Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ayanna Thompson Campus Visit and Talk

For those of you who haven't heard the exciting news, Professor Ayanna Thompson is being considered for a position in the GW English department starting Fall 2013.  Professor Thompson is currently a professor at Arizona State University and she specializes in Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, and issues of race and performance.  She has authored two books, Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, in addition to numerous other important essays.   

Professor Thompson will be visiting our campus on Monday, November 26 and is scheduled to give a talk, "Interdisciplinary Shakespeare," at 6.15-7.45 PM, in Rome Hall 771.  She will also be in the student lounge at 10:30AM on that day and will be available to meet and talk with graduate students.

Stay tuned for more details about Professor Thompson's visit, but be sure to mark your calendars for November 26th!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Look Ahead to Spring 2013

GW English Graduate Courses for Spring 2013

Spring 2013 Graduate Seminar: Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice 
ENGLISH 6130 // Prof. A. Huang  
Monday 6:10-8:40 pm, Rome 771

Digital and communication technologies are transforming humanities research. This seminar explores the history of digital humanities, theoretical issues it raises, and major methodological debates. 
  • Participate in the Digital Humanities Symposium at GW, Friday January 25, 2013 
  • Develop the skills necessary for working at, and engaging with, the intersection of the humanities and technology
  • Grasp major theoretical developments (orality / textuality / paratext / race / disability / canon formation / close and distant readings / data mining / history of the book / new media theories)
  • Examine existing digital humanities projects in your field
  • Situate your own research interests within the larger context of digital humanities theories and practice
  • Interact with guest speakers in class 
  • No computer skills beyond basic familiarity with word processing and Internet access are required

Sample Readings 
  • David M. Berry, ed. Understanding Digital Humanities
  • Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities
  • Jacque Derrida, Archive Fever
  • Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality
  • Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
  • Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media
  • William McCarty, Humanities Computing
  • Gerard Genette, Paratexts
  • N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
  • Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture
  • Alexander Huang, "Global Shakespeare 2.0 and the Task of the Performance Archive," Shakespeare Survey (
  • Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, "The Very Large Textual Object: A Prosthetic Reading of Shakespeare"  (
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy
  • Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web
  • Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History
  • Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman, eds. A Companion to Digital Humanities
  • Ray and Schreibman, eds.  A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
  • Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information 
  • Lisa Nakamura, Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet 

Sample Digital Projects

Journals and Guidelines

Partitioned Modernities: Intimacy, Secularism and National Culture in South Asia

ENG 6560: Postcolonialism
Kavita Daiya
Wednesdays 3.30-6 pm

1947 was a crucial year for world history, as the end of WWII and decolonization over 1947-48 ushered in many new nations and invented new national communities and identities. This course focuses on what happened in 1947 in India, in relation to these global transformations; it engages postcolonial theories of nationalism, gender studies and historiography with literature and cinema to illuminate the cultural representation of the 1947 Partition of India and its social and political legacies for contemporary South Asia.  Drawing upon a range of disciplines, the course examines the violent migrations that occurred during 1947, and its link to contemporary conflicts (war, ethnic conflict, refugee displacement, property rights) and ideas about citizenship, political belonging, intimacy, and secularism. We will look at different registers: literature, film, print media, visual and new media.  How gender, ethnicity and disability inflect these histories and texts will be integral to the story we will tell. No prior knowledge of South Asia required. Readings include works by Paul Scott, Salman Rushdie, Homi Bhabha, Judith Butler, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh, Saadat Hasan Manto, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Tim Brennan, Pheng Cheah, Talal Asad, Sunil Khilnani, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Gayatri Spivak, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Deepa Ollapally, among others.  Films we will watch include Hindi cinema as well as third cinema, like "Delhi 6", "Parzania," and "My Son, the Fanatic." 

