The American Dream Reconsidered Conference, 2023

Mind, Body and the American Dream

Mind and body are such fundamental concepts that we often take them for granted, but recent events have served as a reminder of how central they are to the American Dream. For example, the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade served as a stark example about the body itself as a site of political contestation. Roosevelt University is uniquely suited to explore this theme. As an educational institution, one of the University’s central missions is promoting and celebrating the life of the mind.  The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt is centrally focused on education that brings together mind and body in music, theater, and dance. In addition, as a participant in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and potentially Division II of the National Association of Collegiate Athletics (NCAA), the University is home to more than two dozen sports teams that encourage students to hone their physical development.

Day 1 – Monday, Oct. 16


11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Ganz Hall

Carrying the Light:  
Mary McLeod Bethune and Black Women’s Activism 

The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished
Program Sponsored by the Center for New Deal Studies

This panel considers the life and legacy of educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune, who was known as “The First Lady of the Struggle” in reference to her efforts on behalf of racial equality. She was the head of the Black cabinet during the 1930s, an official with the National Youth Administration, and an advisor to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Franklin Roosevelt as well as a founder of Bethune-Cookman University. Given the barriers that all Black Americans faced at the time, her accomplishments are remarkable and offer a vision of hope for our students in their own struggles to achieve social justice. 

Ashley Robertson Preston, Assistant Professor of History, Howard University 

Nikki Brown, Associate Professor of History and African American and Africana Studies, University of Kentucky

Linda Perkins, University Professor and Director, Applied Gender Studies, Claremont Graduate University


5:00 pm

Ganz Hall

The Embodied Performer

Chicago College of Performing Arts

The Embodied Performer features student performances representing CCPA programs in Voice and Opera, String Chamber Music, and Theatre. Actors, singers, dancers, and instrumentalists merge mental acuity with physical prowess to interpret and perform complex material and to convey emotion and storytelling through their performances. Actors and opera singers bring complex characters and text to life through physical gesture, expression, and movement perfectly synthesized with elements of rhythm, language, phrasing, and technique. The chamber musician’s mind is also sharply tuned, utilizing keen listening, clear bodily cues, eye contact, and aligned breathing as synergistic means to bring the music into alignment, not only from the perspective of the notes stacking in the right places at the right times, but also from the perspective of the subjective interpretive shape of the performance. In each discipline, the body becomes the instrument through which artistic and dramatic intentions are realized. The coordination of mind and body finds its apotheosis in collaborative performances, serving as inspiration for a cooperative and harmonious society.

Act IV of an originally devised piece ‘A Wave o’the Sea’ based on the works of William Shakespeare.
Tempest to my Soul:
Director: Sarah Taylor
Choreography: Claire McFarland
Constance: Mary Einhorn
Cardinal Pandulph: Zachary Feuling
Claudio: Austin Smith
Clarence: Bella Crider
Boy/Death Shadow: Skylar McClure
Death Shadows: Natalie Beck, Tia Jeffs, Rachel LaChanse, Alexa Reeves, Grace Reidenauer, Sydney Schenker

Chamber Music:
Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44
I. Allegro brillante

Hobart Shi, violin
Julian Ng, violin
Sava Velkoff, viola
Olivia Moyer, cello
Raphael Chou, piano

Introductions: Sergio Savala

Selection from Manon (Jules Massenet 1842-1912)
Manon: Morgan Babb, soprano
Le chevalier des Grieux: Jose Vargas, tenor

Selection from Beauty and the Beast (Vittorio Giannini 1903-1966)
Beauty: Savannah Hegyi, soprano
Beast: Wesley Krist, tenor

Music Director: Dana Brown, Associate Professor of Opera
Pianist: Raphael Chou


7:00 pm

Gage Gallery

New Deal America: Photographs by Arthur Rothstein

Opening Reception and Gallery Talk:

In commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the New Deal, the Gage Gallery is hosting an exhibition of photographs by Arthur Rothstein, who worked for the Farm Security Administration during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Along with 40 other photographers, Rothstein traveled across the nation documenting the Great Depression and New Deal programs for potential publication in periodicals, books, government reports, and elsewhere. His lens revealed not only the destruction of the Dust Bowl and extreme deprivation of rural Americans but also the hope and inspiration they found in national public works projects, federal health care initiatives and other New Deal programs.

Gallery Talk: Ann Rothstein Segan and Brodie Hefner, The Arthur Rothstein Legacy Project

Day 2 – Tuesday, Oct. 17


12:30-1:45 p.m. 

Ganz Hall

The State and the Body: Reproductive Justice and the American Dream 

Perhaps nothing is more fundamental to the American Dream than control over decisions about one’s body.  The Dobbs v. Jackson decision serves as one of the most recent and public examples of how state and national governments have attempted to control personal decisions about the body, vividly demonstrating how the body itself is a battleground.   By focusing on the social and historical context of reproductive justice and questions of bodily autonomy, this session will explore topics such as access to abortion, birth control, gender affirming care, and basic health care as well as policies and state actions that deny patients their fundamental right to consent.  

Natalie Lira, Associate Professor, Latina/Latino Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Qudsiyyah Shariyf, Deputy Director, Chicago Abortion Fund

Deborah Tuerkheimer, Class of 1967 James B. Haddad Professor, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Marjorie Jolles, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Associate Provost for Professional Development, Assessment and Honors


7:00 p.m. CDT 


Curriculum Wars: The Battle to Control our Schools 

Increasingly, our political divide has invaded the classroom, and parents are now fighting with one another over which books students should read, what the curriculum should be, and what teachers are allowed to say. It is quite literally a struggle for the minds of young Americans. We even see these battles occurring more and more frequently not just at the elementary and high school levels but also at colleges and universities. This is hardly the first time Americans have fought about these issues, and this panel will explore this phenomenon in greater depth and provide historical context to give us a deeper understanding of how education has become a central battleground in the culture wars. 

Anthony Chen, Associate Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University

Emily Knox, Associate Professor, School of Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jonathan Zimmerman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education and Professor of History of Education, University of Pennsylvania

Margaret Policastro, Professor of Language and Literacy and Chair, Department of Education

Curriculum Wars: The Battle to Control our Schools 

Facebook Livestream
Linkedin Event Page
Watch the Livestream on YouTube

Day 3 – Wednesday, Oct. 18


12:30 p.m.

Ganz Hall

Our Bodies, Our Performance.

In this panel, student participants share the process and findings undertaken in Professor Kjar’s graduate student music seminar devoted to understanding and reframing performance as an embodied aesthetic.

Graduate Student and Alumni Participants:
Julien Ng
Kristina Mucha
Connor Feyen
Magda Travis

David Kjar, Associate Professor of Core Studies and Music History


7 p.m. 

Ganz Hall

The Loyola Project

Join us for a screening of the sports documentary, The Loyola Project, which tells the riveting story of the 1962-1963 Loyola Ramblers basketball team, a group of Black and white athletes fighting for an equal playing field in an unequal and segregated America. The film is narrated by Lucas Williamson, a recent player and co-captain of the Loyola Ramblers. 

Day 4 – Thursday, Oct. 19


7:00 P.M.


Veterans and the College Experience:
Opportunities, Challenges, and Life Lessons

This panel will focus on the experiences of three current Roosevelt students who have all served in the military (and two of whom are still active in the reserves). Veterans returning to school after their service often face a unique set of physical and psychological challenges. This panel will explore how they have navigated that transition and what advice they can share with veterans and more generally with other students who have faced their own challenges. Their life experiences outside of school enrich not just the classroom but the entire community. As Joseph Campbell wrote, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself,” and the Americans who serve in our military certainly fit that definition. So, we thank these student veterans for their service. We welcome them to our community. And we look forward to their insights.

Facebook Livestream
LinkedIn Event Page
Watch the Livestream on YouTube

Guests visiting Roosevelt University facilities must check in at the campus safety desks and show a valid state ID.

RSVP Today

When: October 20 - 24, 2024 | 430 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. Join the conversation about what it means to be an American in these challenging times. All events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

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