, economies and missions. Through reading, deep listening, discussion, and construction of sonic artifacts, students will engage with foundational theories of auditory culture while they encounter the city through sound.

  • CCCX 214: Social Objects

    Section 01 and 02: The Material World of Childhood
    Taught by: Marni Nissan Olmstead (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Section 01: Wednesdays, 9-11:50am, Web
    Section 02: Wednesdays, 12:30-3:20pm, Web 

    What comes to mind when you think about your childhood? Is it your favorite park? Family pet(s)? Bike rides? A toy? A game? A book or story? Objects mediated everything you did when you were a child. Your first connection with your caregiver involved feeding objects. Your communications with your best friends in middle school likely involved handwritten notes or text messages. Your learning experiences in classrooms were mediated by the desk where you sat. The hours you spent after school were likely mediated by objects you used to fill that time. Material objects, including but not limited to: decorative art, clothing, gifts, utilitarian items, religious icons, modes of transportation, digital "things," and communication devices, always provide the physical context for human social engagements. Current theories about the material world of childhood will help students examine case studies about the manufacture, the trade, and the use of objects designed for and used in childhood from several different world areas. Students will develop broader understandings of the ways objects enable and facilitate interactions with and around children. 

    Section 03 and 04: Tabletop Games and Communities
    Taught by: Brendan Riley (English and Creative Writing)
    Section 03: Mondays, 12:30-3:20pm, 618, LL01
    Section 04: Mondays, 3:30-6:20pm, 618, LL01

    “I’ve got two stone. Who has some sheep to spare?” “Will you take St. James place for Marvin Gardens?” “My dexterity check succeeds. I stab the orc in the eye.” “I call.” Human beings have been playing games for a very, very long time. From the ancient games of SENET and UR to party games like Cards Against Humanity, we gather around tables to have fun with our friends, and to meet new ones. In this course, you will explore the vibrant world of tabletop games and game communities. You will: play games from a variety of genres and types, read and apply critical theory to explore how games work and how they’re designed, interact with game com- munities (both in Chicago and around the world), and begin designing your own game.

  • CCCX 215: People, Power, and Narrative

    Section 01: Latino Voices
    Taught by: Elio Leturia (Communication)
    Thursdays, 3:30-6:20pm, 618, LL01

    In this course, students will learn about the wide range of life stories of Latino communities in the city. Hispanics and Latinos make up the largest minority group in the United States and their stories are of great importance because they have been part of the American landscape for centuries. Nevertheless, these stories continue being overlooked or told by others who lack the understanding of this multiethnic community whose roots come from many Latin American countries in North, Central and South America. By taking this course, students will learn about the narrative nature of Hispanic/Latino life experiences by inquiring, learning, and explaining their histories (identifying similarities and differences) thus avoiding perpetuating stereotypes. Throughout the course, students will explore diverse communities in which Latinos across Chicago live, create, and participate. Students will also engage in discussing issues of immigration, advocacy, language, religion, culture, ethnic background, class, and the advancement for racial equity and social change. As collaborative work is an essential component of this class, students will work in groups to discuss practices and content and to develop their final group presentations.  

    Section 02: Unsettling Chicago
    Taught by: C. Richard King (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Tuesdays, 9-11:50am, 618, LL02

    Unsettling Chicago concerns itself with the place of imagined Indians in Chicago and the distinct representational practices and cultural politics that have made such renderings pleasurable, profitable, and powerful. Place names and origins stories, museum installations and world’s fairs, collective memory and commercial brands, as well as sports mascots and public art will be examined. Readings and discussion seek not simply to catalog a set of stereotypes but encourage a deeper understanding of the construction and circulation of such representations and a fuller appreciation of the cultural, historical, and political forces shaping the uses and understandings of Indianness. Throughout, attention will be directed at the shifting contours of race, power, and identity as well as the persistence and fecundity of core ideas about indigenous peoples.

