Author Archives: wsperrazza

MAPH Internships: The Odyssey Project

2010 Odyssey Project Graduates

A core program of the Illinois Humanities Council, The Odyssey Project provides college-level instruction in the humanities through seminars led by professors at top-tier colleges and universities. Our very own Hilary Strang teaches a course at The Odyssey Project’s North Side campus.  The Odyssey Project offers free courses in philosophy, literature, art history, and history for men and women living below poverty level.  Students receive six units of transferable college credit. The Odyssey Project offers a first-year course, a Bridge Course for graduates of the first-year course, and a Spanish language course.

The Odyssey Project is accredited by Bard College as the Clemente Course in the Humanities—there are iterations of this course all across the country—in which students do a year of credited coursework in the humanities. The program exemplifies the impact that access to an education in the humanities can have in the lives of the so-called underserved. By bringing powerful resources from which its students would otherwise be excluded, the program embodies the commitment to education knowledge as instruments of social change that the academy often theorizes but cannot always put into practice.

The Odyssey Project is run by a truly outstanding woman, Amy Thomas Elder, whose story you should all read. It’s amazing what she has done and continues to do.



(“A Day in the Life of an IHC Intern” after the jump)

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MAPH Internships: Browne & Miller

Founded in 1971 by the late Jane Jordan Browne, Browne & Miller Literary Associates is Chicago’s only full-service, independent literary agency. They currently represent authors writing in most genres of commercial adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select young adult projects. As a hands-on, editorially-focused agency, they work closely with their clients in developing manuscripts and proposals for submission and sale. They also maintain an active subsidiary rights business and regularly license audio, film/television, and foreign translation rights to the works they represent.

Currently, they are most interested in representing commercial women’s fiction, especially elegantly crafted, sweeping historicals, edgy, fresh teen lit, and CBA women’s fiction by established authors. According to their website, they are also very keen on literary historical mysteries and literary YA novels. Topical, timely non-fiction projects in a variety of subject areas are also of interest especially prescriptive how-to, self-help, sports, humor, and pop culture.

Fine Arts BuildingAs an intern with Browne and Miller, you will be afforded the unique opportunity to develop practical skills and acquire tangible experience in trade book publishing within a busy agency setting. Their interns are exposed to all aspects of agency work. Duties range from basic clerical tasks including typing, filing, and packing and shipping to reviewing query letters, reading and evaluating manuscripts and proposals, conducting market research, and more.

They’re located in the historic (and beautiful) Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, right in the heart of the Loop and across from Millennium Park. If they give you an hour for lunch, you could easily hop, skip, or jump across the street to eat by the lake and relax in one of the best people-watching places during Chicago summers.

As if this wasn’t already a fabulous opportunity, past MAPH intern Anna Jarzab published her first novel All Unquiet Things with Joanna McKenzie at Browne and Miller as her agent.  Also, last year’s MAPH intern, Matt Seidel, had the chance to do a really interesting extended research project on e-book publishing and presented his findings for Joanna and Danielle at the end of summer. Don’t miss the chance to get your foot in the door in the Chicago publishing industry!

Making the Most of Campus Days

Prospective 2012-2013 MAPHers:

Welcome to MAPHtastic, the blog for our current MAPHers and, now, you. If you haven’t already read A-J’s much more thorough “Welcome to MAPH” blog post, you should. It’s full of useful information that will help you start thinking about whether or not you want to join us next year.

It’s my purpose here, though, to get you thinking about your upcoming visit. Now that you’re on your way to town, how can you make sure to get the best experience out of your 48-hour preview of the MA Humanities Program? I remember Campus Days being slightly overwhelming, as I had not yet discovered the MAPH Blog and the helpful mentor posts about how to make the weekend as productive as possible. So, if you’re reading this, you’re already one step ahead of the April 2010 me.

(Hopefully helpful advice, after the jump)

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MAPH Internships: The Newberry Library

The Newberry Library

Located near Gold Coast, the Newberry Library is an independent, privately operated research library that focuses on the humanities.  It is free and open to the public.  Founded after the death of Chicago patron Walter Newberry (opened in 1887), the library has a large variety of special collections materials that focus on European and American letters and history.  According to its mission statement, the Newberry promotes and provides for the effective use of their special collections materials, fostering research, teaching, publication, life-long learning, and civic engagement.

