Melanie Holm presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS) in Los Angeles, Calif. on the mentorship and scholarship of Professor Michael McKeon, who is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her presentation reflected on the importance of graduate mentoring both in course work and at the dissertation level.
In her contribution to this roundtable discussion, Holm elaborated on the seriousness of purpose that McKeon brings to graduate mentoring by sharing his contributions to her developing scholarship as an early editor and commenter, as well as guide towards developing her own style of dialectical thinking.
While it would seem that working with a scholar of Professor McKeon’s stature would entail its own critical version of the anxiety of influence, what she conveyed about McKeon’s mentorship was how his mindful efforts to treat graduate students both as serious writers and serious thinkers obviates such psychological difficulties. She proposed that his method of encouraging advisees through direct and frequent engagement, both in conversation and textual notation, to conceive of themselves not as neophytes struggling for the approval of the master, but independent intellectuals in their own right, ought to serve as a model for mentoring relationships on the graduate and faculty levels.
Department of English