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From a cultural history of the essay to incisive contemporary rethinking of its usefulness in the classroom, from guides on how to write a seminar paper to guides on how to assess them, Making the Grade offers desperately needed clarity on a complex genre. The contributions in this book should be standard for every first-semester graduate student and every first-semester professor who wants to prepare undergraduates for graduate-level writing or who wants to prepare graduate students for professional publication.

Endorsements

For a field that prides itself on rethinking its theoretical grounds, literary studies often takes for granted the pragmatic mechanics of scholarship. Making the Grade fills that gap. From a cultural history of the essay to incisive contemporary rethinking of its usefulness in the classroom, from guides on how to write a seminar paper to guides on how to assess them, Making the Grade offers desperately needed clarity on a complex genre. The contributions in this book should be standard for every first-semester graduate student and every first-semester professor who wants to prepare undergraduates for graduate-level writing or who wants to prepare graduate students for professional publication.

-- Peter Katz, PhD, associate professor, Pacific Union College

 

Each essay in the volume speaks to distinct and multiple audiences—professors, students, junior scholars, and writing center directors and consultants. As a result, it creates a dialogic and engaging space to (re)frame the seminar essay as groundwork, or apprentice-level work, that allows new scholars and junior faculty to develop their literature-based research and writing skills and leverage these skills in broader ways. The volume will help faculty scaffold the graduate seminar essay assignment and evaluation with intentionality and to stage the graduate seminar essay as a meaningful and rewarding process for both the facilitator and the emerging scholar.

 

-- Julia Istomina, PhD, assistant director, The Yale Graduate Writing Lab, The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, Yale University

 

This book is a great resource for new graduate students interested in knowing how to navigate their studies more effectively and creatively. It draws from a wide variety of perspectives and insights. There is not only a recognition of institutional efforts, such as Graduate Writing Centers, to improve international students’ writing skills, but also a consideration of how colonialism has affected literacy studies over time. Many important ethical elements are emphasized, including reflection and trustworthiness. I highly recommend this book for those embarking on their scholarly journey.

 

-- Angel Oi Yee Cheng, PhD, comparative and international education, Lehigh University

 

Throughout my four years in a doctoral program, I have been recommended at least a dozen writing handbooks. But as Morrison notes no book thus far has been solely dedicated to the seminar paper. . . . An innovative feature of the book is its foregrounding of the multimodal essay, which broadens how research in the humanities can be conducted and presented, and its advocacy for training in digital methods and the inclusion of visual essay formats in the graduate classroom. For instructors who are suspicious of the efficacy of these newer, relatively untested forms, this book provides a digestible introduction, among many other useful ideas and recommendations.

 

-- Phoebe Pua, PhD, student, Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore