I’m spending the day today researching and putting the final touches on a truly unique educational program coming up during the very first weekend after classes have begun in August: It is an overnight travel-immersion program in Chicago that looks at the city’s two major league baseball teams, the White Sox and the Cubs, through a critical lens conscious of things like race and socio-economic community development.
The bare bones of the design, thus far, is that we will spend about a 30-hour period together exploring the communities surrounding the Chicago White Sox on Chicago’s South Side and the Cubs on the North Side.
We’ll be sort of amateur ethnographers in that we’ll observe, and record, and pay particular attention to what the communities surrounding the clubs’ stadiums are like. Who lives in the areas adjacent to the stadiums? Who works there? Are there shops and restaurants or homes surrounding the stadiums?
The fun part—though no less serious from an academic standpoint—is that we’ll get to take our observations into the parks, themselves, for a White Sox game on Friday night, followed by a Cubs game the next day.
Like our trips into the communities we’ll be looking at things like, Who attends these games? Where do they work and live? How did they get to the stadium that day?
And what do any of our observations mean to the conversation about the role of race in the socioeconomic realities of our world?
I’m still nailing down details and logistics, but I wanted to get it out there now, as this will be a tough thing to advertise during that first crazy week of classes.
The broad logistics:
- Depart on the South Shore Line Train at 12:59pm on Friday, August 24th.
- The White Sox game that night starts at 7:10pm Central time.
- The Cubs game the next day starts at 12:05pm Central Time.
- We’ll be back in South Bend by 8:15pm on Saturday, August 25th.
Due to budget and time constraints space is extremely limited. We’ll only be able to accommodate 10-13 students, so if you’re interested, why don’t you shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can maybe start putting together a list of participants.
If you’re really bored this summer and you want to know more about what we’ll be thinking about, check out It’s Hardly Sportin’: Stadiums, Neighborhoods, and the New Chicago.
Or, if you don’t quite have enough time to read a book, try this article, from which I totally borrowed the title for the program, A Tale of Two Stadiums: Comparing the Economic Impact of Chicago’s Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field
Hope everyone is enjoying their summers. Can’t wait to see you all back here soon.
(Because summer is kind of boring on campus without students…)