Here is a post from Keri Asma, MA ’13,on her recent externship to the Hyde Park Art Center. Keri is also one of the MAPH mentors for the upcoming year, so you’ll probably be hearing from her fairly often.
Externships are opportunities for recently graduated or current Master’s and PhD students to shadow alumni in various careers for a day. Rather like extended informational interviews, externships provide students with a chance to explore a particular profession, no prior experience necessary. If you are interested in learning more about externships through the University of Chicago, visit the CAPS website here: https://careeradvancement.uchicago.edu/jobs-internships-research/graduate-student-externships.
The Hyde Park Art Center is, as many of you probably know, a perfect example of the possible intersections between art, community, education, and humanistic inquiry. My externship at the center this summer not only gave me a sense of the individual work of MAPH Alumnae Kate Lorenz and Brook Rosini, but also provided a holistic picture of how their work contributes to a much larger project—one which like MAPH is centered on creating a community which can engage critically, passionately, and excitedly with the arts.
This post will be something between an introduction/plug for the HPAC, a reflection on what I learned, and an encouragement for doing externships. This is just one account of engaging with alumni, with the community, with the arts; there are probably lots more out there.*
Curious where MAPH writers are now? Wondering what new publications have come out? Check out the recently updated MAPH Writers page on our website. There you’ll find a list of alumni, links to novels, essays, poems, and blogs, and what writers are working on now.
Don’t see your published work there? Please let us know! We would love to feature you and your work on the website.
If you have a few minutes today, check out MAPH ’08 alum Kristin Fitzsimmons’ webseries What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia?
After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, my friend Sally and I started a web series called What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia?, an homage to everybody’s favorite light research tool and the many strange tangents it takes you on. Each week, we get together, drink an adult beverage and talk for two hours about what we looked up on Wikipedia. It all gets edited down to 5 or so minutes and posted online. It’s pretty much the most fun unpaid thing we’ve ever done and think it might be right up the alley of students and alums of the University of Chicago. What Did You Look Up on Wikipedia? can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also email us with your suggestions of what to look up.
After living all over the world, from Australia’s east coast to America’s west coast and pretty much everywhere in between, the Grozdanova sisters found themselves on the premises of the University of Chicago campus about to embark on their most creative venture to date. In 2012, Biliana and Marina Grozdanova founded El Jinete Films – a documentary production company with a mission to create inspiring documentaries featuring music from all around the globe. Their first film, however, would be a tale about rock n’ roll from their very own streets of Chicago… Currently in production, “The Last Kamikazis of Heavy Metal” is a documentary about the Chicago-based band Hessler, with which the Grozdanova sisters have been on two national tours, filming their every move. A first cut of the film premiered this spring at the Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary. The final version of the film will be released in the national and international festival circuit in 2014.
Marina is a graduating senior in the college, majoring in International Studies. Biliana is a 2011 MAPH-er and wrote her thesis on rock n’ roll and the music documentary. This summer, the sisters return to Spain (their second home) to premiere their parallel project, “Ortigueira: Echoes at Land’s End,” a film about an international Celtic music festival on Galicia’s northern shores. Interestingly enough, what began as another crazy trip and film venture, the Ortigueira experience inspired Marina to write her B.A. thesis on this music festival, and it has been nominated for the Adlai Stevenson International Studies Thesis Prize.
In 1926, Scottish documentarian John Grierson coined the term “documentary” while studying at the University of Chicago… Who would have thought that this fact, along with the birth of Mick Jagger, 16mm film cameras, and two little girls in ex-communist Bulgaria, would lead to the epic apparition of El Jinete Films on the UChicago campus almost a century later? Indeed, the rock doc is a genre very much ALIVE and WELL, and the Grozdanova sisters plan to feed it for decades to come!
Check out the trailer for Kamikazes above, and be sure to look out for its premiere and the premiere of Ortigueira. Do you know of a MAPH alum doing exciting creative work? Let us know!
The people and projects of MAPH are profiled in two articles in the latest issue of Tableau, the Humanities Division of UChicago’s biyearly magazine.
Joanna MacKenzie (AM’02) of Browne & Miller Literary Agency is profiled in the latest issue of Tableau.
“Come Together” profiles Colloquium, MAPH’s new online journal that features exemplary, wide-ranging work by MAPH students, alumni and staff. This is not the first mention of Colloquium in other publications—if you’re itching for more meta on the magazine, check out this interview with its founders in The University of Chicago Magazine. The Tableau article has come out just in time for the journal’s second issue, which is set to launch on Friday! Don’t miss it!
