Category Archives: Academics

Welcome, MAPH class of 2016!

Hi new MAPHers,

Welcome to the MAPHtastic blog, your source of information about all things MAPH! We are your three program Mentors, Michael, Jess, and Clancey, and we will be updating this blog throughout the year with event information, advice on making the most of your year at UChicago, suggestions for things to do around the city, and occasional fun links. We will also be posting periodically on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

All three of us graduated from the program back in June, and are really looking forward to working in the MAPH office this year as a resource for all of you. We are here to help you navigate the exciting, hectic year you are about to embark upon, plan fun social events and offer advice on anything and everything from choosing electives to choosing lunch. Feel free to stop by and say hi whenever you get to Chicago! We will be here through the summer in the Classics Building 117, and you can email us at,, or

We can’t wait to meet all of you, and in the meantime here’s a little about us.

Where are you from?
Clancey: Born and bred in the Midwest. Originally from East Lansing, MI.
Michael: I grew up on a farm in Bristol, TN and lived for several years in Athens, Georgia.
County Durham, in the north-east of England, UK.

 What’s your favorite Hyde Park breakfast spot?
Z&H! Try the Fleegle on a croissant (nutella and banana) and an almond milk latte.  It’s a decent place to study if you don’t mind a little noise, and the staff are super friendly!
Clancey: My kitchen: espresso with sugar and an egg bagel sandwich with scrambled eggs, avocado, tomato, cucumber, (very) sharp cheddar cheese and red pepper jelly.
Omelets and coffee at Salonica on Blackstone and 57th, every time.

What are you currently reading?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and I just finished rereading Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.
Jess: Dreiser’s Sister Carrie for the MAPH summer reading group, and also whatever I find in the free books section outside Powell’s.
Michael: Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and Intention by G.E.M. Anscombe.

What did you do before MAPH?
Jess: I lived in Hong Kong for a year and a half between undergrad and joining MAPH where I worked as an English teacher, before taking the trans-Siberian railway and a lot of different megabuses home.
Clancey: In the summer in between MAPH and undergrad, I traveled abroad and worked as a barista.

Ask me about…
Thrift stores and $1 milkshake Wednesdays.
Clancey: Tupperware and bad puns.
Michael: Classical music and opera in Chicago.

What’s your favorite bookstore?
In Hyde Park, definitely Powell’s. I’m also a big fan of Myopic Books in Wicker Park, and, a bit further afield, Brick lane Bookshop in Shoreditch, London.

What are you doing this summer?

Your program mentors.

Your program mentors.

Michael: Hanging out at the Lake, starting way too many books and finishing far too few, going on excursions to other neighborhoods, running, practicing Ravel’s Tzigane on the violin, and making many pots of New England Coffee in the MAPH office.
Running, cycling, exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and going to free events in Millennium Park, with occasional road trips around the Midwest.
Clancey: Reading, traveling around the Midwest, cooking lots of summer squash and trying to convince preceptor Matt Hauske to go bowling.

What was your most recent museum trip?
Art Institute of Chicago.  Definitely one of my favorite (if not my #1 fave) museums in Chicago!  Students get in free with a student ID.  The current exhibit “Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997-2014” (open through October 4th) is absolutely amazing and warrants a visit in itself.  Since the Art Institute is right next to Millennium Park (where the Bean is!) and a short walk from Grant Park and the river, it makes for a great first outing in Chicago.

What do you wish you’d known last September?
There’s no reason to be so nervous. I entered MAPH with high levels of anxiety and nervous energy, much of which remained with me long into winter quarter. I spent a good deal of time worrying and less time enjoying the things that make me happy.
Jess: Trader Joe’s exists.

Lastly, do you have any Chicago winter survival tips?
Jess: Layers, hats and coffee from the MAPH office are all pretty much essentials.
Michael: Take some time to exercise!  Winter can keep you cooped up, inactive and listless.  Visit the Ratner or do some yoga at home.  Also, to make up for the lack of sunlight consider getting a UV lamp or just eating plenty of vitamin-D rich foods like salmon, mushrooms, and eggs.
Clancey: Winter is beautiful. Enjoy the snow and, whenever possible, walk everywhere.

Finishing the Thesis: Do’s and Don’t’s

keep-calm-and-thesis-on-1Eighth Week is upon us, which means theses are due very soon. As you approach the Friday deadline, here are a few tips to keep you on track during one of the most hectic times of the MAPH year. Also, be sure to come by the office to let us know how things are shaping up!


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Convocation Information

DSC_8917_3 Although I realize graduation is months away and you have much to do before then, questions about Convocation weekend are starting to trickle in. Thus, we have a post for you with all of the relevant information collected here for your convenience.

June 5th: Note that grades are due to the Registrar’s Office by June 5th. This means that you need to have submitted your final papers or else arranged with the professor to take a Convocation grade. The Convocation grade is a stand-in grade (usually a B or B-) that will be changed in the summer, after the professor can review and assess your final paper. (I, for one, finished one final before the 5th and then took a Convocation grade for my other course, giving me an extra week to finish it.)

