Alumni

Jessica Burstein, AM'90, PhD'98, Publishes Work on Fashion and Modernism

Jessica Burstein, AM'90, PhD'98, published Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion, Art as part of the Refiguring Modernism series. The book proposes a new understanding of modernism: cold modernism, which "operates on the premise that 'there is a world in which the mind does not exist, let alone matter.'" Burstein wrote about the experience of publishing her book in the latest issue of The University of Chicago Magazine.

Jeff McMahon, AM'02, on the Writing of Roger Ebert, X'70

In an article for Forbes.com, Jeff McMahon, AM'02, examines the beloved, accessible, and often rule-breaking writing style of Roger Ebert, X'70. McMahon notes that many tributes to Ebert since his death have somewhat clumsily focused on his love of movies, and neglected the nuance and humility he brought to his reviews. Along with his obvious passion for the films he reviewed, McMahon's article illustrates that Ebert should be remembered both for his honesty and his respect for the audience. "Why was Roger Ebert the greatest movie reviewer?" McMahon asks. "Not because he cared about movies, not because he told us what to think about movies, but because he told us just enough to care and to think for ourselves."

McMahon is an alumnus of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) and currently serves as the program's writing advisor. He also teaches journalism courses for the Committee on Creative Writing.

Jennifer Chiaverini, AM'92, Publishes Historical Novel

Jennifer Chiaverini, AM'92, published Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, a Civil War-era historical novel that details the life of Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who became Mary Todd Lincoln's personal seamstress. In a New York Times article on Keckley, Chiaverini says that the inspiration to write about Keckley's life came from research for earlier Civil War-era books, which often relied on Keckley. According to the article, after reading Keckley's controversial memoir, Chiaverini had the idea to write a novel based on "day-to-day moments between the seamstress and the first lady."

Chiaverini is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series.

More alumni-penned books can be found on the University of Chicago Magazine Goodreads page.

Justine Nagan, AM'04, Honored by New Leaders Council

Justine Nagan, AM'04, a graduate of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), was presented with one of the 2013 40 Under 40 Media Leadership Awards from the New Leaders Council. Nagan is the Executive Director of Kartemquin Films, which produces documentaries focused on social justice such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters. In 2009, she directed Typeface, a documentary that explored The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, WI, and examined artists' responsibility to preserving a dying craft alongside how rural towns can "survive in a shifting industrial marketplace where big-box retailers are king."

The 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards honor individuals in four categories: political leadership, media leadership, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Recipients are selected by members of the New Leaders Council for exemplifying the organization's "ideal of political entrepreneurship."

Learn more about the council here and see upcoming films from Kartemquin here.

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