    Section 03: Unsung Heroines
    Taught by: Gabriela Diaz de Sabates (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Tuesdays, 3:30-6:20pm, 618, LL01

    In this course students will learn about the wide range of women’s life stories in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond, establishing connections between the local and the global. Women’s life stories are of importance because they invent, reform, and refashion personal and collective identity. By taking this course, students will learn about the narrative nature of life experiences by exploring the process of knowing about, listening, and telling of life stories. This class uses an intersectional approach, which takes into consideration markers of identity such as gender, sexual identity, class, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, etc. Throughout the class, students will be exposed to communities of interest, practice and/or purpose that Chicago women inhabit, create, and participate in, while exploring the relationships among their stories embedded within creative ecosystems, discussing issues of advocacy and the advancement for gender equity and social change. It is important to note that, in this class, the term “woman" is not understood as a concept based on essentialist and narrow notions rooted in biology, but rather as one that is inclusive of all persons who identify as women, in the broadest sense.

     

  • CCCX 217: Environmental Justice: Troubled Waters

    Taught by: Dave Dolak (Science and Mathematics)
    Mondays, 9-11:50am, 618, LL02

    In this course students explore the importance of water resources to various communities and ecosystems in Chicago, a city that was founded because of water and whose natural waterways were altered to build a great metropolis. They examine how this process displaced the original inhabitants, altered ecosystems, displaced wildlife, and how access to water for recreation and consumption without effective and egalitarian policy-making can affect some communities unequally, create and perpetuate inequality. Students investigate the nature of water as a finite resource and how changing demographics, politics, and climate uncertainty may challenge existing narratives of water abundance, scarcity, access, and quality for various communities in and around Chicagoland. In a final project, they envision how responsible stewardship of the shoreline or the river could provide more communities with access to Chicago’s waterways and water resources.

  • CCCX 299: Creative Communities

    Section 01: Joyfulness and Well-Being
    Taught by: Jessica Young (Dance)
    Tuesdays, 12:30-3:20pm, Web

     Section 02: Joyfulness and Well-Being
    Taught by: Susan Imus (Dance)
    Wednesdays, 3:30-6:20pm, 618, LL01

    What makes you joyful? What prevents you from experiencing joyfulness? How is joyfulness related to your well-being? This course examines how experiences of joy and well-being are culturally situated, and how such states can be cultivated through physical, mental, social, and spiritual practices. Furthermore, students will engage their creative interests in arts, media, and communication as a means of informing these practices. Through engagement with community resources at Columbia and the wider Chicago area as well as critical analysis of introductory readings and viewings in joy, pleasure, resilience, and the body/mind/spirit relationship, students will expand upon and strengthen their self-care practices to optimize their bio-psycho-social-spiritual well-being.

Spring 2023 CCCX 200 - Creative Communities Courses

  • CCCX 211: Chicago Performs

    Section 01: Theatre Through Our Lens
    Taught by: Albert “Bill” Williams (Theatre)
    Fridays 12:30-3:20pm, 618, #207

    This course will introduce students to the diverse and ever-changing topography of the Chicago theatre community, including the role of theatre-making at Columbia College Chicago. Texts will include excerpts from critical works on performance practice, mission statements of representative theatre companies, scenes from plays drawn from the respective seasons of Chicago theatre companies we will visit, and scenes from the Mainstage season at Columbia College Chicago. From this course, students will be able to articulate many of the creative practices of and pressing issues facing theatrical production in Chicago (and the national theatre community) writ large. Moreover, by engaging with the Columbia community and Chicago theatre companies and practitioners, students will be provided opportunities to generate their own theatrical content and formulate their own theatrical aesthetic in ways that may contribute to theatre-making and critique in Chicago and beyond. Students will develop a final project that will demonstrate their ability to create and/or foster interdisciplinary, socially engaged theatrical work.

    Section 02: Committing Acts of Theatre
    Taught by: Stephanie Shaw (Theatre)
    Tuesdays 3:30-6:20 pm, 618, #207 

    Folks can be forgiven for thinking that Chicago theatre stops at Steppenwolf, the Goodman, or Chicago Shakespeare.  But there is a community of roughly 200 small theatres in the city, all of them facing extinction daily, and none more so than the experimental theatres (with the exception of the Neo-Futurarium, which continues to flourish.) Students in the class will become familiar with options that exist and the long history behind alternative theatre; how expectations came to be set, and then changed, and then changed again. Time will be made to examine how the Columbia College theatre department is examining alternative ways of approaching theatre (especially during the pandemic.)  The class itself will grow into a close community as it creates, presents, and responds to one another’s personal work. 

