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David Wray


David Wray
David Wray (Ph.D. Harvard University, 1996) is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and the College and Director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. He is the author of Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood (Cambridge 2001) and is currently writing Phaedra's Virtue: Ethics, Gender, and Seneca's Tragedy. His research and teaching interests include Hellenistic and Roman poetry (especially Apollonius Rhodius, Catullus, Lucretius, Virgil, Tibullus, Ovid, Seneca, Lucan, and Statius); Greek epic and tragedy; Roman philosophy; ancient and modern relations between literature and philosophy; gender; theory and practice of literary translation; and the reception of Greco-Roman thought and literature, from Shakespeare and Corneille to Pound and Zukofsky. He is a member of the University's Poetry and Poetics program.

Ben Callard

Deputy Director, Philosophy/MAPH Coordinator

Ben CallardBenjamin Callard is a Lecturer in Philosophy, Deputy Director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), and the Philosophy/MAPH Coordinator. He received his B.A. from Brandeis, his M.A. from Tufts, and his Ph.D. (2007) from Berkeley. Ben’s areas of specialization are ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. He also has strong interests in the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. In the Fall Quarter of each year, he teaches the Core Course and the Analytic Philosophy Core Seminar for MAPH students. He also has special administrative responsibilities for coordinating the interface between MAPH and the Philosophy Department.


Hilary Strang

Deputy Director, English and Literary Studies Coordinator

Hilary Strang

Hilary Strang is MAPH's Deputy Director and Lecturer in the Department of English. She has degrees in cultural studies and critical theory from Brown University and Carnegie Mellon, and a Ph.D. in English from Chicago. Her research interests include nineteenth century British literature, the novel, radical culture, science fiction and Marxism. She has published on Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and biopolitics. Her current research is on unemployment as a biopolitical category in the mid-Victorian novel. Hilary also teaches literature in The Odyssey Project, a college-credit liberal arts program for low-income adults.


Maren Robinson

Associate Director

Maren Robinson graduated from MAPH in 2003. She wrote a play and a thesis length paper using Virginia Woolf and Peter Brook to examine gender, space and theatrical creation, a version of which was published in the Center for Classic Theater Review. Her interests include renaissance drama, dramaturgy, and performance studies. She has a B.A. in English from Montana State University. Maren toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and was an artistic intern at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Before returning to MAPH she was a researcher for civil rights attorneys. In her spare time, Maren teaches dramaturgy and script analysis at another four-year university, and works as a dramaturg for many Chicago theaters, especially TimeLine Theatre where she is a company member. She is happy to discuss MAPH, give recommendations for current dance and theater productions, or trade knitting patterns.


Sarah Smith

Program Coordinator

Sarah received her BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia, where she specialized in Japanese language and literature. Like many MAPH students, she realized during the course of her MA year that she wanted to try something different from her undergraduate coursework, and was luckily in the kind of program that allowed her the flexibility to explore. She ended up with a thesis on Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” and the concept of ugliness, applying ideas from affect theory and psychoanalysis. However, she still considers it, like most of her life, a work in progress. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys weird fiction, crocheting, horror movies and Vietnamese food.


Jeff McMahon

Writing Advisor

Jeff McMahon helps MAPH students adapt their writing to the particular demands of graduate school, and he teaches journalism courses as a lecturer for the Committee on Creative Writing. He writes about the environment and green technology for Forbes. He has been a reporter and columnist for daily newspapers, alternative weeklies, and innovators in online journalism including The New York Times Company's Lifewire syndicate. He is a founding editor, along with other MAPH alumni, of Contrary magazine. He completed MAPH in 2002.

Jason Evans

Instructor, Teaching in the Community College

Jason Evans

Jason (MAPH ’02) teaches the “Teaching in the Community College” course for MAPH. After graduating from MAPH, Jason was an adjunct professor in Ohio, and since 2003 he has been teaching English and basic writing as a full-time English professor at Prairie State College, where he was Chair of the English Department from 2006-2011. In 2012, he completed his PhD in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research investigates the busy intersections of social class, race, and language in college writing classrooms. Recently, Jason was a faculty coach in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded national teaching-research project, Global Skills for College Completion, which aims to improve students’ success in basic skills courses in community colleges.


