Writing Workshop: Tuesday, October 25, 12 to 1 p.m., in the boardroom of the Stanford Humanities Center (RSVP by October 20 to receive lunch: goo.gl/mcSREs)
Whatever their discipline, doctoral students at Stanford are by and large familiar with grammatical blunders like split infinitives and dangling modifiers. But training to be a writer isn’t the same thing as training as an academic. Academics learn to write for one another, that is, for colleagues who are highly specialized in a particular area. They dive deep, not wide. Professional writers learn to write for as broad an audience as possible to make end’s meet. They dive wide, but not deep. While there’s always been overlap between the two groups, academics who are also professional writers are needed more than ever. Academics who become professional writers—say, a humanities Ph.D.—have the best of both worlds: they can conduct rigorous research and distill their findings into lucid prose. They dive wide and deep, distinguishing themselves from peers by combining their abilities to potent effect.
Aimed at budding academics, this workshop offers a few strategies and tools to mature as a writer. It presents lucid writing as an attitude instead of verbal cosmetics—an attitude that considers prose as a window onto the world and the writer an agent of truth. Sometimes called “classic style,” this attitude is implicit in the sort of journalistic writing that appears in publications like the Stanford Report, The Atlantic, or Public Books. At the workshop, contributing writers to all three publications will discuss their experience writing for a broad audience: Robin Wander, the arts reporter at the Stanford Report; Ian Beacock, a doctoral candidate in history and occasional contributor to the Atlantic (among other publications); and Tom Winterbottom, a historian of modern Brazil, whose most recent article appeared in Public Books (also among other publications).
- Career Development