NIU Libraries Regional History Center will host the inaugural Northern Illinois Regional History Conference on Saturday April 22, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holmes Student Center Heritage Room on NIU's campus in DeKalb. The conference theme is "At the Crossroads of the Urban-Rural Divide" and the program will feature panel sessions with presentations on a variety of topics and projects related to Northern Illinois' changing communities, evolving land-use, and how history influences regional identity. The purpose of the conference is to engage a wide audience of scholars, practitioners, students, enthusiasts, and community members to examine the rapidly changing urban-suburban-rural dynamic of the region through a historical lens. As an inaugural event, the goal is also to identify a community of interest and provide an annual event to highlight the research, creative work, and initiatives around local and regional history at the institutional and individual levels.
The conference keynote speaker is Raphael Wahwassuck of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council, who will discuss the Potawatomi Nation's history in the area and recent efforts to reclaim ancestral tribal land near Shabbona State Park in DeKalb County that was illegally auctioned by the U.S. government in 1849.
Session 1: Views of Urban and Rural Life
Pre-Lunch Session: Film and Discussion
Session 3: Race and Housing in the Suburbs
Session 4: Collecting, Teaching, and Researching Local History
The Northern Illinois Regional History Conference is free and open to public but attendees are encouraged to RSVP by April 15, 2023. For more information, please contact Special Collections and Archive Department Head Bradley J. Wiles via email or 815-753-9392.