“Publish and Flourish,” an article on UChicago Humanities alumni who work in the publishing industry, features three MAPH grads who are making it in publishing. Ellen Grafton (AM’11), Allison Wright (AM’08), and Joanna MacKenzie (AM’02) offer their practiced advice on how to get hired and succeed in book publishing. Ellen and Allison moved to New York to get into the business—Ellen is now Assistant Managing Editor of the children’s division at Simon and Schuster, and Allison is the US Dictionaries Editor at Oxford University Press. Joanna put down roots in Chicago, and she works as a literary agent at Browne and Miller Literary Associates—the same company where MAPH provides a paid summer internship for one current student every year.
Those are just two of the publications that are profiling MAPH alumni and projects. Know of other places MAPH alumni are popping up? Contact us!
Spring has returned to Chicago, and with it a bounty of new publications by MAPH alumni. Leila Wilson (AM ’03) and Gregory Lawless (AM ’04) each have a volume of poetry out in which the authors examine their complex relationships with the landscapes of their past and present. Read on for more information in the authors’ own words.
Leila Wilson, The Hundred Grasses (Milkweed Editions, 2013)
Leila on The Hundred Grasses:
My poems are rooted in the flatlands and lowlands: the Midwestern lawns, lakes, fields, and creeks of my childhood, and the Dutch farms, canals, and seascapes near my family’s home in Holland. Much of my poetry focuses on those instances when a space exerts itself beyond recognition, when it seems to estrange itself so that it may be renegotiated. For me this is a process of embedding my examination in the musicality of language and paying close attention to the breath of a line.
…Foreclosure compares to any book of poetry that hovers nervously in the vicinity of the fraught pastoral, simultaneously wary of and lured by it. Many contemporary pastoral poems regard themselves as anti-pastorals, or post-pastorals—they imagine that the pastoral is impossible because it’s terminally problematic, and, thus, they fret in the wake of that “fact.” The poems in Foreclosure fret differently, I guess—not by abandoning convention or reference altogether, but by manifesting what I call critical ambivalence toward them—at times embracing, and at times rejecting these things, as the poems demand. But ultimately this is a book born of familiarity with a place.
The following post is an essay written by Lara Kelland (AM’02) and her doctoral colleague Anne Parsons. Lara and Anne are frequent contributors to the National Council on Pubic History’s “History @Work” blog. Public history is a professional field that engages the tools of academic history towards the creation of public projects such as museums, historic houses, digital projects, documentaries, and the like.
” ‘MUSEI WORMIANI HISTORIA’, THE FRONTISPIECE FROM THE MUSEUM WORMIANUM DEPICTING OLE WORM’S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES.”
In our last History@Work post, we charted the recent burst of academic public history jobs in the past few years. This year’s job market has continued the trend, with thirty jobs seeking either major or minor public history specialties posted on the Academic Wiki. It is yet to be seen whether this increase in job postings reflects a sustainable boom or a short-lived bubble. Regardless, this growth of public history jobs signals a visible interest in the field in dozens of history departments across the country, raising significant questions regarding the overproduction of undergraduate and graduate students in public history.
One of the major concerns of expanding public history training is that many museums and historic institutions are currently facing major budget cuts, and so we are training new public historians for a field which is under siege. As the NCPH and the wider profession continue to discuss longstanding issues of graduate training in public history, we want to suggest a broadening of public history training. Public history already trains students in research and writing, preservation, and project management among other things. By incorporating more of a public humanities approach, we could train students even more broadly for a wider array of fields. At this moment of growth, public historians have an opportunity to think about new directions, including broadening the definitions of what public history is and what it encompasses.
As young public history professionals we come to this discussion mindful of our own experiences at the master’s level, one of us in public history and the other in public humanities. Anne received her MA in public history at New York University, a program that resides largely in the history department. The program provided her with a strong skill set for museum work and public history scholarship. In contrast, Lara trained at the University of Chicago in its Master of Arts Program in Humanities, designing an interdisciplinary degree that brought together different skill sets to her museum studies inquiry. The public humanities degree at University of Chicago, for instance, allowed students to design their own degree in various disciplines, enabling students to train themselves in ways that would be useful for their intended profession. A similar sentiment was expressed at the meeting of this past year’s NCPH Working Group on Imagining New Careers in Public History, where discussion about training MAs with business skills flourished. We might greatly benefit from looking to public humanities programs as a model for teaching students transferrable skills and broad cultural approaches. In one example, the University of Chicago’s MAPH program consistently places students in publishing, journalism, and teaching jobs, as well as other cultural sector jobs in visual and dramatic arts and public humanities organizations. According to one administrator of the program, graduates of broad humanities training are well-positioned to connect ideas generated within the academy to public spaces, events, and projects.
