St. Olaf faculty member’s work earns national recognition

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology David Schalliol

St. Olaf College faculty member David Schalliol is earning national recognition for his expertise and creativity in bringing awareness to architectural innovation and urban transformation.

Schalliol, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, has been included in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial and awarded a place in the 2017 Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) Documentary Labs for his feature-length documentary The Area. He also received a grant from the Graham Foundation for his co-authoring of The City Creative: The Rise of Placemaking in Urban America with Michael Carriere.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial provides a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience.

This nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism through the production of exhibitions and public programs. The world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism will gather to explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architecture to contemporary society.

Titled “Make New History,” this second edition of the Biennial will focus on the efforts of contemporary architects to align their work with versions of history. Schalliol is academically and artistically interested in issues of social stratification and meaning in the social and physical worlds.

A demolition in “the area,” 2012, Chicago. David Schalliol’s feature-length documentary on the demolition of this South Side Chicago neighborhood was awarded a place in the Independent Filmmaker Project Documentary Labs.

My contribution will engage the Biennial’s theme of ‘Make New History’ by framing the current debates around architecture, urban planning, and social responsibility in Chicago’s complicated past,” Schalliol says.

“These themes are the core of my scholarship and visual practice in Chicago, but also in projects throughout the nation and world, from how affordable housing is facilitated in New York to how residents of Belfast, Northern Ireland negotiate political conflict.”

Schalliol is also bringing awareness to the demolition of a South Side Chicago neighborhood through his documentary The Area. Since September 2011, residents have been living on borrowed time, maintaining friendships and traditions while struggling with new problems in their vanishing community that is being torn down to make way for an intermodal freight yard.

The Area was awarded a place in the IFP Documentary Labs. IFP is a nonprofit organization that guides storytellers through the process of making and distributing their work. IFP Films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and many of the top international festivals, secured theatrical distribution, and have been broadcast on television in the U.S. and abroad.

United States Social Forum housing at Spaulding Court, 2010, Detroit. This photo by David Schalliol is part of “The City Creative” project.

To top off Schalliol’s success, he recently received a grant through the Graham Foundation for his co-authoring of The City Creative: The Rise of Placemaking in Urban America with Michael Carriere.

Drawing on more than six years of fieldwork, archival research, and interviews, his book explores the intellectual underpinnings and practical experiences of “placemaking” in the United States.

At St. Olaf, Schalliol teaches Urban Sociology, Visual Sociology, Race and Class, Sociological Theory, and Introduction to Sociology. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Kenyon College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.