  • CCCX 212: Fashion Ethics and Aesthetics

    Section 01
    Taught by: Lauren Downing Peters (Fashion Studies)
    Wednesdays 9:00-11:50am, 618, #207

    This interdisciplinary course engages the city of Chicago as a site for investigating the ethics and aesthetics of contemporary fashion. Building on the foundational experience of the first semester Big Chicago courses (and specifically, "Chicago Fashion Tribes"), this course frames fashion as one of the most polluting and exploitative global industries as well as a creative medium through which designers can challenge inequality and further environmental and social justice initiatives. In thinking broadly about the ethics of fashion, this course takes a deep dive into tough topics such as environmental sustainability, fast fashion, sweatshop labor and style piracy, and will introduce students to local groups who are using the medium of fashion to effect meaningful change in Chicago and beyond. Through site visits, participant observation, craft-based workshops and community partnerships, students will be challenged to develop an understanding of the place they occupy in the fashion system, to devise actionable solutions to the myriad problems plaguing the industry, and to hone their creative and critical voices as future leaders in the fashion industry.

  • CCCX 213: Listening to the City

    Section 01
    Taught by: Rami Gabriel (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Mondays 12:30-3:20pm, 618, #207

    This course explores communities connected through sound. Such communities form through networks both local and virtual, coalescing around shared interests in particular genres and venues, roles and expertise, economies and missions. Through reading, deep listening, discussion, and construction of sonic artifacts, students will engage with foundational theories of auditory culture while they encounter the city through sound.

  • CCCX 214: Social Objects

    Section 01: The Material World of Childhood
    Taught by: Katie Paciga (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Wednesdays 12:30-3:20 pm, 618, #LL01

    Section 02: The Material World of Childhood
    Taught by: Marni Nissen Olmstead (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Wednesdays 12:30-3:20 pm, 618, #LL02

    What comes to mind when you think about your childhood? Is it your favorite park? Family pet(s)? Bike rides? A toy? A game? A book or story? Objects mediated everything you did when you were a child. Your first connection with your caregiver involved feeding objects. Your communications with your best friends in middle school likely involved handwritten notes or text messages. Your learning experiences in classrooms were mediated by the desk where you sat. The hours you spent after school were likely mediated by objects you used to fill that time. Material objects, including but not limited to: decorative art, clothing, gifts, utilitarian items, religious icons, modes of transportation, digital "things," and communication devices, always provide the physical context for human social engagements. Current theories about the material world of childhood will help students examine case studies about the manufacture, the trade, and the use of objects designed for and used in childhood from several different world areas. Students will develop broader understandings of the ways objects enable and facilitate interactions with and around children.

    Section 03: Artist Letters and Mail Art
    Taught by: Ames Hawkins (English and Creative Writing)
    Mondays 3:30-6:20 pm, 618, #207

    What inspires artists and poets to write letters to each other? How does letter writing inform creative practices and enhance collaboration? Each week, we will read specific artist exchanges and explore different instances of mail art. Through these examples we will explore some of the purposes and affordances of letter writing as they have been connected with and to the creative ecologies of artists, writers, and poets. You will engage in weekly letter-writing activities and connect with and to creative communities in and beyond our class. Overall, the class invites you to explore how you might apply these principles in your own creative work.

  • CCCX 215: People, Power, and Narrative

    Section 01: Chicago Black Renaissance
    Taught by: Jeanne Petrolle (English and Creative Writing)
    Tuesdays 9:00-11:50 am, 618, #207