 Tony Lopez's graduate seminar, ENGL 6453:

English 6453: ¡Vámonos!  Latino Transit Cultures

This course considers the cultures of Latino transit: the literary and popular expressions of walking and riding in their embodied varieties across public and private U.S. transportation infrastructures.  Students will become acquainted with a range of 20th and 21st-century U.S. Latino works in conversation with theories of movement, space, and the body from Walter Benjamin to disability and diaspora studies.  Through such works, we will explore recent debates regarding the built environment, citizenship, and the state.

English 6220 (Topics/Medvl&EarlyMod Studies)
Environ, Body, Object, Veer

This cartographic seminar follows the lines of possibility that might be generated when the words environ, body, object and veer are simultaneously nouns (surroundings; corpus; impedimental thing [from the Latin “to throw in the way of”]; abrupt directional shift or change of vector) and verbs (to circuit inward; to materialize an abstraction; to protest or differ; to fly off course). Some of the problems we will unpack through these four keywords include: what does it mean to possess life? What worlds commence in medieval texts when the nonhuman exerts its sidelong agency? Is anthropocentricity an inevitable circumscription to thought? How does travel (in space, in time, in scale) open vistas that might otherwise remain unperceived? Are medieval and contemporary one or several temporalities?

We will create a confluence of contemporary theory (disability studies; queer theory; the new materialism; object oriented ontology; ecocriticism) and medieval English, Latin and French texts to map (environ, body, object and veer) possibilities for both. Among the medieval texts we will read: Beowulf, Chaucer (The House of Fame, General Prologue, The Pardoner’s Tale, The Franklin’s Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Squire’s Tale); Geoffrey of Monmouth (History of the Kings of Britain), The Book of John MandevilleSong of RolandSaint ErkenwaldSir Gawain and the Green KnightPearl. Among the works of contemporary theory we may discuss (in entirety or selections): Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology; Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, eds. Sex and Disability; Margrit Shildrick, Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality; Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect; Carolyn Dinshaw, How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time; Tim Ingold, Being Alive; Will Stockton, Playing Dirty; Stacy Alaimo, Bodily Natures.

Robert McRuer and Holly Dugan's Queer Theory: Now and Then seminar (ENGL 6120):

This seminar examines the ways in which queer theory appears, now and then. From sixteenth century narratives of seduction and eroticism to postmodern, hyper-mediated sex play, we will engage in a transtemporal and interdisciplinary conversation about both shared and contested assumptions about queerness. Weaving seemingly disparate strands of this field through and around each other, we seek to pose the following questions: how queer is historicism? Is there a way to do queer historicism, or are the terms mutually exclusive (as some in the field might claim)? If queer theory “now” is arguably obsessed with global technologies that locate bodies within systems of commodification, consumption, and resistance, what about queer theory “then”? When we approach these questions from a transtemporal framework, what happens to practices and desires we think we recognize as “alternative”
or “normative”? How is the alternative constitutive of the norm, now and then? What bodily practices and desires remain resistant to categorizations, whether temporal or otherwise? Readings may include work by Lynne Huffer, Kevin Floyd, Madhavi Menon, James Bromley, Will Stockton, Valerie Traub, Margot Weiss, Darieck Scott, Jasbir Puar, José Esteban Muñoz, Elizabeth Povinelli, and others.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Upcoming Events

Join us in November for two exciting events at George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute and Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program: 

On Monday, Nov. 12, from 1-2 pm, Dr. Dennis Kennedy will be presenting a lecture on “The Culture of the Spectator.” Currently Beckett Professor of Drama Emeritus in Trinity College Dublin, Dennis Kennedy will consider examples from sports, popular culture, and the theatre in order to open up a discussion about a ‘culture’ of the spectator in the present. 

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Erika Lin will be with us on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 11:10 am-12:20 pm, to explore early modern theatre. Lin, an Assistant Professor of English at George Mason University, takes a close look at Thomas Dekker’s play “The Shoemaker’s Holiday” as she explores the process by which festivity was transformed into commercial theatre through the act of performance in “Playing with Time: Pancakes and Bells in ‘The Shoemaker’s Holiday.’”

