Past Projects

Chicago Police Torture Archive

This important archive presents information and documents about the torture of African-American men and women by Chicago police officers which occurred between 1972 and 1991. Jon Burge, the commander of the notorious Area 2 (the district headquarters) where these events took place, was ultimately fired by the Chicago Police Department. In 2008, the U.S. attorney's office charged Burge with perjury and obstruction of justice, since the statute of limitations had passed for charges related to committing the acts of torture. In 2010, Burge was convicted and, in 2011, sentenced to four and one half years in prison. While some Area 2 victims have won civil rights verdicts against the torturers and others won criminal appeals or were pardoned, some still languish in Illinois state prisons.

This archive (last updated in 2007) is the result of a joint effort by Human Rights Program faculty and staff, Students for Human Rights, the MacArthur Justice Center, the Peoples Law Office, and attorneys who have contributed their time and energy to working on these cases. The archive is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Robert Kirschner (1940-2002), an internationally recognized forensic pathologist, a founder of the University of Chicago Human Rights Program and faculty member of the Medical School. Dr. Kirschner played an essential role in the documentation of torture in these cases.

Human Rights Curriculum Development Project

The Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago, in conjunction with Macalester College and the Midwest Faculty Seminar, has been awarded a grant from the Teagle Foundation to determine how human rights education can advance answers to the “Big Question”: What can I do to right the wrongs of the world? A grant from the Teagle Foundation will support a Working Group of faculty members who will meet over a two year period to address this question in an on-going discussion of and research into contemporary human rights problems as well as comparative pedagogy and curriculum development. View the ongoing archive syllabus bank of human rights course curriculum.