Category Archives: from MAPHers

Updates, info, and wisdom from current MAPH students.

How to Do MAPH on a Budget: Part 2

MAPHletes! You are sprinting towards mid-quarter and keeping up a great pace! You’re starting to feel a bit of chill in the air, and it can be easy to just hole up in the Regenstein and study. (Note: studying is good and generally encouraged.) But while it’s still livable outside you might also want to explore more of Hyde Park and clear your mind. What better way to do so than with free stuff? To point you in that direction, here’s the second installment of Morgan Podraza’s “How to Do MAPH on a Budget.”  Enjoy!

10 Free Things to Do in Hyde Park:

blogpicAIf you live in Hyde Park, it’s going to be difficult to get out of Hyde Park during MAPH. For me, I was always thinking things like: “but that hour that I spend traveling back-and-forth could be spent in an attempt to understand what Lauren Berlant means by a slow death.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of great things to do in HP between paragraphs of LB.

The Smart Museum of Art (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.)

This museum is located on campus and collaborates with scholars to “establish itself as a driving force for creative thinking through the arts at the University of Chicago.” The exhibits include Asian art, contemporary art, something referred to as “old master” European art, and modern art/ design.

The Oriental Institute (1155 E. 58th Street)


This museum is located on campus between the Quad and the Booth school. Not only does the Oriental Institute have amazing artifacts of the ancient Near East, including a statue of King Tut, but the museum also offers free programs and events throughout the year. An orientation week event, for example, is “Bulls and Buns:” get some of Anne Sather’s famous cinnamon rolls while you check out collections from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel!

Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive)

The Museum of Science and Industry is a great building with an interesting history, but it is also HUGE. The bottom level has an entire WWII German U-505 submarine. While the museum can be expensive to visit most days, there are a bunch of FREE DAYS. Just bring your student ID, and you can spend the entire day learning about everything from robots to humpback whales.

Promontory Point


Promontory Point (known also as The Point) has an incredible view of the city and is a lovely place to lay in the sun, or under the trees, and relax. The Point also has a few fire pits, which are the perfect places to eat s’mores and enjoy the company of other MAPHers, but you will need to either get there early to reserve a pit or potentially hang out with some other Pointers.


57th Street Beach (57th street and Lake Shore Drive)

As a New Mexican, I was so excited to live next to an actual body of water with an actual beach. 57th Street Beach is a lovely beach and a short walk from Promontory Point. Bring something cold to drink and a book to read (perhaps Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1) for a warm day in the sand.  (Editor’s note: our warm days might be behind us… But the Point and beach are looking beautiful in their autumnal dressings!)

Osaka Japanese Garden (6401 S. Stony Island Ave.)

blogpic3The Osaka Japanese Garden is a zen-like refuge from the fast-pace of Chicago and MAPH. While the Garden closed for renovations this past spring, I believe that it should be re-opened this upcoming spring.



The Arts Incubator (301 E. Garfield Blvd.)

The Arts Incubator fosters the relationship between public life and art through arts education, community events, exhibitions, performances, and talks. One of the weekly events that I enjoyed was Committed Knitters, where you can bring your coffee and current knitting project to meet other knitters and learn new techniques!

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 East 60th Street)

blogpic4The Logan Center is that crazy grey, glass building that stands across the Midway—my favorite building on campus. There is always something free to enjoy in the Logan Center: the Cabaret Series happens every other week and includes everything from string quartets to slam poets; every Sunday you can listen to music from the Sunday Song Styles performances in the café; and there are always exhibitions of contemporary art throughout the building.

The Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.)

The Experimental Station is located south of the Midway and hosts a variety of artistic and cultural events, including music, theater, art exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. It is also the home of the 61st Street Farmers Market, which happens every Saturday from 9AM-2PM throughout the year (even in the winter!).

University of Chicago Events

blogpicTake advantage of all of the amazing, free events that the University of Chicago offers students! There are so many events to enjoy on campus: the student circus, yoga classes, tea & pipes at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, lectures by world-renowned faculty, the Blessing of the Animals, Pet Love (the University brings therapy dogs onto campus, and you just pet them!), and more. To keep track of all the events and happenings, download the University of Chicago app.

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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2013-2014 Arts|Science Graduate Collaboration Grants Presentation – Wednesday!

artssciencesAt 4:00 pm this Wednesday, 5/14, recipients of the 2013-2014 Arts|Science Initiative‘s Graduate Collaboration Grants will present their work on the Logan Center’s Performance Hall stage. Along with graduate students from Music, Physics, Psychology, Visual Art, and Neuroscience, Bill Hutchison, a MAPH alum and current doctoral candidate in English, will be presenting his project “Fiction Addiction” with Anya Bershad (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience). Read on for more details! Continue reading

Greetings From Los Angeles (Sweets, Solidarity, and Wisdom from Robyn Johnson, ’13)

photo (4)MAPHCentral received a sweet surprise in the form of homemade chocolate walnut cookies (yes, time to go to the office and grab some and finish reading this later) from Robyn Johnson, MAPH ’13.

photo (3) She also included this sweet, knowing note (emphasis by the office): Continue reading

To Prospective Students: Advice That I Got and Didn’t Listen to & Advice I Didn’t Get But Wish I Would Have Before Starting MAPH (I Probably Wouldn’t Have Listened to That Advice Either)

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Bill Hutchison, MAPH ’12, who is a now a PhD candidate in English at the University of Chicago. Bill will be one of our alumni panelists at Campus Days this year.

Hello, potential MAPH students! I’m an alumnus of the program from 2012-2013, and worked in the program as a mentor the following year. Now I’m a first-year PhD student in the English department at University of Chicago. I want to get one thing out on the table between us before you read this, Potential MAPH Student. I want you to know where I’m coming from. I’m a big, big fan of the program. I’m neither apologist nor evangelist, but definitely a true proponent. If you want skepticism, seek elsewhere. Do MAPH right and it will change your life, or so say

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AWP 2014 Series: Emily Nordling on Genre Wars: SFF at AWP

Emily Nordling, current MAPHer and spec fic writer, wrote the following post for (for full post, click on the link below):


Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin and Molly Gloss were two of the keynote speakers at last week’s conference for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. I’d never been to the conference before, but I couldn’t help but be surprised; there is a fairly common—and justified—defensiveness among SFF readers and writers when it comes to the mainstream literary world, whether due to its cooption of writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Angela Carter, or to its perpetuation of the high art/low art divide.  Continue reading

AWP 2014 Series: Hao Guang Tse on Translation Behind the Scenes

Translation, poetry, presses, Singapore, publishing… Read on for Hao’s hour-by-hour (more or less) account of one whirlwind afternoon and evening behind the scenes at AWP.


It is the second day of conference. I meet fellow Singaporean, friend and mentor Alvin Pang. It is always nice to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. He is with Drunken Boat editor Ravi Shankar and other members of his staff. I listen in on their plans to make Singapore literature take over the world. Ravi wants to feature a folio of Singapore poetry on Drunken Boat, and Erica Mena pitches a multi-journal collaboration to bring world poetry to the forefront of the literary-journal consciousness. The excitement is palpable. Continue reading