Around this date (early June) is a good time to pop over to the UChicago Bookstore and buy your cap and gown! You do indeed have to purchase the gown, I believe it is about 52 dollars.

June 12th: Maph Friends and Family Reception

The reception will take place in Classics 110, from 3:00-5:00pm on Friday the 12th. This is a great chance to introduce your friends and family to the lounge, Maph friends, the Maph staff, and most importantly your mentors.  Of course, you can come without bringing any guests. Come get delicious food and meet adults that look vaguely familiar. We hope you can all attend!

June 13th: Convocations 1 and 2

University of Chicago holds multiple convocations (which many universities do, but was news to me last year).

University-wide convocation starts at 9:15 am and is held on the main quad. This ceremony is for the whole university. Tickets are not required.

Maph hosts a lunch for you and your friends and family, in Bartlett Commons which will begin at 11:30 am. (No tickets or RSVP needed) From the lunch, you guys will go directly to the Reynolds Club (graduation takes place in Mandel Hall) and wait in line while everyone gets alphabetized. The Maph staff will shortly thereafter direct your guests over to the building.mandel

The Humanities Division Convocation will begin at 1:45 in Mandel Hall. The ceremony usually lasts about an hour. Once again, no tickets are needed for guests to attend the ceremony.

After the Convocation ceremony, there is a post-ceremony toast (with champagne!) out on Bartlett Quadrangle starting 2:45-3:00 pm.


After that, I hope you will all celebrate!!!


Always feel free to email us with questions. We’ll also be putting out more posts about transportation, things to do, recommended places to take your family to dinner, etc. But here at least are the date and an outline of what the weekend looks like.

For questions about graduation requirements and deadlines (for instance, questions about restrictions or incompletes), consult Maren Robinson and/or your preceptor.

The university’s official website for Convocation can be found here and the link for the Humanities Division in particular, here.

Campus Days: Schedule of Events

Campus Days Schedule

April 12-13, 2015

Sunday, April 12th

1:00 pm Paul Durica, former Preceptor and owner of Pocket Guide to Hell will lead a tour of the secret history of UChicago (optional). Meet in front of the Reynolds Club.

3:00 pm Welcome from the Directors (Logan Center for the Arts, 2nd Floor Screening Room)

3:13 pm Readings from Colloquium (Logan Center for the Arts, 2nd Floor Screening Room)

4:00 pm Alumni Panel (Logan Center for the Arts, 2nd Floor Screening Room)

1335562301-logancenter5:00 pm Current Students Panel (Logan Center for the Arts, 2nd Floor Screening Room)

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Works in Progress Conference 2015


Jason Nebergall presents his research on Ernie Kovacs’ “The Silent Show”.

On February 27th, eight current MAPH students presented their thesis research at our annual Works in Progress Conference. With topics ranging from philosophy to English to linguistic to cultural studies, the presenters shared fascinating projects that are well on their way to becoming impressive MA theses. Click below the jump to read summaries of the conference papers and see photos from the event!


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10 Books to Read Before Grad School

MAPH is an intense year, and reading time quickly becomes a scarce keep-calm-and-love-reading-64resource—so we here at MAPHtastic polled some of our current students, staff, and alums to see what books they wish they had read before doing the program. See below the jump to see what might be a good beach book for the summer before, or what theory people wish they had read before the MAPH Core class in fall!

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Stress Relief…. or Treat Yo Self

This is a very busy, stressful time of year. I remember Week 8 last year as a haze of frantic typing, coffee spills, and semi-permanent relocation to the Regenstein. I wish, however, that I had set aside more time to take care of myself. I would have had a better time during finals and also spring break.

capybara-citrus-11Some of the office’s favorite stress reliefs:

  • Sarah recommends baths. For the right person, this is a relaxing activity, made even more relaxing with the right bath salts (here are Sarah’s favorite).

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Tempus Fugit: The Fine Art of Time Management


Lo! Behold the bleak, surrealist landscape of Winter Quarter.

Come winter in MAPH, most students find that they have much less structured time than they did in fall. Without Core twice a week and the set precept/social hour schedule on Fridays, the average MAPHer’s week looks very different from the fall.Winter inevitably means lots of unstructured time and lots to accomplish in ten weeks—which makes time management one of the biggest challenges this quarter.

For instance, I know a lot of you only have Tuesday/Thursday classes this quater—how do you make sure you’re structuring M/W/F (and the weekend) to stay on track and keep making progress with your thesis, course readings, and job hunts? Keep reading for some tips on managing your time and staying productive through the long winter months!

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Advocating for some Advice on Advisors

Winter quarter contains a lot of uncertainty.

Who do I want to be my advisor? How do I ask him or her? What is my thesis object (some of you may not know yet- hang in there!)?

What will I eat on Fridays, now that social hour is only once every few weeks?


I have so many questions!

How can I do reading for class as well as for my thesis? There are only 24 hours in a day, and I need 8 of them for sleeping!

And then there is the question on so many of our minds- What will the last season of Parks & Recreation be like? What happened in that three-year time jump? So many questions!

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