Faculty

Longtime Journal Editor W. J. T. Mitchell Reflects on Career, the Loss of His Son

W. J. T. Mitchell

The year 2020 marked two milestones for Prof. W. J. T. Mitchell: He ended his 42-year tenure as editor of the interdisciplinary arts and humanities journal Critical Inquiry and published his first non-academic book. That work, Mental Traveler: A Father, a Son, and a Journey through Schizophrenia, is a memoir of his son Gabrielʼs 20-year battle with schizophrenia and subsequent death by suicide in 2012.

Mitchell was the second person to lead Critical Inquiry, taking over in 1978 upon the death of founding editor Sheldon Sacks, PhDʼ60, professor of English and linguistics. The journalʼs influence grew steadily under his watch; 25 years later, the New York Times called it “academeʼs most prestigious theory journal.”

Division of the Humanities Recognizes Student and Faculty Scholarship at the 534th Convocation

Division of the Humanities graduates celebrated in the sun.

As the pandemic winds down, the Division of the Humanities at UChicago conducted its Convocation on Friday, June 11, at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field in Chicago. Ninety-four students participated in the live ceremony, while 162 were celebrated virtually on mega-screens for those watching the in-person and livestreamed event.

Reflecting the times, seating on the stage and in the arena was socially distant in the outdoor setting. Those participating in the Convocation wore masks except when presenting awards and diplomas. In contrast to a traditional Convocation in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, graduates gulped spring water in UChicago aluminum cans and used manual fans to beat back the heat and full sun.

In addition to celebrating the achievements of 256 graduating students with master’s and doctoral degrees, seven presenters in the Division of the Humanities, including Dean Anne Walters Robertson and Dean of Students Shea Wolfe, honored students and faculty members for their achievements—Zsofia Valyi-Nagy, Rebeca Velasquez, Samuel Lasman, Christine Wilkie Bohlman, Veronica Vegna, Persis Berlekamp, Daniel Morgan, and Kaneesha Parsard.

UChicago Scholar Mitchell S. Jackson Wins Pulitzer Prize for Essay on Ahmaud Arbery

Mitchell S. Jackson photo by John Card

Asst. Prof. Mitchell S. Jackson of the University of Chicago was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his essay in Runner’s World about the life and death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man, was shot and killed in February 2020 while jogging in Georgia after being chased by white men in vehicles. Arrests were made only weeks after the killing, once video pertaining to the incident was shared widely on social media.

The Hidden History of 'Guerrilla Television': UChicago Scholars Preserve Decades-Old Videos

Eleanor Boyer (left) and Karen Peugh shoot some video footage. Photo is courtesy of Eleanor Boyer.

Decades before cellphone video changed how we create and consume media, the advent of low-cost, portable video cameras did something similar for underrepresented communities across the United States—allowing them to experiment with new forms of documentary, art and activism.

Known as “guerrilla television,” this movement of the late 1960s to 1970s helped amplify the voices of groups such as women, Black, Indigenous and people of color, immigrants and Appalachian miners.

Now, a consortium of University of Chicago scholars, librarians, and partnering archivists and filmmakers will create the Guerrilla Television Network—preserving and presenting the history of guerrilla television to a much wider audience. Supported by a grant of nearly $500,000 from the Council on Library and Information Resources, the three-year project will digitize 1,015 videotapes produced from 1967 to 1979.

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