When a group of recent graduates from the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) launched Colloquium, an online journal, they admitted it was a bit of a lark. The first issue went live in October 2012, featuring critical essays, fiction, video, poetry, and photography by a dozen program alumni.

Enthusiastic reviews and a solid stream of virtual visitors encouraged the founders to follow through on their plans to publish a second installment this spring. Submissions flowed in, and the journal’s editors and contributors accepted an invitation to host a panel about Colloquium at Alumni Weekend. “There’s an appetite for what we’re trying to do,” says coeditor Bill Hutchison, AM’12. “All of a sudden, it’s a thing.”

When students in the humanities leave the University, it can mean leaving behind an intensely engaging intellectual environment. Colloquium sprang from a desire to find a venue where MAPH alumni could continue creating and discussing their work. Published each fall and spring, the journal showcases interdisciplinary writing as well as music, videos, photography, and other projects. A seven-member editorial board selects, edits, and posts pieces by contributors with some relation, past or present, to MAPH.

Colloquium’s inaugural issue had a close-to-home theme—the city of Chicago—and its lively launch party at the Logan Center for the Arts showed that local graduates are eager to reconnect. Looking ahead, the editors want to knit together readers and contributors from MAPH’s 1,500 alumni around the country. 

Two founders, Hutchison and Liz John, AM’12, will start PhD programs in literature next fall, but they plan to stay involved with the magazine. “However spread out an intellectual community gets,” says Hutchison, “there’s still always this motivating urge to ‘speak together’—to keep investigating and adventuring around whatever this weird business of being might be.”

Read the journal at colloquium.uchicago.edu.

Catch up with former classmates at AfterMAPH, an online forum for alumni.


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