So you’ve rolled into Chicago (or you’re about to in the near future). You’re probably wondering, what do I do with all my time? Classes don’t start until mid-September, summer is at its finest (this 70 degree weather is MAGICAL), and you’re starting to explore the city—what’s next? Here’s a list of things that I wish I had done before starting my MAPH year.
10 Things You Really Rather Ought to Do Before Classes Start:
1. Get a CTA card. Unless you’ve devised a teleportation device, you will use transit. Often. Even if you have a bike. Even if you have a car. Parking downtown is a nightmare, and sometimes it just makes more sense to take the train (like if you say want to go to the bar and have more than one drink per hour). Got your card? Now hop on the 6 and head downtown! And don’t forget: the Metra Electric isn’t covered by your card, although it is very fast and sitting on the second floor of a train is always a delight.
2. Get a public library card. There are lots and lots of locations, and if you’re already exploring downtown Chicago, Harold Washington is right there on State Street. There may come a time when you haven’t purchased or borrowed a book for class in time, and the UChicago library will have no copies available, and you will need an alternate source. » Read the rest of this entry «
Those of you who have already arrived in Chicago have probably noticed a preponderance of bikers. While there are plenty of other transportation methods available, many Chicagoans find that the easiest and fastest way to get around the city is on two wheels. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful while living here: » Read the rest of this entry «
How do you spend an entire weekend entertaining the people who spawned you?? … Have them take you out to fancy dinners, of course! What else are parents for?! (Oh, you know, besides emotional support, practical advice and general life-promoting things…) Here at MAPHCentral, we’ve compiled a few things we think parents and family will go gaga over – when they’re not going gaga over YOU IN YOUR FANCY CAP AND GOWN WITH THE ULTRA-PRACTICAL WING-BAT SLEEVES! » Read the rest of this entry «
In town for Campus Days with time to fill? Don’t trust Yelp (We totally get it.) to guide you to a good meal and tasty beverages? Never fear. We in the MAPH office spend a lot of time in Hyde Park and we have plenty of suggestions (read: ironclad opinions) for where to go and what to do, whether you are on campus or roaming around the neighborhood. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good one.
First things first, just wander around. The campus is rarely prettier than it is in the spring; if the weather is good, a leisurely stroll through the arches and across the quads really can’t be beat. If walking around aimlessly is not your thing, or if you have exhausted your aimless walking possibilities and you want a specific destination, we are partial to the Oriental Institute. The collection is fantastic (and really, really old), the building is beautiful, and admission is free (although the museum suggests a donation).
Also worth checking out is the Mansueto Library,a giant glass and steel ellipsoid on 57th Street that contains fancy robots that brings you books by request from deep inside the earth. It’s really cool.
Go to the lake. More specifically, go to Promontory Point. (It’s a short walk from campus and well worth it.) Or go to the DuSable Museum. Or browse in one of the excellent bookstores that Hyde Park is home to: Powell’s, tons of used books at great prices (1501 E 57th St, Chicago, IL); 57th St Books, a great general interest bookstore in which to wile away the hours (1301 E 57th St Chicago, IL 60637); The SeminaryCo-op, one of the best books stores in the whole wide world (5751 South Woodlawn Avenue).
Z&H (1323 E. 57th St) has tasty, tasty sandwiches and good coffee. Bonjour Bakery (1550 East Hyde Park Blvd) makes a mean croque monsieur and really good croissants. Rajun Cajun (1459 E. 53rd St) Despite its misleading name, this place has tasty Indian food. Oh, the samosas! Valois (1518 E. 53rd St) is a classic cafeteria and a Hyde Park institution.
Robust (63rd and Woodlawn), The Sip (5301 S Hyde Park Blvd), the aforementioned Z&H, and Café 57 (1520 E. 57th St) all serve pretty good coffee (Z&H is the best, in our opinion.)
There are a couple of good bars in Hyde Park (they are dive-y in a pleasant way). The Cove (1750 E 55th St) has a fun jukebox and darts and foosball. Jimmy’s (Woodlawn Tap) (1172 E 55th St) is just a few blocks from campus and has cheap burgers and fries. It’s a classic college-town bar.
If you want still more suggestions, just email us. We will be happy to point you in the best direction.