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Both of these events are open to the public and will be held on the George Washington University campus in Rome Hall, room 771 (801 22nd St. NW, Washington, D.C., one block from the GW/Foggy Bottom metro station). 
For Flyers on each of these events visit: 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Funding Your Dissertation

The Office of Student Fellowships and Grants will be hosting a series of Academic Success and Professional Development Workshops. This Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Marvin Center Room 403, 4:00-5:00 pm the Professional Development Series will be hosting an information session on "Funding Your Dissertation Research." PhD candidates will learn about specific competitive programs that can provide funds for doctoral dissertation research, funding strategies, and tips for successful proposals. Interested PhD candidates can RSVP to 

This information session will provide helpful information for funding your research at different stages. Although our department gives us funding for tuition, there are other great opportunities for funding, both pre-ABD and dissertation research. The talk will cover the variety of types of funding available to PhD students. Below are the highlights from last year's talk. Make sure you stop by the OGSAF office to pick up informational handouts - they have helpful lists with funding requirements and deadlines. 

I.                   Types of Funding
a.       Tuition (i.e. Phi Delta Gamma, Scottish Rite, D.A.R., Liebmann)
b.      Basic Necessities (like photocopying, travel, equipment): i.e. Cosmos, Economic Club, Consortium, Research Fellows Program.
c.       Overseas Research (i.e. Fulbright, Boren) and Language Acquisition (i.e. CLS)

II.                Tips
a.       Look for funding at least one year in advance of when you need it.
b.      Make sure you read the elligability requirements very carefully. Some funding is only for students at a certain stage in their program.
c.       Read the literature supplied by the institution. What is the mission of the agency?
d.      Make sure you have all the necessary documents for each submission
e.       Give Faculty plenty of time for letters of recommendation, and send helpful reminders
f.       Many funding deadlines are in early fall or early spring
g.      Ask people in your department for other funding opportunities

III.             Examples of Support
a.       Travels to Collections (i.e. Loughran-Oxford, Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library Dissertation Grants)
b.      Pre-Dissertation (i.e. SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship)
c.       Dissertation Writing (i.e. Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program, GW Dissertation Fellowship)
d.      Dissertation Research (i.e. NPSC Dissertation Support Program, Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship Award, White House Historical Association Research Grants Program)

IV.            Finding Funding (Note: All of these must be accessed on-campus or through the GW VPN because they are subscriber-only access)
b.      The Illinois Research Information Service (IRIS)
c.       Community of Science Funding Opportunities Database (COS) (Note: This database is for all disciplines, not just science)

V.               Help from OGSAF
a.       They will read drafts of your proposal
b.      Make copies of your application and proposal (as well as scan items)
c.       Consult on specific fellowship questions
d.      Publish your accomplishment on their website

Thursday, October 25, 2012

EGSA Meeting Minutes 10/15

EGSA Meeting Minutes 10/15 
o   Book Sale Success- Thanks to all who contributed their time and energy to our recent book sale. We sold four boxes of books in six hours!

o   Mentors: Thanks for participating in the EGSA Mentoring program this semester. The Board would like to kindly remind you to check in with your mentees and invite them to upcoming EGSA events!

o   EGSA is officially reregistered for the new calendar year, but we await word on whether our budget is approved. All active members of the English Graduate Program may apply for programming funds through the EGSA Board. See Kadie Groh for more information

o   The EGSA Symposium 2013 CFP has been posted to our blog and Facebook page. The deadline for panel ideas is October 26. See Molly Lewis with any questions or to submit panel proposals.

o   Thank you to all who turned out for our Plan Your PhD event on October 19, and thank you to the organizers and speakers for making it a successful event! You will be able to find all of the handouts from the event on our blog or email Maia Gil’Adi for more information.

