Gianna Mosser came to MAPH directly from the University of Miami. She graduated summa cum laude in three years and moved to Chicago in the fall of 2004. “I started MAPH not long after my 21st birthday,”she explained to me by phone. “I was actually told by some of the staff at the time: wow you’re really young.”
As a MAPHer, Mosser spent most of her time in the English department and focused on postcolonial studies. She wrote her thesis “Repudiating Commodified Feminine Bodies in Jessica Hagedorn’s
Dogeaters: Working toward Political Agency” under the direction of Professor Debbie Nelson.
Mosser added that she spent time doing “some non-MAPH related things.” She interned at Lyceum Books, a small independent publishing house, to help hone her editorial portfolio. After graduation, she got a job in corporate marketing for an industrial firm.But Mosser had different ambitions after MAPH. “I always knew I wanted to be in publishing,” she said. With tuition reimbursement from the industrial firm, she enrolled in copyediting courses at the Graham School. The professor there helped her find editorial work locally.
Since 2006, she has been the Managing Editor of Social Psychology Quarterly and also does freelance copy editing and developmental editing.. She currently works as Managing Editor of Islamic Africa at Northwestern University Press, and is tasked specifically with running the Press’s online journal. She also helps with grant administration and conference preparation on behalf of NUP. A flexible schedule allows Mosser to work from home three days a week. As she explained, in a changing publishing world, “What used to be done all manually is pretty much done automatically via editorial databases.” Journal editing allows Mosser to work on multiple projects while having the flexibility to work remotely.
“I was really lucky,” Mosser said. At the same time, she credits her experiences as a MAPH student for her ability to succeed at Northwestern University Press. “Having a Master’s made working in academic publishing feasible,” she said. “Being able to apply humanistic theory to analyze and improve readibility makes it possible to copyedit these texts and engage with authors from different disciplines.” An ability to critically evaluate texts outside of her expertise is essential for Mosser to be successful at her job.
Though it might not seem evident to MAPHers in the middle of writing a thesis, Mosser argued that exposure to a range of critical skills within the humanities can pay off in the professional world. “Having those perspectives in the board room and as editorial staff, you can get more done.”