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.

Faculty Members Lecture on Identity and Language in Videos from 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival

Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology, and Raúl Coronado, Associate Professor in English Language and Literature, lectured as part of the 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival. Coronado spoke on Latino Identity and Literature, drawing on his studies of Latina/o literary and cultural history from the colonial period to the 1940s. Silverstein gave a lecture titled "America's Tongues" that highlighted his work in the structure and history of language.

Information about the 2013 Chicago Humanities Festival can be found here.

Patrick Jagoda on Digital Storytelling and Video Games as Texts

Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature, was profiled in the Winter 2013 issue of Grey City. Jagoda, who has been teaching at UChicago since 2010, is affiliated with one of the eighteen inaugural faculty research projects sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. In the interview, Jagoda explains how the project "uses digital storytelling and game design to work through various health issues with youth, especially high-school aged youth...co-creating digital stories that have to do with everything from sexually transmitted infections to sexual violence to gender issues."

Jagoda also describes the importance of viewing video games as types of texts, stating that video games held as much importance as novels did during the late 20th and early 21st century. He also points out how receptive UChicago faculty members have been to his research, saying, "People want to share in the work and experience games that they might not otherwise be playing, or think about how categories central to a discipline such as English, like narrative or aesthetics, might help us think about this new form."

Read the entire interview here.

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.

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