o   Mark your Calendars for the Plan Your M.A. event on November 2, 3:00-5:00pm in Rome 771. See William Quiterio and Maia Gil’Adi for more information.

o   Thank you to all of you who showed up for the October Happy Hour at 51st State – it was great catching up with you all.

o   Mark your calendars for the November Happy Hour on November 29 following Tony Lopez’s Book Launch event. Location is TBA. See Shyama Rajendran for more information.

o   For the first time EGSA will be organizing a Library of Congress Graduate Research Orientation on November 5 from 6:30-8pm at the Library of Congress. To RSVP for this event, email Tawnya Ravy.

o   The next EGSA meeting will be November 28 5-6pm in the student lounge. EGSA Meeting are open to all members of the community.

We value your suggestions, ideas, and concerns. Email us at and Check out our Blog ( and Facebook page to follow EGSA throughout the month! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plan Your PhD - Resources & Documents

Thank you to all who could join us for our annual "Plan Your PhD" event! We had wonderful and experienced speakers who gave us reviews, tips, and resources for each of the steps of the PhD process. Below you will find links to the documents provided during the event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

The Plan Your PhD Handout provides an overview of the requirements provided by the English Student Handbook (requirements, exam summaries, etc.) as well as resources and tools for professionalizing yourself.

The Field Exam and Dissertation handouts provide great strategies and things to look forward to for each of these steps. If you have questions about this or any of the other exams/parts of the PhD (qualifying exam, language exam, or prospectus defense) please feel free to ask.

The following three articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education provide great advice from both professors and students about being part of a PhD program: What I Tell My Graduate Students, Graduate School as Means to a Job, As Smart as I'll Ever Be.

We are also attaching a list of Resources for Americanists (national conferences, publications, blogs, twitter feeds, etc.) and will soon post one for the other two concentrations in the department.

See you at the next event!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Symposium CFP 2013 Officially Here!

We are very excited to announce the third annual GW EGSA symposium entitled Temporal Slippages and Spatial Slidings: A Symposium on Failed Fixities that will take place on February 15, 2013. We look forward to seeing the wonderful submissions you all send in!

EGSA Symposium 2013 CFP

Temporal Slippages and Spatial Slidings: A Symposium on Failed Fixities 

A Palimpsest of Street Posters in Puducherry, India

In his book Provincializing Europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty suggests that “[w]e need to
consider why we find anachronism productive.” And in this symposium on slippages
and slidings of time, place, space, and identity, we hope to explore just that. Despite our discipline’s best efforts to encode certain texts to specific temporalities and geographies, graduate students of GWU English recognize that figures and objects are not static relics of time, and any attempt to keep them as such will only result in failure. By embracing that Halberstamian failure, though, as a site of productivity, we hope to explore the possibilities that lie within those literary, historical, artistic anachronisms that remain dynamically in flux.

Thus, the GWU EGSA board is excited to announce our third annual symposium entitled Temporal Slippages and Spatial Slidings: A Symposium on Failed Fixities. We invite panels and papers that explore subject matter on race, space, nationality, identity, queerness, translation, transitional figures, ghosts, and all manner of things that cannot and will not remain still. Further, what do these failures tell us about space, place, identity, and time, and in what ways do they tell us? In this symposium, we hope to foster conversation between presenters and participants across concentrations and even disciplines through the intersections of current graduate student work to explore Chakrabarty’s suggestions as a question: what productivity will we find in exploring anachronism?

