Author Archives: ajaronstein

Mentor Weekly Update: Week -1

Putin, horse.

Mentor Office Hours by appointment this Friday 9-5. Email us to schedule! Be sure to register for classes.

I) Highlighted MAPH Events you need to know about:

  • Graduate Orientation (Tuesday, various times/locations: check syllabus)
    • A full day of festivities kicks off at 8:30-10:00 with FREE HUMANITIES DIVISION BREAKFAST on CLASSICS QUAD
    • All of the events will be really nice welcome to the University and an opportunity to meet students from different programs
    • Also an chance to get ALL of the logistical information you will need about a range of topics–from Student Health to Transportation. There will also, apparently, be circus acts.
    • Free food throughout the day and drinks at a reception in Ida Noyes the afternoon
  • Smart Museum Tour (Wednesday)
    • We’ll meet at MAPHCentral at 10:15 or at 10:30 in the Smart Museum Lobby
    • Smart Museum staff will give us a “highlights of the collection” tour. It’s a fantastic museum right in our front yard (and currently employs three MAPH alums)
  • FIRST SOCIAL COMMITTEE MEETING (Friday, 4:00 PM Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap)
    • The first Social Committee meeting will be at 4:00 PM at Jimmy’s on Friday
    • Plan the entire quarter’s worth of social events paid for by the Humanities Division Graduate Student Council (HDGSC….don’t ask us to repeat that acronym ever again)

II) Miscellaneous stuff you should know about

III) The Saddest thing About the End of Summer is: No More Fishing

As always, email us ( with any questions or requests that you have. We’re always happy to schedule appointments at MAPHCentral as well if you’d like to talk one-on-one.

Crush it,


Career Core

Click on the image to see details about Career Core











In case you missed the “Planning Your Year” event last Friday, here’s what’s happening in Career Core and Service Core this year. You should be attending all of the Foundation Events; at least one of the Lunch Sessions; and as many of the Professional Seminars as you think are applicable to your chosen skills area as possible. Remember that thinking about your career should be fitting into your academic work. It’s not too early to begin thinking about what comes after MAPH.

Be sure to take advantage of CAPS walk-in hours. You can also schedule an appointment with me to talk about job or graduate school application materials, alumni connections, jobs in Chicago, or general stuff about your life after graduation.

Friday Events

Here’s a friendly reminder from your THREE FAITHFUL MENTORS to come to our brunch tomorrow at 10:30 AM in Classics 110 (just by MAPHCentral). We’ll be talking about academics, advising, thesis, social life, Chicago, alumni, jobs, PhD programs, classes, staff, weather, health, mental well-being, bars, beer, Bears, baseball. We’ll give out a free gift and most importantly:


After that, we’ll go over to Social Sciences 122 for “Planning Your Year.” The primary topic of discussion will be “Bringing the Humanities into the World, also commonly known as: “What comes after MAPH?” Together, these two events will help you plot the course of your academic, professional, and personal life over the coures of the next nine months and beyond.

Questions? Just ask. You know where to reach us (;;

The Enlightened Beginner: Precept Group

The start of your first precept group meeting can be one of those moments in which the worry-centers of your brain start firing on all cylinders. It can be intimidating to walk into a room full of extraordinarily bright individuals, many of whom will seem to have a complete picture of how their entire year will go. They may talk about the number of thesis pages they’ve already written, the number of emails they’ve sent to potential advisors they’re “excited to work with,” and that they spent the summer (re)reading Thousand Plateaus (twice).

All of these things happened in my first precept meeting. BUT FEAR NOT!

Here’s the deal with the French girl. As David suggested the other day in lecture, you should cultivate the perspective of the Enlightened Beginner–someone who’s pretty jazzed about new ideas and imaginings (and not satisfied with accepted/staid/established ideas). It’s the best way to approach new material–even stuff that you thought had nothing to do with your area of interest–with a degree of curiosity that you can carry over into your research.

Five more things you need to know about how Precept will work, after the jump.  Continue reading

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…) Continue reading

Art. Institutions. Discuss.

Here’s a guest post from indispensible preceptor Anna Lee, who will be your virtual guide to the Art Institute and art institutions in Chicago in general. We’ll be visiting the Art Institute as a MAPH horde on Thursday evening (meet at MAPHCentral at 4:15 PM or at the Modern Wing entrance at 5:00 PM). Anna’s intro gives you a great overview of some of the museum’s highlights–and of other places you’ll want to check out around town.

Although the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection is strong in various areas, the Impressionist holdings tend to be particularly popular. In the last few years, the newly-opened Modern Wing has also been a major draw. But since you’ll have the entire year to explore the museum, here are a few of the most “famous” members of the collection to start you off. It’s great to view these in person, no matter how many reproductions you’ve already seen, and it’s nice to know where they are when relatives visit. The links below will take you to each work’s official AIC description, which includes an image as well as its location in the museum:

GEORGES SEURAT, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte:

Seurat, "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte." Just like Promontory Point, n'est ce pas?

More Art to dazzle your senses after the jump Continue reading

Mentor Weekly Update: Week -2

Doc. On tap this week.

Vacation’s over comrades. Pick a pump up song and get to lecture today at 1:00 PM in Social Sciences 122. It’s game time. You’ll get a Mentor Weekly Update every week. It will also be posted right here on MAPHtastic. Also, keep an eye open for an email from Ben and Whitney about Social Committee, a group dedicated to planning events and spending MAPH’s money throughout the year.

The Colloquium Syllabus will be handed out in lecture. We want to ever-so-gently remind you that the lecture and Jeff’s talk are mandatory. Lecture and Precept group are obviously required throughout the week as well. We’ll post info about precept group locations this week. Let us know if you have any questions about the readings, about your preceptor, about how Rex Grossman destroyed the Giants yesterday, or about anything else that’s keeping you up at night crying softly. (Important info about all things MAPH this week after the jump) Continue reading

Groceries in Hyde Park

Comestibles: an area of deep interest in 16th Century Flanders, and 21st Century Hyde Park

Chicago’s notorious Food Deserts have finally become a matter of some actual political attention. Mayor Rahm has promised to at least address this issue during his term. By comparison, the problem in Hyde Park can seem initially trivial (“Which expensive grocery store should I go to??”). To my mind, it actually exposes a related and under-addressed problem: the inflation of food prices in neighborhoods of low-to-middle income individuals (like, say, a large population of students on loans) by chain grocery stores. Anyway, this is to say: this is not just an everyday issue, but raises more concerns about the availability of affordable food in urban economies in general.

But whatever, my two cents about Hyde Park groceries are after the jump Continue reading

Chicago Jazz Festival: Yes, it’s Free

Rock out with your oboe out.

Boy oh boy am I taking a lot of crap at MAPHCentral for my post on fancyboy restaurants. LIKE I’M THE ONLY JOE SCHMO IN THE WORLD WHO LIKES PORK SHOULDER OR TAKES THE METRA TO HYDE PARK.



But please, allow me to redeem myself, because this weekend, while you’re wearing white pants for the last time till next May (what? Is THAT just me too??), you can attend the granddaddy of all FREE Chicago events, the Chicago Jazz Festival. Continue reading