Category Archives: Thesis


Spring Break Write-In

Planning on writing during Spring Break? Looking for something to keep you motivated?

Regardless of whether you have a thesis, seminar paper, or other project to work on, Spring Break can a good moment to catch up, even while you’re taking a deep breath. At the same time, it can feel Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 9.45.46 AMdifficult to get motivated and isolating to work–especially when it seems like no one is on campus, and there’s no class to attend. From March 21-25, join master’s students from across programs for three hours (9AM-1PM in Classics 110) of intensive writing each day.

UChicagoGRAD will provide coffee and breakfast on Day One, and lunch every day. Lunch is from 12-1. You’re free to keep writing after, until 1:45. Put your money where your mouth is: put down a deposit of $50. If you attend every day throughout the week, you get your money back, no questions asked! Space is limited as this is annually a popular event. Bring your Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 9.46.02 AMdeposit to Levi Hall 224. Questions? Contact Kalee Ludeks ( To register, follow this link!

This much-loved event is not to be missed!

If you have any questions about this event or maintaining winter-quarter momentum over Spring Break, do come see the mentors.

All the best,

The Mentors

Works In Progress Conference 2016

Last Friday, eight MAPH students presented their ongoing thesis research at our annual Works in Progress Conference. Working on topics ranging from Art History to Linguistics and Music Philosophy to Cultural Studies, each of our presenters shared fascinating, nuanced projects that are well on their way to becoming impressive MA theses in the spring. You can find summaries of the conference papers and photos from the event below.

Kate Schlachter

Kate Schlachter

Kate Schlachter‘s project focuses on a tapestry and performance piece by artist Indira Allegra entitled “Saint Davis of Savannah”, and explores how we can use the concept of witnessing as a framework for considering the elastic relationship between presence and event in trauma.

Nick Rekenthaler is currently working on a creative thesis project which takes the form of a fiction novella. The analytic component to Nick’s thesis draws on the philosopher Ian Hacking’s concept of ‘making up people’, a process of creating new categories of being through assigning a specific label to a person.

Nick Rekenthaler

Nick Rekenthaler

Sam Grayck‘s  thesis is a comparative endeavor to break down the relationship between two major First World War literary texts, Undertones of War, by Edmund Blunden, and Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel. Sam argues that each ostensible “memoir” is actually a highly crafted creative work, comprised of three dominant layers: real events, artistic rendering, and collective memory.

Nic Holt focuses in his project on the video artist Juan Downey’s 1973 performance installation Plato Now, which is loosely based on Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” Nic examines the ways in which Downey simulates and diverges from this source material in an attempt to provide a re-conceptualization of the Platonic Idealism the allegory was originally devised to illustrate.


Panel 1 Q&A Session, L-R: Moderator Matt Hauske, Kate Schlachter, Nick Rekenthaler, Sam Grayck, Nic Holt

Julia Gantman

Julia Gantman

Julia Gantman‘s thesis project explores images of sight and vision in Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Julia considers how these images relate to language drawn from Joseph Priestley’s eighteenth-century accounts of optics and light in Vision, Light, and Colours.

Trevor McCulloch’s project looks at the visual construction and architectural spaces of two films directed by Nicholas Ray: Rebel Without a Cause and Bigger than Life. Trevor focuses on the domestic spaces represented within the two films in order to uncover how their unique visual approaches to architecture constitute and reflect the anxieties concerning gender identity in 1950s America.

Trevor McCulloch

Trevor McCulloch

Sarah Welch‘s project is an examination of a merge between gerunds and participles in the syntax-semantics subfields of linguistics. Whilst linguists agree that the two word types appear to be merging, Sarah argues that the two have certain fundamental differences.

Jake Mecham is working on a project in Music Philosophy. Jake claims that the problem of music’s capacity is what of music remains after layers of symbolism have been stripped. As part of his project, Jake dissects semantically over-determined musical examples to show how our musical outlook changes as we grow from infancy to adulthood, and, more importantly, how it stays the same.

