Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Headlines and Titles of Works
Q. I see in CMOS that civil titles, such as “secretary of state,” should be lowercase unless appearing as, for example, “Secretary of State Smith.” What about titles such as “assistant secretary of state for bureaucracy and obfuscation”? Should “bureaucracy and obfuscation” be lowercase to match “assistant secretary of state” or should it be capitalized as the name of a specific department?
A. Chicago style lowercases the title of the person but uppercases the department name: Jordan Smith is assistant secretary of bureaucracy and obfuscation. The Department of Bureaucracy and Obfuscation requires advance notice of emergency absences. Anyone who works for Bureaucracy and Obfuscation should keep her resume up to date.