    The Chicago Black Renaissance--an upsurge of artistic, commercial, and political productivity in the late 1910s and 20s, was focused in Bronzeville, a vibrant neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side named for the beautiful bronze-like tones of darker skin. Writers like Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Margaret Walker strolled South Parkway Avenue--now called Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard--taking inspiration from the place and people of this neighborhood. Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Eddie Condon, and Louis Armstrong played the Savoy Ballroom, at South Parkway and 47th. Near the Savoy, the architecturally ornate Regal Theater provided black artists and audiences a magnificent venue for cinema and stage performance. Black journalists founded The Chicago Whip and the Chicago Defender, newspapers to serve and celebrate the Black community. Black modernist painter Archibald Motley, who graduated from the School of the Art Institute in the 1910s, captured the vitality of jazz-era Bronzeville on canvas. As the Renaissance blossomed into the 1930s and 40s, W.E.B. Dubois commented that Chicago had produced a “different kind of Youth,” meaning that the Bronzeville Writers, who emerged from the South Side Writers Group, had produced a new, distinctively Black “aesthetic consciousness” that challenged white supremacist narratives and contested white power. In this course, while practicing the power of creative community ourselves, we will learn the history of Chicago’s Black Renaissance and explore the distinctively Black aesthetic consciousness of the Bronzeville writers. 

    Section 02: American Prisons
    Taught by: Teresa Prados-Torreira (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Thursdays 12:30-3:20 pm, 618, #207

    This class will examine why and how the United States relies on mass detention as a strategy to impose order, and how the current judicial system has relegated millions of poor people to a second-class status. Why is the U.S. one of the most punitive countries in the world? Who gets punished? What are the lives of incarcerated people like? Ultimately, we will explore the question: Can we imagine an alternative to the current system? Students will draw on their own interests and skills to investigate and understand global and local issues through the lens of mass incarceration. They will be exposed to and connect with Chicago creative communities engaged in developing new solutions to address this social problem.

    Section 03: Latino Voices
    Taught by: Elio Leturia (Communication)
    Thursdays 3:30-6:20pm, 618, #207

    In this course, students will learn about the wide range of life stories of Latino communities in the city. Hispanics and Latinos make up the largest minority group in the United States and their stories are of great importance because they have been part of the American landscape for centuries. Nevertheless, these stories continue being overlooked or told by others who lack the understanding of this multiethnic community whose roots come from many Latin American countries in North, Central and South America. By taking this course, students will learn about the narrative nature of Hispanic/Latino life experiences by inquiring, learning, and explaining their histories (identifying similarities and differences) thus avoiding perpetuating stereotypes. Throughout the course, students will explore diverse communities in which Latinos across Chicago live, create, and participate. Students will also engage in discussing issues of immigration, advocacy, language, religion, culture, ethnic background, class, and the advancement for racial equity and social change. As collaborative work is an essential component of this class, students will work in groups to discuss practices and content and to develop their final group presentations.  

    Section 04: Storytelling Through Grief
    Taught by: Suzanne McBride (Communication)
    Mondays 3:30-6:20 pm, 618, #LL01  

    This course focuses on stories people tell about themselves and others as they grieve different kinds of loss. By collecting, analyzing, and creating stories, students will develop a sharper understanding of how and why people use stories to make sense of their lives. Students will produce stories about various aspects of grief and establish connections between these varied experiences. Through the process of discovering, understanding, and relaying narratives, students will establish deeper ties with their own communities at the college and in the city.

    Section 05: Unsung Heroines
    Taught by: Gabriela Diaz de Sabates (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Tuesdays 3:30-6:20pm, 618, #LL01

    In this course students will learn about the wide range of women’s life stories in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond, establishing connections between the local and the global. Women’s life stories are of importance because they invent, reform, and refashion personal and collective identity. By taking this course, students will learn about the narrative nature of life experiences by exploring the process of knowing about, listening, and telling of life stories. This class uses an intersectional approach, which takes into consideration markers of identity such as gender, sexual identity, class, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, etc. Throughout the class, students will be exposed to communities of interest, practice and/or purpose that Chicago women inhabit, create, and participate in, while exploring the relationships among their stories embedded within creative ecosystems, discussing issues of advocacy and the advancement for gender equity and social change. It is important to note that, in this class, the term “woman" is not understood as a concept based on essentialist and narrow notions rooted in biology, but rather as one that is inclusive of all persons who identify as women, in the broadest sense.