V. Joshua Adams


Joshua Adams is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature, where he studies lyric poetry (mostly after 1800) and philosophy (mostly Wittgenstein and Cavell). His dissertation, "Skepticism and Impersonality in Modern Poetry" argues that various modern poets (Dickinson, Mallarmé, Eliot, Valéry, Merrill) experimented with impersonality in order to address a range of philosophical problems, including the privacy of experience, the accessibility of other minds, the relationship between mind and body, and the self. Other interests include the history and theory of lyric poetry, philosophy and literature, translation, myth, and modernism. He received an A.M. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2002, and a B.A from Georgetown University in the year 2000. An occasional writer and translator of poems, as well as a critic of contemporary poetry, he edited Chicago Review from 2008 to 2010. He lives in Hyde Park with his wife and daughter.


Joel Calahan 


Joel Calahan is a PhD candidate in comparative literature at the University of Chicago, where he focuses on English and Italian lyric poetry. He received a BA in English literature (with a minor in linguistics) from Pomona College in 2004, and an MA in humanities from the University of Chicago in 2005. His dissertation focuses on the influence of philology and historical linguistics in the work of nineteenth-century poets like Leopardi, Coleridge, Belli, and Hardy. His research interests also include prosody, history of philosophy of language, and translation theory and practice. He translates the Italian poets Edoardo Sanguineti, Marcello Frixione, Laura Pugno, and Giovanna Frene. He has been the coeditor of Chicago Review since 2010, and writes about music for Signal to Noise magazine.


Darrel Chia


Darrel Chia is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he is working on a dissertation titled "Forms of Diplomacy: Figuring Ethical Life in 20th Century Imperial Publics". The dissertation explores developments in thinking about empire, world democracy, and transnational publics, from the turn of the century, to the Paris Peace Conference, through a variety of literary and intellectual sources. He is also interested in travel-writing and ethnography, the regulation of gender and sexuality, literary modernism, and nationalism. He received his LL.B. and B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Murdoch University in 2000, and his B.A. (Hons) in English from The Australian National University in 2004. Prior to undertaking studies at the University of Chicago, he practiced for a number of years as an Australian lawyer specializing in contract law and commercial transactions. He enjoys walking his dog around the parks and lakeshore paths of Hyde Park.


Paul Durica


Paul Durica is a graduate student in the Department of English with a focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature. His writing has appeared in Poetry, The Chicagoan, NewCity, Mid-American Review, Indiana Review, Tin House, and other places. In 2008 he started Pocket Guide to Hell Tours and Reenactments, a series of free and interactive events centered on Chicago history, including the 125th Anniversary Full-Scale Haymarket Reenactment and the Studs Terkel 100th Birthday Party. Pocket Guide to Hell has collaborated with institutions across the city, such as the Newberry Library, the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, and the Chicago Cultural Center, and has been written about in the Huffington Post, Vice, The Atlantic Cities, and The New York Times. He lives in Pilsen with two cats and is surrounded by an amazing community of friends.


Matt Hauske


Matt HauskeMatt Hauske is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.  He received BAs in English and Film Studies from the University of California, Irvine in 2002 and an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU in 2005.  His dissertation (currently between titles) concerns the cultural background and context of post-World War II Hollywood westerns, including the genre's intersection with contemporary aesthetic movements such as abstract expressionism; other forms of leisure, including automobile tourism and gambling; and alternate moving images practices, especially television.  Other research interests include theories and practices of play and the aesthetics of scale. 


