Summer Courses

Writing for Research: Constructing Problems

This course is taught by Kathryn Cochran, Associate Director of Writing Programs at the University of Chicago. Ms. Cochran brings to this course her experience in teaching professional and academic writing at the University of Chicago and to professionals in a wide variety of fields. Students meet twice a week, once in lecture (Thursdays), and once in a writing seminar (Tuesdays) led by a member of the Chicago Writing Program staff.

In the course, students analyze and write in the several modes important for moving from research to a working proposal: among them, summary, annotation, analysis, and the construction of a problem which can be addressed by the proposed research. They submit writing on a weekly basis. The writing assignments are intended to help students assemble their research proposals or essays. Workshop groups are small and are limited to 6-8 students. By the end of the 8th week of this program, students will have presented their research in a research symposium. By the end of the 9th week of the SRTP, students submit the completed abstract, critical annotated bibliography (minimum of 20 entries) and revised research essays of 15-25 pages. This research essay is meant to serve as a “roadmap” for the research that students will carry out in the next year and as an agenda to guide them in working with their faculty mentors.

Additionally, students meet once a week for a 2-hour Preceptor Group. These groups are led by advanced graduate students. The preceptor group serves to guide and support students in the process of writing their research essays. It offers practical suggestions and also helps students come up with strategies when they get “stuck.” Students complete weekly assignments that correlate with the writing that they are doing for the Writing for Research course. These weekly assignments assist students in drafting sections of their research essay.

Engaged Scholarship: Foundations for Critical and Social Theory and Practice

In honor of the legacy of Benjamin Mays, we focus this course as one that examines the question of what it might mean to be an “engaged scholar.” The goal of this course is to consider the ways academics can contribute to the development of an emancipatory politics through the production of socially and intellectually important scholarship. This task is urgently needed at present when, in general, academics and activists lack an adequate and coherent political vocabulary. In order to accomplish this task, we will survey writings by critical thinkers and consider the object and method of their critique as a means for developing our own. Where appropriate, we review the connection of these works to their historical context, and consider their value in creating progressive social theory and practice.

Involving both lecture and directed discussion, this course is taught by a faculty member, post-doctoral fellow or advanced graduate student whose research interrogates concepts of ‘culture,’ ‘society’, ‘gender,’ ‘race,’ and ‘ethnicity’. Readings include examinations of peoples and countries from around the world. Regardless of a student’s research interests, this course is an endeavor that asks students to think epistemologically and to examine the ways in which our own experiences (historical, social, cultural, class-located, gendered, and racialized) inform critical inquiry and may influence how we pose scholarly questions.