On April 7th and 8th, the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) will be holding Campus Days for newly admitted students. Our goal is to show you as much of MAPH as we possibly can in two action-packed days, to help you decide whether or not this program is right for you. Campus Days is not mandatory for admitted students, but we highly encourage it! If you will be able to make it this year, here is an idea of what you will have to look forward to, and some advice as to how to make the best of it.
The first event (Sunday at 2:30pm) will be the preview of the second issue of Colloquium, MAPH’s new student-run journal. Colloquium showcases the critical and creative work of MAPH students and alumni in a snappy web publication. Check out the first issue now, and be sure to come by the preview event to hear about the work current students are doing, as well as get any information on how to submit work or serve on the editorial board during your MAPH year.
Following the preview is the official welcome for Campus Days at 4:30pm! Dean of Humanities Martha Roth, Director of MAPH David Wray, and Deputy Directors of MAPH Ben Callard and Hilary Strang will give a short talk about the program and an official welcome. We will then screen Jacques Tati’s 1967 film, Playtime,with a faculty panel on the film to follow on Monday morning.
After the film, there will be a current student panel at 6:00pm. Current students from diverse fields will be in attendance, ready to take any and all questions about life in MAPH. Then after an hour or so, everyone will walk over to the new Logan and Reva Center for the Arts for the MAPH Welcome Dinner around 7:00pm. Come enjoy delicious catered food and mingle with other prospectives, current MAPH students, faculty and staff!
Breakfast will be served buffet style in the Classics Building from 8:30-10:00am, for any early birds among you! Then at 10:00am, there will be a faculty panel on Playtime. It should be an insightful event, and an opportunity to hear from some of the faculty you may be interacting with throughout your year in MAPH—maybe even a future advisor! Specific panel members will be listed on the Campus Days Schedule as we know them.
After the faculty panel, we will hold a MAPH alumni panel at 11:15. The panel will consist of MAPH alumni from diverse fields such as cultural policy, journalism, education, museum and art curation, as well as current PhD students. They will provide their perspectives on the program as former students, and illustrate how their experiences here have translated to their respective careers and life trajectories.
Everyone will be going their own way from 12-4. Lunch is independent, but we will provide a handout upon your arrival that should help you figure out where to eat at any of Hyde Park’s delicious restaurants. How you spend the next few hours is entirely up to you. Options include sitting in on a class, attending faculty office hours, going on campus tours, visiting departments and more! And if you are seeking travel reimbursement, don’t forget to square that with us during this time! Detailed information about participating in all of these options will be made available on your arrival to campus, and we will be updating the website as details come in, so check back often.
Finally, on Monday from 4-6 we will hold the MAPH Campus Days closing reception. We will have dinner with prospectives, current students, MAPH faculty and staff to bid you all farewell—but hopefully will see you soon again!
Well, that’s all the information I have for you now. I hope to see you there!
At the peak of my MAPH workload last year, I had 82 library books piled in my study. They were carefully organized: there was That Pile Over There, The Books That Fell Down By The Closet, and The Books The Dog Kept Trying To Chew. I freely admit that there was no reason to have the volume of books I had. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I could get books on anything I was interested in. I had the might of the UChicago library system behind me.
But just as I did, you will inevitably run into one of these horrifying situations…
MAPH’s new journal, Colloquium, is captivating the University’s intellectual and creative imagination. First, we made the UChicago Alumni news. Then UChicago Arts picked up the story. And why not? It’s fricking amazing.
From the story:
With so much to read, what is your niche?
Chaz Oreshkov: The work being done in MAPH interacts with real-world problems but at the same time retains a critical academic attitude. Colloquium succeeds because it’s both a lowbrow academic journal and a highbrow general reader’s magazine.
So you’re trying to be lowbrow.
Bill Hutchison: Lowbrow in the sense that we all get together in the great tavern of the mind to have amazing conversations, but feel tremendous joy about the kind of conversations we can have.
While the temptation to walk around campus hunched over a book, a smartphone, or an existential crisis is strong, raise your eyes to the walls and parapets! History is chiseled into the walls at UChicago. Many chunks of stone have been transformed into gargoyles, thinkers and scholars of ages past, and a variety of adorable/creepy animals.