Panel 2 Q&A Session, L-R: Julia Gantman, Trevor McCulloch, Sarah Welch, Jake Mecham

Panel 2 Q&A Session, L-R: Julia Gantman, Trevor McCulloch, Sarah Welch, Jake Mecham

Thank you to Kate, Nick, Sam, Nic, Julia, Trevor, Sarah and Jake, and to Matt, our moderator. Moreover, thanks so much to all of those MAPH students, preceptors and faculty who came out to support our presenters.


Anywhere but the Reg: Alternate Study Spots around Campus

Welcome back, MAPH! As winter quarter begins, we’d like to cue you into some of our favorite and not too well known study spots in and around campus.

On Campus:

The Smart Museum Café (M-Fr 8am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun 11am-4:30pm)tumblr_inline_nrla95jV8t1ql85ks_540

Stuart Café (M-Fr 8am – 3pm)

Harris School Cafe (M-Fr 8am – 5pm)

Booth Café (M-Fr 7am-8pm; Sat 7am-3pm)

Logan Café ( M–Fr, 8 am–8 pm; Sat–Sun, 12pm–8pm)

Crerar Library (Sun-Th 8am-1am; Fr-Sat 8am-10pm)

Study Room on the first floor of the Center for the study of Gender and Sexuality (M-F 9am-5pm)

Library at the Oriental Institute (Hours: Closed M; T, Th-Sun 10am-5pm; W 10am-8pm)

Law Library Cafe, if you can get in (M-Th 8am – 5pm; Fr 8am – 3:30pm)

Hallowed Grounds (M-Th 8:30am-11:30pm; Fri 8:30am-9:00pm; Sat 11:30am-9:00pm; Sun 11:30am-11:30pm)

Bartlett Commons (M-Th 7am – 8:30pm; Fr 7am – 7:30pm; Sat 8am – 2:30pm; Su 8am – 8:30pm)

Stony Island Arts Bank (T-Sat 11am-6pm)

Close to Campus:

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Making Winter Break Work

Dear MAPH,

Winter break can be the perfect time to unwind, reflect on the past quarter and have a bit of a breather before the new year starts. Winter break is also the ideal time to start preliminary research on your thesis. As veterans of the thesis process, we mentors have a few thoughts about thesis work and winter break:

  • Take advantage of this time and remember that your thesis is in the preliminary research stage. You shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you should be crafting an argument now; rather, take this time to follow various argumentative threads and learn about your object, field, critical conversation or intended methodology. Having the time and space away from campus can allow you to do thesis work on your own time and without the pressures of classes and other projects too.
  • Ask yourself “What do I want out of the project?” Asked early, this question can solidify the real-world scope of your project. That is, your true-to-self aim in writing a thesis. Do you want to play with the idea of Aristotle or explore the role of arts in economic and community development? Do you want to write a thesis that has both creative and critical components or would you like to ground your project in a discipline-specific topic? The answers to these questions may not be obvious, but taking the time to ask yourself truthfully what it is that you want out of this project can help bring your possible abstract ideas and thoughts about the thesis into more concrete and manageable terms. Remember the project scope too: 25-35 pages. You may come up with approximately 15 different project ideas, but remind yourself of what’s possible.

Library Patron - Reading Room (apf2-05486r)

  • Read Judiciously. You won’t be able to read everything; don’t read all of EVERYTHING. Be smart about what you choose to read. If you find early on that a specific article is not invested in the same idiosyncrasies or particular line of investigation that you are, don’t be afraid to put it down! Do write down why that particular article or book didn’t work. Jot down a few sentence that explain why you didn’t like this source or why it didn’t jive with your analysis. Also, keep a list of the articles your read!
  • Just read. Getting started can be painful, but know that the time and energy invested now will pay off later in winter quarter. Trust us.

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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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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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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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