What’s a Writing Advisor?

If Gertrude Stein had been a MAPHer, she would have gone to see Jeff. I’m not even kidding about this.

Here’s a guest post from the Authoritative Jeff McMahon. We’ll post his lecture later this week. For now, he asks you all to consider stopping by throughout the year. No one who has gone through MAPH during Jeff’s tenure can gainsay his voodoo-like abilities. Check out his course this Autumn, Journalism: Arts Reviews.

1. How do I make an appointment? During Colloquium, you can just send me an email and we’ll find a time to meet. Once the Core Course begins, we’ll use this online signup sheet

2. Why does MAPH have a writing advisor? Professional academics engage each other’s work primarily in writing, and writing is the primary means through which your work will be evaluated at the University of Chicago. Graduate-level writing must meet some demands that may not be required of undergraduate or non-academic professional writing. So MAPH has a writing advisor to help you adapt to the particular forms of writing valued in the Humanities Division.

(What to ask, after the jump…)

3. What kind of advice do you offer? I will offer you advice about writing itself — the structure of sentences, paragraphs, sections, arguments — but I usually will not offer you advice about content. Your preceptor and professors will advise you about content. I’ll help you with how you express rather than with what you express.

I can also offer some advice you about journalism, creative writing, research, reading academic texts, grammar, english as a second language, writing education, and faculty expertise (I don’t know them all, but over the years I’ve gathered a little information about who does what around here).

4. Do you read drafts? No. I cannot vet a draft before you turn it in. However, we can look together at parts of a draft in response to specific trouble you’re having. You just have to identify the specific trouble. I can often help you more effectively with papers that have already been graded. I can help you interpret your professors’ comments and develop strategies for responding to them.

5. Should I submit a paper ahead of time? It’s not necessary, and it may be inconvenient. You can bring a paper to an appointment and we can look at it together. If you do submit a paper ahead of time, you will have to drop off a hard copy in the MAPH office several days in advance of your appointment.

6. Where is your office? Classics 112, across the hall from Classics 110 (the big room where social hours take place). See you there…

2 thoughts on “What’s a Writing Advisor?

  1. yeah_i_said_it

    If Gertrude Stein were a MAPHer, she would have written a fake autobiography about another person, in which she gives herself complete credit for any creative endeavor that happened in Chicago during her stay.

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