We know you’re out there. You’re the ones checking the blog and waiting for the Colloquium syllabus. The ones who have already decamped to Hyde Park. The ones who hear the carillon bells and quaver with anticipation. MAPH Central herein offers various and sundry tips for your pre-MAPH run-up.
• The Listserv. Any email you send to email@example.com goes to everyone in MAPH. Feel free to use the MAPH listserv for meet-ups, get-downs, furniture swaps, or whatever else you need everyone in MAPH to see.
• Thing Theory. UChicago has its own mini-Craigslist of sorts: Marketplace. Find apartments, sell cars, buy…fondue pots? Sure.
• Cheap(er) Books. You either are or will soon be wondering if it’s worth it to get a membership at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore. Yes, it is. A membership costs $30, gives you a 10% discount (you will be buying many books very soon), and you can cash out after six months. And don’t forget about the Newberry Book Fair!
• Grounds of Being. The coffee shop in the basement of the Divinity School (Swift Hall) is the cheapest place on campus for coffee. It’s student-run, accepts only cash, and proudly bears the motto, “Where God Drinks Coffee.” MAPH Central will give you directions to one of UChicago’s best open secrets. [Note: MAPH Central always has free coffee and tea, though we do not recall seeing God ever drinking our coffee. —Eds.]
• Shots. You’ll need to provide records of various immunizations as part of enrolling at UChicago. It’s best to have that box ticked off before you arrive. It’s a pain to scramble around begging someone to stick you in the arm with dead microbes while you are rapidly revving up for Mr. MAPH’s Wild Ride.
• Food Trucks. Right around lunch time, a flock of food trucks land on campus. I’m particularly fond of Bridgeport Pasty‘s veggie pasty and the steamed buns from Wow Bao. For a relatively thorough run-down of the food trucks and where they are on any given day, check out the uchiNOMgo Twitter feed.
• Seymour. I’m embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out what everyone was talking about. cMore is your student info portal. Check it out. Sign up for alerts, make sure your info is up to date, be aware of its ongoing existence.
• Squirrels. They are everywhere. They are my favorite.
We eagerly await your collective arrival, MAPH-zukunft!
You do not have to be in a specific program option while in MAPH, but many students find program options a useful way to develop their interests during the year. Even those of you who are not in the option might want to check out the cultural policy course options and workshop sessions if you think you might want to work for cultural organizations.
Incoming MAPHers interested in working in the arts sector, or going on for doctoral work involving the policy aspects of cultural studies, should look into the resources at the Cultural Policy Center. The CPC is an interdisciplinary research center that is situated in the Harris School of Public Policy and the independent research organization NORC, but it has strong ties to the Humanities Division, and MAPH in particular. It focuses on three activities: research; public programming; and teaching, including overseeing the Cultural Policy Studies MAPH option.
Cultural Policy Studies MAPH option
The cultural policy option is of particular interest to MAPH students who are considering careers in cultural organizations; in public service agencies within the cultural sector, such as foundations or government agencies that support the arts; or doctoral work with a focus on the policy dimensions of cultural studies, cultural theory, or cultural history.
It requires an introductory course, a research project-based course, and at least two cultural policy-related electives, as well as the Foundations of Interpretive Theory course (the “Core” course) required of all MAPH students and a final thesis on a topic broadly related to cultural policy studies.
The Cultural Policy Center’s workshops mix theory and practice: speakers include practitioners as well as academics, and the events always draw visitors from cultural organizations around the city as well as students from several different academic divisions. (Students don’t have to be in the MAPH option to attend the workshops.) See a list of past workshops, and some videos, here.
In addition to its events and curriculum, the CPC conducts its own research, and the biggest research project in its history was released this summer. Set in Stone is a study of a major building boom of museums, performing arts centers, and theaters in the United States from 1994 to 2008. Among the discoveries:
Cities in the South had the greatest increase in cultural buildings. The region had lagged behind the rest of the country prior to the building boom — the Northeast and West had twice the number of cultural facilities per capita in 1990 than did the South.
More than 80 percent of the projects studied ran over budget, some by as much as 200 percent.
Smaller cities with fewer than 500,000 people were building as well, and many of these cities were building for the first time.
More performing arts centers were built than any other kind of arts facility.
There is substantial evidence that there was overinvestment during the building boom—especially when coupled with the number of organizations that experienced financial difficulties post-building.