County hospital : remembering and place-making in Chicago

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Buckun, Ann Louise

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Through diachronic examination of communicative acts, this dissertation explores intertwined processes of social memory, remembering, forgetting and place-making that have involved the former Cook County Hospital, located in Chicago, Illinois. With emphasis on narratives, nomination practices, and social contexts, this project illuminates and examines discourse conveyed during three 'moments' of material rupture and transformation of the Cook County Hospital facilities. A central perspective of this dissertation is that discourse articulated during these 'moments' reveals social remembering and memory with regard to place-making involving the former hospital and Main Building, as well as evidences social forgetting occurring between the years 1873 to 2007. For purposes of this project, three 'moments' of material transformation are regarded as bracketed by the years 1873 through 1876, the years 1910 through 1914, and the year 2002 through a year that is, as of yet, undetermined. These 'moments' were identified through examination of articulation and recoding of labels that could be regarded more informal than official for the county hospital facilities. This project illuminates the importance and complexity of naming in place-making processes, and the necessity of diachronic approaches to exploring social remembering and forgetting relevant to place. In highlighting the fluidity of social remembering, this dissertation emphasizes value of making primary source materials accessible in public domain, for future generations. Further illuminated is the value of newsprint as channels of mass communication through which aspects of social remembering, forgetting, and place-making can be investigated. Whether to demolish or re-use the now vacant Main Building became an issue of public contestation in 2002. This project was inspired, in part, by contestation concerning the proposed demolition, by senses of the city, and by the diverse and proliferating interdisciplinary ‘corpus’ of scholarship that articulates notions of social memory, remembering, and forgetting.




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