Kerri Hunt 


Kerri HuntKerri Hunt is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Chicago. She received a BA in English and American Literature from NYU in 2003. A Victorianist by training and inclination, Kerri also studies and teaches a course on early 20th-century detective fiction. Her dissertation, “Reality Effects,” treats novels by Scott, Gaskell, and Dickens with an eye to the formal implications of their object-cluttered interiors. These writers, she argues, select and arrange the apparently innocuous objects which form the authenticating backgrounds of their narratives so that their novels also invoke and participate in contemporary debates about the nature, possibilities, and limits of fictional representation. Although she rarely escapes the ivory tower, Kerri does find some time to pursue outside interests including vintage fashion, world travel, and 1930s slang.


Anna Lee


Anna LeeAnna Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History, where she has also previously taught. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Comparative Arts from Washington University in St. Louis. Her doctoral work focuses on reasons for thinking critically about photographic amateurism: for example, how an intimate familiarity with multiple photographic roles (practitioner/subject/viewer), can affect our social and aesthetic registers with respect to photographs, radically influencing how we react to them. Her research deals primarily with photographic projects that function self-consciously as prompts for this kind of reflection; nevertheless, she will almost always want to see photographs of your trip or baby. Anna likes heights, games, and water. She is also a fan of fandom, particularly Steeler Nation.


Daniel Smyth


Daniel Smyth is a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago. He received his BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2005. His dissertation, “Infinity and Givenness: Kant’s Critical Theory of Intuition,” defends Immanuel Kant’s heterodox view that it is precisely the sensible, finite character of human cognition which enables knowledge of the mathematically infinite. When he isn’t indulging his Kant obsession, Daniel worries about how pictures picture, whether wrongs can be righted, and how group action affects personal accountability. Daniel also translates contemporary German philosophy, tries to paint, and fawns over his two kitties.

Rachel Watson


Rachel Watson earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her Ph.D. in English at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, “Capturing the Individual: Race and Forensics in American Literature, 1894-1959,” explores how politically committed writers of the Jim Crow era used the detective genre and forensic science to trouble the laws and customs of American segregation. Rachel has taught courses for the Department of English; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before graduate school, Rachel worked as primary legal assistant at a class action law firm that represented employees in cases of civil rights violations; she was also a middle school English teacher for one year. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and, while maintaining a great affection for Chicago, complains loudly and without ceasing every winter.

Kerith Asma 

Program Mentor

Kerith AsmaKeri received her BA in 2012 from the University of Michigan, with a concentration in English and minor in Italian.  Her interests include late 19th and early 20th century American literature, the aesthetics of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement in Victorian England, old German and Norse literature and culture, and fashion. During her MAPH year, she worked with Jumpstart and developed an interest in the culture and politics of South Side Chicago. She wrote her MA thesis on the intersection between Modernism and issues of Vogue from the 1920s and 30s, focusing on feminine identity in Modernist fashions. In addition to mentoring in MAPH and teaching writing, she experiments with cooking and baking, relishes the latest Murakami novels, and frolics around Chicago with friends and family.


Jessi Haley

Program Mentor

Jessi HaleyJessi received her B.A. in History from Skidmore College in 2010.  She moved to Chicago that fall and spent the next couple of years bussing tables in Bucktown, working as a litigation paralegal in a corporate law firm, and making sandwiches in a local wine and cheese shop.  She spent the summer before MAPH in Berlin, where she studied German, sat in parks, and explored abandoned spaces. Jessi wrote a creative thesis consisting of short stories that feature a first person plural (“we”) narrator. For her critical component, she looked at how John Searle’s theory of collective intentionality relates to Christa Wolf’s use of the first person plural in the novel The Quest for Christa T.  Jessi likes to cook, travel, and trade stories and she is enthusiastic about recommending places to eat and drink in Chicago.


Tavi Steinhardt

Program Mentor

Tavi SteinhardtTavi Steinhardt graduated from the University of Redlands in 2011 with a BA in Philosophy, Religion, and Culture. Before coming to the University of Chicago, he spent a year teaching guitar and writing articles for travel websites. During his MAPH year, he wrote a thesis on religious pluralism and public reason in the work of John Rawls, and did most of his coursework in the philosophy and anthropology of religion. He spends his free time playing music and wandering around Chicago in search of weirdness.