Writing in the Humanities and Arts

Graduate Student Resource Center

Workshop Videos on Writing in the Humanities and Arts

These recorded versions of GWC workshops cover journal article writing and publishing, seminar papers, and conference presentations in the humanities.

Writing in the Humanities and Arts

Blanpain, Kristin. Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Resource for Researchers. 2006.
This workbook offers explanations, examples, and exercises designed to help scholars improve the grammar and flow of their writing. It includes discussions of academic style and academic genres (literature reviews, abstracts, research articles, etc.).

Hayot, Eric. The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities. 2014.
This book advises writers on granular concerns, such as sentence structure and grammar, as well as big-picture issues, such as adhering to genre patterns for successful research and publishing and developing productive and rewarding writing habits.

Dissertations and Theses

AHA Graduate and Early Career Committee. From Concept to Completion: A Dissertation-Writing Guide for History Students. 2008.
Twelve historians offer advice on the dissertation-writing process in the field of history. Includes chapters on choosing a topic, obtaining funding, managing the dissertation committee, organizing archival materials, using sources, and overcoming writer’s block.

Bolker, Joan. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis. 1998.
This is one of several “write your dissertation” guides on the market, and it’s one of relatively few that gears itself toward writers of all disciplines. Bolker here is part career counselor, part writing coach, and part therapist. She seems particularly interested in the ways that graduate students block themselves from completing the dissertation through fear, ambivalence, procrastination, etc. Recommended as a general reference on the dissertation process, although some issues might require more specialized help for individual writers.

Clark, Irene L. Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation. 2006.
This title is regarded by many in composition studies as the best book on dissertation writing. Some of the writing strategies may be oriented more towards the humanities and social sciences, but the book offers excellent advice on writing process issues that is helpful to graduate students in all fields.

Lovitts, Barbara E. and Ellen Wert. Developing Quality Dissertations in the Humanities: A Graduate Student’s Guide to Achieving Excellence. 2008. Stylus Publishing.
A concise booklet designed to define and explain expectations for dissertations in the humanities.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books. 1999.
Working from the premise that "It is methodicalness and routinization. . . that help us produce theses, dissertations, and books," (3), this short book presents a detailed process for coming up with a realistic writing schedule and deadlines. Zerubavel explains management strategies for long writing projects: scheduling regular writing time, making outlines, setting realistic expectations, adhering to deadlines, etc.



This GWC-produced video workshop describes the process of preparing, submitting, and revising a humanities article for publication in a scholarly journal: Introduction to Publishing Journal Articles in the Humanities

Belcher, Wendy Laura. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks. 2009.
This workbook takes the approach to scheduling and work style that productivity scholars recommend and tailors its advice to the specificity of the journal article for humanities and social scientists. It is helpful on several fronts: first, in breaking down the process of writing the article into manageable parts and second, in explaining several other genres that graduate students need to be aware of, particularly the abstract.


UCLA Editor in Residence Program: UCLA Humanities Division has hosted a number of talks by editors of academic presses who have presented on how to prepare book proposals and book publications. See especially the video archive of these presentations, which for the most part require a UCLA login.

The Association of University Presses provides a resource page for prospective faculty authors, including a page that provides resources for finding a publisher. The web page on finding a publisher links to an annual subject area grid that indicates which publishers have strong interests in which fields and sub-fields. There are additional resources on university presses and advice about getting published.

Grant and Fellowship Proposals

Gillis, Christina M. Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions. A guide for fellowship applicants in all fields of the humanities, with advice on tailoring the proposal for its audience, creating an effective structure, explaining the project's significance, and positioning research in relation to previous work.

The National Endowment for Humanities offers fellowships and grants that are not usually open to graduate students. However, NEH resources are generally informative for learning how to write about proposed research in the humanities. If you would like to learn more about how to write successful proposals, this web page offers a webinar recording and sample narratives from awardees. This article offers additional advice.

Library Research Guides by Subject

These online guides offer discipline-specific links and tips for library research at UCLA. They include links to databases, catalogues, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic texts, and online archives.

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