Panel Submission Guidelines
The GWU EGSA board will first be accepting panel submissions for our symposium, then individual panel organizers will be accepting paper abstracts. Panel submissions should be sent, along with your contact information, to Molly Lewis at by 11:59 on October 26. Submissions must be 250 words or less and must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document or PDF.  Please include the words “EGSA Panel Submissions” in the subject line of your e-mail. Information on how to submit abstracts will be soon to follow.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Conferences and Abstracts

Thank you for those of you who could make Maia's "Writing Abstracts and Attending Conferences" session on Monday. For those of you who couldn't make it, we recommend checking out our blog post on Conferences and Abstracts. Also, Erin announced her plans to run a Public Speaking workshop this semester, so stay tuned for more information on that. In the meantime, please feel free to send us interesting CFPs that we can share with everyone. We also want to know which conferences you are attending so that you can carpool/room share with other grads!

Note: the deadline for abstracts for the NeMLA is coming up! Check out their site for more information.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

National Book Festival

Please join us for a walk around the Mall at the Library of Congress National Book Festival this weekend September 22-23. If you have never been before, you should definitely find a time to attend this weekend. Check out their website for the full schedule, author bios, and information about the tents. There is always a book tent with books for sale. You will have an opportunity to get books signed by attending authors, and this year, there is a tent which explores the top books that shaped America. Take advantage of this beautiful weather and come out for the National Book Festival.

Note: EGSA president, Tawnya Ravy, will be on the Mall starting 3:00 on Sunday with her little sister to see Avi (author of Confessions of Charlotte Doyle). If you would like to join them, please let her know ( Also, if anyone else is planning on attending, please share the details with our Facebook group so others can join you. This would be a great mentor/mentee event! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Upcoming Events

So great to see so many of you join us for last week's Happy Hour! Now we would like you to join us for our September EGSA Meeting tomorrow September 17 at 5:30pm in Rome 663. These meeting are open to GW English Grad students, and we welcome your attendance and participation!

Also this week:

Friday, September 21 - Join the members of ALCO (American Literature and Culture Organization) for their Fall kick-off event in Rome 771 at 4-5pm. Meet and greet the organizers and other students in the Americanist cohort. There will be wine and snacks and a brief session discussion by Elizabeth Pittman.

Saturday and Sunday September 22-23 - Join EGSA members at the National Book Festival located on the Mall in D.C. Details are forthcoming about times/meeting locations, but check out the schedule until then.

Stay tuned for more updates and events, and please remember to Like us on Facebook and subscribe to this blog!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

M.A.T.C.H. Reading Group

This is a reminder and a plug for tomorrow's M.A.T.C.H. meeting @ 6:15 in the Rome Hall vestibule where it will move to an available meeting space. The meeting will last an hour and then you are welcome to join in for dinner. This month's reading is from The Queer Art of Failure by Judith "Jack" Halberstam who will be visiting GWU at the end of this month. You can contact M. Bychowski ( for the reading or if you have any questions about the event. You are encouraged to come even if you are anxious about discussing Theory. Let me assure you, these opportunities to discuss theory outside of the classroom are invaluable! So take your mentee or your mentor, your study buddy or friend - this is a great opportunity to connect with your fellow grad students. 
For more information about M.A.T.C.H. or this event, check out the Facebook page!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Upcoming Department Events - September

Borrowed from PhD Comics
Welcome to a new year! We hope your first week of classes was not too stressful. As you know, we are currently working on developing the Mentor Program, so stay tuned for more information about that. In the meantime, we have drawn up a long list of upcoming events for our department. Many of these events are great opportunities to network with members of our program and others from outside the department. As these events approach, we will showcase them on this blog. If you have one you would like to add to this list, please leave a comment below or contact us at You can also Like us on Facebook and/or follow this blog via email using the box to the right.

September 7 Inaugural Dean Lecture 3:30pm Mt. Vernon Campus 
September 13 M.A.T.C.H. Theory Reading Group 5-6pm Rome Hall (Dinner to follow)
September 14 EGSA September Happy Hour 4-7 Location TBA
September 17 EGSA Board Meeting 5:30 Rome 771 (EGSA meetings are open to GWU English Grads)
September 20 American Literature and Culture Organization Event (Details TBA)
September 22-23 EGSA National Book Festival Outing (Details TBA)
September 24 Professional Development: Attending Conferences and Writing Abstracts

More information about our first event - the Dean's Lecture:
Please join us for the Inaugural Dean's Lecture on Friday, Sept. 7, at 3:30 p.m. on the Mt. Vernon Campus.