    Section 06: Unsettling Chicago
    Taught by: C. Richard King (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Thursdays 9-11:50am, 618, #LL02

    Unsettling Chicago concerns itself with the place of imagined Indians in Chicago and the distinct representational practices and cultural politics that have made such renderings pleasurable, profitable, and powerful. Place names and origins stories, collective memory and commercial brands, as well as sports mascots and holiday celebrations will be examined. Readings and discussion seek not simply to catalog a set of stereotypes but encourage a deeper understanding of the construction and circulation of such representations and a fuller appreciation of the cultural, historical, and political forces shaping the uses and understandings of Indianness. Throughout, attention will be directed at the shifting contours of race, power, and identity as well as the persistence and fecundity of core ideas about indigenous peoples. 

  • CCCX 217: Environmental Justice

    Section 01: Pharmaceutical Culture
    Taught by: Derick D. Jones, Jr.  {Science and Mathematics)
    Mondays 9:00-11:50 am, 618, #207

    We will explore the importance of the pharmaceutical industry and how it has impacted the culture of various communities in Chicago. We will discuss how people respond biologically and chemically to these chemicals. We will examine how the opioid epidemic is directly related to the history of pharmaceuticals being integrated into marginalized communities as recreational goods and the systemic impact it has on prisons and the mortality from an overdose. We will explore how this has impacted communities pre- and present-day pandemic. We will investigate how the opioid epidemic has shaped our economy, law, politics, communities in Chicago, and the stereotypical narratives that ensue. As a final project, we will envision and propose measures to improve approaches in communities impacted by the opioid crisis, using prevention, restorative, or other means.

    Section 02: Culture of Climate Change
    Taught by: Michelle Yates (Humanities, History, and Social Sciences)
    Thursdays 9:00-11:50 a.m., 618, #207

    In this class we will learn about climate change and the ways in which writers, artists, filmmakers, activists, journalists, and scholars respond to this issue, arguably the most important and challenging issue facing human societies and global species. Through assignments that introduce its causes and impacts, we will explore the intersectional environmental, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of climate change. We will identify how humans and their activities have exerted powerful forces on the planet, giving rise to what scholars debate as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Students will critically analyze relevant source material, including readings, data, media, and art and design objects and experiences. We will consider the disproportional impacts of increasingly eroding environmental conditions on poor and marginalized communities in the United States and globally as well as how these communities advocate for environmental and climate justice. Students will draw on their own interests and skills to investigate and articulate their understandings of climate change and its impacts, and to envision possible outcomes.

  • CCCX 299: Creative Communities

    Section 01: Joyfulness and Well-Being
    Taught by: Susan Imus (Dance)
    Wednesdays 3:30-6:20pm, 618, #207

    What makes you joyful? What prevents you from experiencing joyfulness? How is joyfulness related to your well-being? This course examines how experiences of joy and well-being are culturally situated, and how such states can be cultivated through physical, mental, social, and spiritual practices. Furthermore, students will engage their creative interests in arts, media, and communication as a means of informing these practices. Through engagement with community resources at Columbia and the wider Chicago area as well as critical analysis of introductory readings and viewings in joy, pleasure, resilience, and the body/mind/spirit relationship, students will expand upon and strengthen their self-care practices to optimize their bio-psycho-social-spiritual well-being.

    Section 02: Rethinking Museums
    Taught by: Onur Ozturk (Art and Art History)
    Fridays 12:30-3:20 pm, 618, #LL01

    In this course, students will explore, study, question, and reimagine historical and contemporary curatorial practices. Mini lectures, class discussions, and field trips will investigate permanent and temporary exhibitions of the Chicago area museums, archival materials of Chicago world expositions, and current scholarship on curating Islamic art as special case studies. Exposing students to current debates around museums and curators, the course will pose various questions: How and why museums have been giving priority and authority to some forms of knowledge and objects over others? How do museums organize, categorize, and present their collections? How can museums address colonialist, orientalist, and racist origins of their practices and collections? How can museums represent missing or misinterpreted histories, stories, and traditions of indigenous and global cultures? Students will be asked to apply their academic research and critical thinking skills as they reimagine a portion of the Art Institute of Chicago for their final project.

CCCX 200: Learning Outcomes

Although individual courses have course-specific learning outcomes associated with understanding Columbia College Chicago’s urban setting, all of the courses share the same expectations for the student learning experience. In the Creative Communities course, students will: