Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Audrey Petty at the Chicago Humanities Festival

Hard to think about October now, in the dog days of summer.  But here goes! 

Audrey Petty will be offering a preview of her new book project, High-Rise Stories, at the Chicago Humanities Festival on October 21st. 

I thought our many Chicago-area alums in particular should know about this event, and indeed I hope to meet many of you there.  The festival's director, Matti Bunzl, has a very thoughtful post on his blog about Audrey's work and the Festival, which I strongly advise you to read.  You can find it by clicking here.

The book, which will be part of the Voices of Witness book series, is described on the series's website as follows:

"High-Rise Stories is an oral history book project that will gather stories from residents of Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes, Robert Taylor Homes, Stateway Gardens and Cabrini-Green–all publicly-funded edifices that no longer exist.

In 2000, with the deconcentration of poverty in city neighborhoods as a goal, the Chicago Housing Authority initiated Plan for Transformation, an initiative that resulted in the demolition of thousands of housing units as well as widespread renovations and the construction of mixed-income developments. High Rise Stories aims to illuminate one of America’s most critical yet underreported social issues: fair and decent housing for the members of our country’s most vulnerable populations.

High Rise Stories will explore how generations of Chicago Housing Agency residents made homes for themselves within the walls of public housing, and how they have experienced the agency’s Plan for Transformation. Tenants’ accounts of community, displacement, removal, and relocation are not only crucial to Chicago’s social history, but are also key to any meaningful national conversation about poverty, housing reform, urban renewal and gentrification."

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