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Michael Subialka

Michael Subialka
Instructor, Collegiate Writing: The Art of Dreams

“I have always loved argumentative writing. It's a chance to express yourself while communicating something important," Professor Subialka has said. And that's only one of the reasons that he is motivated by teaching students who are interested in improving their writing and sharpening their critical skills. In fact, he claims, "thinking critically and convincing others are fundamentally important, not just in college but also in the workplace and in personal life. Few skills will do more to open new doors to students, whether they are planning on studying English or Physics or anything else." This is why he loves the combination of critical analysis and argumentation offered by the Immersion program's Collegiate Writing course, which this year will aim at developing academic writing techniques while investigating what it means for us to awaken and achieve consciousness, both as individuals and as a society.

Professor Subialka's own research focuses on the way that philosophy and cultural production relate to one another in the social world, a topic on which he received his PhD from the University of Chicago's prestigious Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. According to him, "understanding what it means to achieve a higher level of consciousness has motivated thinkers from many fields, from religion and ancient myth to modern psychology, from artists and writers to politicians like Ghandi. This is an ideal topic for honing the analytical writing skills that are so important to communicating effectively to a wide variety of audiences, in college and beyond."

In addition to teaching at the University of Chicago for more than eight years in various capacities, Professor Subialka has worked with an incredible mix of students from across the world: from Turkey, where he taught for a year at the prestigious Bilkent University in Ankara, to the University of Oxford, where he led small tutorials for three years as a fellow of St Hugh’s College. He is now an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian at the University of California, Davis. In these contexts, he has worked with students of many ages (high school, college, and graduate school) and backgrounds, focusing on how they can develop their writing, critical thinking, and creativity together. He especially likes to challenge his students to come up with new and exciting ideas, noting that "the more students stretch themselves, the more rewarding the results. I love to see students gaining new insights and expressing them in compelling, well-crafted essays. Working together with them in a small community of thinkers is incredibly rewarding and inspiring."

His former students agree. According to one, Professor Subialka “taught me that writing is a craft, not just a task.” "Michael," another agreed, "helped us connect our ideas to a bigger picture. He was the best!"

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