The Postgraduate Seminar Essay in Literary Studies: A Guide for Writers and Readers

deadline for submissions: 
July 5, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Rowman and Littlefield
contact email: 

The publisher Rowman & Littlefield has invited me to prepare a proposal for an edited collection tentatively titled The Postgraduate Seminar Essay in Literary Studies: A Guide for Writers and Readers. Although many books exist for undergraduate students on writing and research as well as for postgraduate students working on PhD dissertations, the seminar essay is a peculiarly understudied genre. This volume aims to serve as a resource for both students working on seminar papers and for academic staff who regularly teach postgraduates. The first half of the book will consist of essays providing guidance to postgraduate students working on seminar papers. The other half will consist of essays for instructors on ways to make seminar essay assignments more effective. (As many postgraduate students go on to teach in MA and/or PhD programs themselves, this section of the book will also serve as a resource for them.)

Most of the essays have been specially commissioned. However, to round out the collection, a few spaces remain. Possible topics include:


Part One

-how to find a topic

-how to craft an argument

-introductions and conclusions

-seminar papers in quarter vs. semester terms

-the seminar paper in different national contexts

-evidence and analysis

-managing one’s time

-literary studies and the archival turn

-single text vs. multiple text analyses

-the role of theory

-differences between a seminar paper and a journal article

-making connections between/among seminars in papers


Part Two

-the goals of the seminar paper

-seminar papers and their relationship to dissertation chapters and/or articles

-experiments in assigning seminar papers (incorporating first-person experiences; meta-archival reflections; co-writing)

-assigning seminar papers in different national contexts

-seminar papers and sequential assignments

-grading seminar papers

-pre-writing assignments

-analyzing model essays

-peer workshops

-“seminar” papers in non-seminar settings (independent studies, study abroad courses with graduate student participation, cross-listed graduate/undergraduate courses)

-the role of writing centers in graduate essay writing

-digital methods


In order to cover a wide array of topics, each essay should be short (roughly 3500-4500 words). If you are interested, please contact the editor, Kevin Morrison, first by email as soon as possible with an expression of interest. If the topic is not already covered by another contributor, I will invite you to submit a title and a one-paragraph abstract as well as a brief biography by 5 August 2018. Essays selected for inclusion will be due on or about 15 March 2019.