Oh heavens, what a delightful garden for luncheon!

Oh heavens, what a delightful garden for luncheon!

(Read the profile…after the jump)

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Cheap, Easy Recipes for Your Enjoyment

While spring quarter will, ultimately, be your favorite quarter here at UChicago by the time you’re done, right now it probably feels awful. You just turned in your first major thesis draft. You’re starting to feel a lot of pressure to start job searching. And you’re embarking on your last two courses here at UChicago, feeling like you will FINALLY be that rock star student who manages to read everything.

With all of this mounting pressure, we’d like to remind you to: EAT. Some things can get moved to the back burner for the next few weeks (like, perhaps, cleaning out your closet, catching up with your aunt on the phone, and washing your towels). But, alas, eating is not one of those things you can just stop doing. So, in true MAPHcentral fashion, we want to help you out. Here are a few of our favorite quick, easy recipes so that maybe (at least) once a week (please!) you can throw together a home-cooked meal.

(See the recipes…after the jump!)

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MAPH Thesis Write-In

DO NOT let this be your spring break. Unless you plan to write Anna Karenina, you won’t get anything productive done. Which is why you should come to the MAPH Thesis Write-In (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week). We just ordered the snacks today and, rumor has it, they’re phenomenal. Also, there might be some MAPH Mentor cameos at the write-in. But we don’t want to get you too excited.

We’ll leave you with this: if you’re in Chicago during spring break, you can either be at the write-in or at The Point. Those are your only options. When you’re not doing one, do the other.

MAPHCentral Out.

Why Yoga?

MAPH Yoga Night is Wednesday, March 7th. I know that those of you who already practice yoga won’t miss this chance for a FREE yoga class. But, for those of you with some misgivings and hesitations about whether or not it will be worth it, here are some reasons why I love yoga and why it is so beneficial for you (especially during such a busy, soul-sucking time of your life).

Contrary to a recent New York Times article, yoga isn’t actually related at all to tantric sex orgies (sorry for those of you that were expecting that on MAPH yoga night). While, yes, yoga may limber you up a bit for aforementioned activities, the actual benefits have much more to do with your overall well-being and mental health.

If nothing else, one of the best things about practicing yoga is that it allows you to take a moment of quiet just be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. If you take a 45-minute yoga class a few days a week, that adds up to a few hours every week during which you have just allowed yourself to RELAX. It’s a moment to focus on what makes you feel good about being you. Even if you start yoga with feelings of inadequacy or doubts about whether or not you can keep up with the class, you will always finish yoga feeling stronger and much more appreciative of yourself. Even if you don’t feel like you got any of the poses or movements correct, the goal is that you will leave feeling satisfied at having tried it. And, you’ll have taken an hour to meditate on the development and relaxation of your physical and mental being.

(More thoughts, after the jump)

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Spring Quarter Registration…Already?

Just be cool...about spring registration.

Spring quarter course registration can be as anxiety-ridden or as exciting as you want it to be. Bottom line: you’re registering for your LAST quarter as a MAPHer. Yes, it’s sad. But think of all the blood, sweat, and tears that have already gone into this year and be slightly grateful that you’re coming to the home stretch.

But, with all that in mind, what should really be at the forefront of your thoughts is that this is (for most of you) the last time you will get to choose classes to take at the University of Chicago. Therefore, it is more important than ever that you choose wisely and be an active advocate for the remainder of your master’s education. A few tips to keep in mind to make sure that happens:

1. Do NOT take the easy way out this quarter. If you’re thinking that it will be nice to use your last MAPH quarter as a well-deserved break by sitting back on your haunches, then you’re not getting the most out of this year. Instead, think about this last quarter as a chance to push yourself a bit. Take a Ph.D. seminar. Take a class with that crazy hard professor everyone’s always warning you about. Trust us – you’ll be handing in your thesis at the start of 9th week spring quarter. That means you’ll have two FULL weeks to just enjoy the classes you’re taking. You’ll kick yourself if they’re boring.

(More mentor-ly words of wisdom…after the jump)

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