Naomi Slipp (MAPH ’09) is a current PhD candidate in the Department of History of Art & Architecture at Boston University. As a facet of her studies, she has been planning an exhibition on American art and artistic anatomy, the topic of her dissertation research, since the spring of 2010. Directly inspired by her MAPH thesis written on the bronze anatomical casts of Thomas Eakins at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the two-month long exhibition Teaching the Body: Artistic Anatomy in the American Academy from Copley, Rimmer, and Eakins to Contemporary Artists, opens January 31, 2013 at the Boston University Art Gallery and includes over eighty works of art (many never exhibited before), extensive public programming, and an illustrated catalogue with scholarly essays.
She says of the project: “I feel inspired by artistic anatomy because these works of art visualize the uncharted and wondrous terrain of the human body, not some distant volcano or historical event, but the miraculous, complex mechanisms operating within ourselves. The study of anatomy also, historically, has brought together doctors and artists who sought to explore this corporeal space together.”
Because of this, she is also very excited about the opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration around the exhibition topic. She says: “I want to create a dialogue between these two commonly polarized fields (art and science). To that end, we are initiating collaborative programming with Massachusetts General Hospital, the College of Fine Arts, the BU Medical College & the Center for Science & Medical Journalism at Boston University, and the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. I hope to unite this diverse audience, bringing together people who are interested in art and those who are interested in medicine for a rich, shared conversation about what it means to occupy, treat, & picture our own bodies.”
Cristopher De Phillips and Laurie Ipsen in front of City Hall in Chicago
Cristopher De Phillips (MAPH 2009) arrived at UChicago as a MAPH student in 2008. Even now, he remembers cold and cloudy days in January. “I’d say to myself–’This thesis is never going to get done.’”
As Founder and Director of Chicago Welcomes Home the Heroes, De Phillips now finds himself in familiar circumstances–looking ahead to the execution of a difficult project whose scope seems to continuously widen–though the task that he’s set in front of himself can seem even more challenging. Along with co-founder Laurie Ipsen, De Phillips is spearheading the effort to plan and execute America’s largest welcome-home parade for veterans of America’s post-9/11 wars (THIS DECEMBER 15IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO). The organization will also host a screening of the documentary film Hell and Back at the Reva and David Logan Center on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 (6PM), with a panel discussion to follow.
MAPH students and alumni are welcome to attend all of the events.
All of this amounts to a huge set of logistical challenges that has demanded collaboration with civic, government, non-profit, and corporate interests (Chicago Welcomes Home the Heroes secured their first major sponsor in United Health Care on the day that I met with De Phillips and Ipsen here in Hyde Park).
De Phillips jokes that he has confidence that the work will get done in part because of his experience writing that MAPH thesis project–a project that likely seems less daunting when observed in the rear-view mirror.
He became interested in the idea of a Chicago parade after seeing Rachel Maddow’s coverage of Saint Louis’s event–which attracted roughly 100,000 people. It may seem like an unlikely calling for a MAPH alum–especially one without any firsthand experience of military life (neither De Phillips nor Ipsen has been in the armed forces). But this logistically complicated and emotional process has become the focus of De Phillips’s professional life during the past year. » Read the rest of this entry «
I hope this post finds all of you well. I appreciate that some of you may have time to read this, as much as I appreciate that many more of you may not have such time because you are so immersed in your zealous study of those recondite things we call the humanities. Whatever your passion that has drawn you to MAPH, whether literature, philosophy, music or art history—even classics—I trust that you respect the arduous labor of clarifying your thought as a labor of great importance. Between us, this feeling is mutual. However, in my personal experience with the humanities, the relevance of tarrying with the Platonic dialogues is something I have frequent need of renegotiating for myself. What ought I to do with my now clarified, or, more often, sublimely muddled thought? In MAPH, I was guided and fortified by the notion that my philosophizing should advance some common good. Credit that notion to all of the Socratic fan-fiction I’ve read from Plato; blame the generality of that notion to me. At any rate, Maren has graciously invited me to share how my experience in MAPH challenged me to think of how humanistic inquiry has informed my AmeriCorps service. I would also like to share how MAPH challenged me to re-think the spaces in which humanistic inquiry can flourish.
At the outset of my MAPH year last September, I was confident, though not certain, that I would find myself in a year or two attending some Ph.D. program in philosophy. At the same time, I thought it peculiar that I would have spent the past five years contemplating the common good along with my dead Greek friends, Plato, Socrates, and Marx (pretty much an Aristotelian) but doing little direct service towards forming the community I had been imagining. That said, towards the middle of my MAPH year, I became more confident that I would find myself working in some social service organization, which is just what happened. Through AmeriCorps’ Catholic Volunteer Network, I now work as a caseworker for the Guardian Angel Settlement Association at Hosea House in St. Louis, Missouri. GASA’s social services site, Hosea House, provides emergency assistance for persons and families in crisis who may need food, clothing, utilities or rental assistance. Hosea House also partners with other agencies to offer seasonal, public health, senior and back to school programs.