The objective of this grant is to expand undergraduate research in the humanities by providing an intensive summer research experience in which students will be introduced to important research questions, trained in methods of research and analysis, and guided in the development of critical thinking, independent learning, and communications skills. Students (selected by faculty directors) will enroll in a two-week intensive seminar taught by a faculty member at the beginning of the summer ten-week session. In the seminar students will be immersed in a focused topic and develop a research question that they will then investigate under the mentorship of the faculty member for the remaining eight weeks of the summer. Students will be required to meet with each other for peer writing activities at the Glasscock Center and to attend writing workshops created especially for this program through the Writing Center throughout the eight-week period. Faculty are encouraged to meet with students every two weeks after the intensive two-week seminar to discuss progress on each phase of the project after each of the Writing Center workshops.
Academic Year 2018-2019
“Adaptations Then and Now: Medieval England and Contemporary Culture”
Dr. Britt Mize | Associate Professor, Department of English
This advanced undergraduate seminar is a special engagement with “adaptation studies”: an interdisciplinary field that has mainly focused on novels turned into films, but whose theoretical features can offer us powerful tools for analyzing relations among cultural objects in any medium or mode, so long as they are connected by lines of influence.
We will explore a paradox that is central to my current research, and which unites present-day popular culture with medieval forms of cultural production: namely, the fact that most adaptations rely on the source’s authoritative, canonical status while simultaneously offering audiences something different in place of it. We will work together to test the usefulness of a completely new application of adaptation theory: while the theory has often been used to examine instances of medievalism (that is, modern adaptations of medieval sources), never before has it been applied to acts of adaptation happening within the Middle Ages. Because our culture and medieval culture share a similar attitude to canonical works, wishing simultaneously to reassert their importance and change them, the benefits of adaptation theory for the analysis of film versions of novels, for instance, may prove equally informative for the analysis of medieval acts of appropriation and transformation.
The outcome of this course will be your presentation of a viable proposal for an original research project to be carried out over the next academic year. What will you notice or figure out about adaptations of medieval literature—whether within the Middle Ages or in modern culture—that no one has noticed or figured out before?
“Religion and Media: Religious (In)Tolerance and Diversity in Digital Media Culture”
Dr. Heidi Campbell | Associate Professor, Department of Communication
This writing intensive class leads students through an exploration of how digital media and culture contribute to public understanding of religion in contemporary society. It is part of the Glasscock Center and University LAUNCH program Undergraduate Summer Scholars seminar program that prepares students to write a research thesis during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Student will be introduced to the interdisciplinary field of Digital Religion studies, which investigate how religious groups and individuals embrace, resist and/or adapt to digital technologies and the core values of digital culture in relation to their faith tradition. Through theoretical readings participants will seek to identify the common characteristics of digital media environments, how religion is practice through digital media, and consider how this may shape popular ideas about religion in broader society. This seminar will raise awareness for students about how the intersection of new media, religion and digital culture can highlight important issues framing public discourse about religion and understandings of cultural diversity within American society.
This seminar will not only be focused on theoretical reflection, but will provide practical instruction to students on how to formulate written research thesis. It will also provide instruction on how to construct research questions and study design. The aim is for students to write a research proposal for a study that investigates to what extent digital platforms and culture cultivate mindsets of religious tolerance/intolerance within digital culture. This will be done through individual writing assignments in and outside class and in part through a collaborative research run during the afternoons of the class, where students will learn how to analyze messages popular messages about religious diversity communicated through religious internet memes and write up these findings. Students will receive training in visual and textual discourse analysis and in a variety of digital research methods. This collaborative exercise will provide a springboard for students to develop their own research topic and select appropriate methods of analysis for their chosen research projects.