Versatile Humanists at Duke Summer Writing Kickoff

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Date(s) - 05/03/2017 - 05/04/2017
8:30 am - 5:30 pm

Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, C105, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall


Does the thought of a long summer of solitary writing feel somewhat daunting? It doesn’t have to be that way. Join fellow Ph.D. students across the humanities and interpretive social sciences for two days of workshops and faculty-led conversations about the writing life. Find motivation and inspiration to launch those summer writing projects!

Co-sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute; the English Department; Philosophy, Arts and Literature (PAL); Forum for Scholars and Publics; the Thompson Writing Program; and The Graduate School

Participants are welcome to register for any session of interest. Please note that registration is required for those who wish to attend the peer review workshop on 5/3, or the summer writing group orientation on 5/4.   

By signing up for the summer writing group orientation (5/4), participants are indicating their interest in working with a small interdisciplinary peer writing group throughout the summer.  (Schedule and frequency of meetings will be worked out by group members at orientation.)

Registration has closed



Wednesday, May 3

8:30–9:00 a.m.: Coffee

9:00–11:45 a.m.: 1000 Words Peer Review Workshop (registration required)

Interdisciplinary peer review can help you communicate your ideas to others in a clearer and more engaging way. Working in small peer groups, participants will give and receive feedback on short pieces of writing-in-progress. For each piece of writing, readers will respond to two questions: What main idea am I left with after reading this piece? What elements of the piece compelled me to keep reading?

Noon–2:00 p.m.: Lunchtime panel conversation: “Writing is Thinking: The Writing Life in Academia”

Join Professors Toril Moi (English/Literature), Sarah Beckwith (English), and Kristen Neuschel (History) for a lively discussion about why writing IS thinking. Thoughtful writers also pay attention to style—regardless of audience or subject matter.

2:30–3:30 p.m.: Goal-setting session: “Turning Ideas into Texts”

Eliana Schonberg (Thompson Writing Program Writing Studio) will guide participants in creating a plan for summer writing goals and a realistic and manageable timeline for scholarly projects.

4:00–5:30 p.m.: Panel conversation: “Writing for Publics”

Join Professor Laurent Dubois (History, Romance Studies; Director of Forum for Scholars and Publics) and Ph.D. students Kelly Alexander (Cultural Anthropology) and Yuri Ramirez (History) as we consider: How can humanities scholars best cultivate a kind of “multilingualism” in their writing style and develop ways to communicate with a range of scholarly and public audiences?


Thursday, May 4

9:30–10:00 a.m.: Coffee

10:00 a.m.–noon: Summer Writing Group orientation (registration required) 

Students who have registered in advance for a summer writing group will meet in groups for the first time.  Jennifer Ahern-Dodson and Eliana Schonberg (Thompson Writing Program), along with their colleagues, will help groups establish shared expectations, mutually convenient meeting schedules, and concrete goals.

12:30–2:00 p.m.: Lunchtime panel conversation: “How to Build a Fulfilling Writing Life”

Writers, suffer no more. Join Ed Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, and other colleagues for a conversation about developing strategies that make for a productive and fulfilling writing life. Some likely topics: how to brainstorm, where and when to write, how to approach collaborative writing, and how to provide/receive constructive feedback on writing.

2:30–5:30 p.m.: Silent Community Writing

Bring your laptop and whatever you’re currently writing, and spent a few hours working collegially alongside fellow Ph.D. students.  There will be coffee and chocolate.