Mapping Places | Telling Stories In Review

Thank you all for attending our spring symposium, “Mapping Places | Telling Stories.” Our Friday evening keynote by Prof. Ted Gordon (UT-Austin) was engaging – reminding us all that debates over public history, public space, and social memory are vital to the future of every university. Saturday’s community and student panels revealed the forgotten and marginalized stories within the Champaign-Urbana community. We want to thank the 5th and Hill Association and Illinois Nurses Association members for their time, stories, and activism. Also, we are incredibly proud of our students for all their hard work this semester. Their presentations were both historically engaging and personally moving. Thank you all.

Stay tuned for more histories from UIUC and Champaign-Urbana. Our students our anxious to get back into the archive, record more oral histories, and bring hidden histories to light.

We would love to hear from you. Do you have a local story or historical documents you want to share? Reminisces from your time at the University of Illinois? Let us know! Email us at or message us @PubHistoryUIUC

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Research group tells the stories of hidden histories on the University of Illinois campus

“A public history project at the University of Illinois is exploring the hidden and forgotten stories of social movements on campus and in the community. Students are creating a map highlighting buildings or areas that were the sites of protest movements, and they are writing narratives about the significance of those places.

“We’re thinking about how we can collectively understand and interpret our past beyond the traditional academic ways we do on campus,” said Daniel Gilbert, a professor of labor and employment relations and a co-director of the project.

The project is part of a research cluster – Public History and Student Research – supported by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Gilbert and history professor Kathryn Oberdeck are co-directors of the research cluster, which includes a total of about a dozen people, including faculty, five undergraduate students enrolled in an independent study history course, and community members and organizations, including the Champaign County Historical Archives.

One goal of the project is to look at how the shared histories of campus and community are linked. So far, the research has focused largely on campus social movements, such as Project 500, an effort by the U. of I. in the late 1960s to enroll more African-American students; the establishment of cultural houses on campus; and the opposition to Chief Illiniwek. It will also include community events, including a labor strike by nurses at the old Burnham Hospital and the organizing of residents in the Fifth and Hill neighborhood around environmental issues and high-rise development in the area.”

Learn more about our work here.