Dr. Gail Kern Paster will be delivering her talk entitled:  "Shylock, Othello and the Theatrical Coding of Difference: Picturing Shakespeare at the Folger" Images of Shylock and Othello from the Folger Shakespeare Library image database show how these figures of the Jew and the Moor as Other have been represented since the eighteenth century. These images also show how they have been presented for consumption and display. Setting images side by side has great potential for understanding the theatrical coding of difference in an historical trajectory. The talk is designed for a broad audience.
This event is open to the public and will be followed by a reception. Please see the attached flier for more information.

There is a free shuttle service available from Foggy Bottom:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome Back Orientation Information

Welcome Back! 

    Your 2012-2013 English Graduate Student Association Board is excited to see you all next Thursday August 23 10-12pm for Orientation. We realize you may have packed schedules for Thursday, but if you are free, please join us for an informal lunch following Orientation at Potbelly Sandwich (616 23rd St NW). 

    Finally we would like to invite everyone to attend the first EGSA Happy Hour of the new year at Tonic (2036 G St NW) from 4pm-7pm. We hope to see you all there, and please don't hesitate to email us with any questions or suggestions at

Tawnya Ravy
EGSA President

Remember, you can follow us via email using the gadget to the right, or "like" us on Facebook

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Writing Productivity

We hope your summer is both productive and fun so far. A collection of articles and links have been piling up on our desk concerning writing strategy, so we thought we would share the bounty at this point in the summer break (mid-way already!) just in case you could use a little extra motivation. It all began with an article in an Oprah magazine - a writer was attempting to find the most productive method to turn out work (play around with the work space, join writers groups, etc), when she stumbled on the idea of a Writer's Contract. The idea is simple: accountability. Studies show that accountability is the key to all sorts of life-changing success (weight loss, rehabilitation, etc). The link above shows you a sample contract, but the article details how to enforce it as well. This particular writer set up a standing "writing date" with a trusted friend who held her accountable for a certain amount of writing time. You, of course, can alter the terms of the contract to suit your individual writing needs. The author of the recent Chronicle article For the Love of Writing also recommends a form of accountability whether it is keeping a blog or posting publicly on Facebook. In addition the author provides seven reasons why she is a successful academic writer all summer long including writing every day. This last piece of advice is one we have seen across the board in productivity posts - to consider writing something, anything, each and every day. If staring at a blank screen every day sounds scary and decidedly unproductive, try turning it into a game. One of our colleagues recommended writing sites such as 750 Words and Writing Streak, both of which award you points (and sometimes other rewards) for reaching certain writing goals. Earning points and competing with other writers may just be the motivation you need to write every day, but it also proves successful because the goal (750 words for example) is manageable. Still, even with abundant ideas and manageable writing goals, the evil monster of procrastination can keep us from making progress. The best answer is to know yourself and what distracts you. Maybe it is where you work or when - if what it takes to squeeze work out of you is a closed door or a closet office (one idea from the O magazine), then give it a try. We have also found a concise list of 4 Ways to Kick Web Procrastination which provides links to web procrastination tools including sites that block social networks, other windows (besides your word processor), and the internet in general. It even suggests a site that bullies you when you stop writing! One final piece of writing advice we receive from seasoned academic writers is just this: the best article/paper/abstract/dissertation is one that is finished. We hope you find this post helpful, and remember you can follow this blog via email with the bar at the right or you can like us on Facebook to receive regular updates.
What other procrastination suggestions do you have? Have you tried other writing motivation websites? Do you have other productivity posts to suggest? Please share them with our readers in the comment box below.

Borrowed from PhD Comics