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 2015-2016
Dr. Britt Mize | Associate Professor, Department of English
During the first two weeks of this Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar Seminar, the participants engaged in an intensive study of a number of films, literary texts, popular songs, comic book, and graphic novel appropriations of the Old English epic Beowulf. Students discussed the environment and conditions of the original tale’s making, which served as a common reference point for the group’s discussion of the extraordinarily diverse subsequent material. The seminar concluded with a discussion of the historical and present-day uses of Beowulf within the academy. Thus immersing themselves for more than four hours per day, morning and afternoon, each scholar gained an understanding of the place Beowulf continue to occupy in modern and contemporary culture, as well as theoretical perspectives and analytical tools that will enable them to set out on the path of an individual research topic related to the seminar’s themes.
Life and Death at Sea in Ancient Greece and Rome
Dr. Deborah Carlson | Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
The goal of this seminar was to examine the topic of death at sea in Greco-Roman antiquity. Students began with an evaluation of the literary and historical accounts of seafaring, shipwrecks, and death at sea, which will serve as a catalyst for evaluation of the meager but direct archaeological evidence for ancient seafarers, which includes epitaphs and so-called sailor cemeteries. Assigned readings were in translation, though students with classical language training had the opportunity to delve deeper into question of linguistic symbolism and etymology. Other students interesting in physical anthropology took up the challenge of determining why human remains are rarely found on ancient shipwrecks. In the process of exploring their individual interests, participants became familiar with the research methods, scholarly resources, conventions, and methodologies that classical philologists and archaeologists use as they develop their own research, writing, and oral presentation skills.
Narrative, Conversion, and New Media from Augustine to the App
Dr. Nandra Perry | Associate Professor, Department of English
This seminar used the genre of the Christian conversion narrative as a starting point for exploring the epistemological and ethical value attached to first-person narrative in the West, from pre-modern to post-modern times. How is our understanding of what counts as “truth” mediated through the telling of “real life” stories? How do “canonical” language, ritual, and story work to authorize narratives of personal assimilation and transformation? These questions were contextualized within an emergent critical discourse about the relationship of religious culture to the media through and within which they circulate. By the end of the immersive seminar, students were able recognize the major narrative features of Christian conversion narratives, theorize the relationship between medium and message as it relates to generic conventions of conversion, appreciate the influence of such narratives on modern and post-modern narratives of personal transformation, as well as formulate and pursue an independent research topic related to the seminar’s themes.
Sociology of Community
Dr. Sarah N. Gatson | Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
This seminar involved an analysis of the social construction, social experience, and community as an institution and as a set of everyday relationships and networks. Participants discussed particular concepts of community and its attendant institutions and roles as important cornerstones of ways to structure social interactions on various levels. Particular attention was paid to relations of power and inequality in society. The seminar sought to challenge our taken-for-granted notions about these topics and ask the sociological questions, “How constructed and/or natural is community? What is community, and what is it for?” The seminar dealt primarily with these issues over the last two decades, with an eye simultaneously towards a historical grounding of our understanding of contemporary issues.