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Undergraduate Summer Scholars

The objective of the program is to expand undergraduate research in the humanities by providing an intensive summer research experience in which students are 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. The students enrolled in a two-week intensive seminar taught by their respective Faculty Directors. In the seminar the students were immersed in a focused topic and developed a research question that they continued to investigate under the mentorship of the faculty member for the remaining eight weeks of the summer. Students attended writing workshops created especially for this program through the Writing Center on topics including: How to Use the Library;  How to Formulate a Research Question and Answer It (methods, research); Writing a Proposal Topic; and Peer Review of Draft.


Academic Year 2019-2020

“Marginalized Groups and Individual Differences: An Interdisciplinary Perspective of Social Dynamics”

Director: 
Dr. Adrienne Carter-Sowell
 | Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and Africana Studies

This seminar will primarily serve as an introduction to the academic scholarship and interdisciplinary research focused on perceived experiences of members of marginalized and/or underserved groups residing in the United States. The students will be immersed in the foundational to present day, published studies on the factors of influence for individuals with intersectional (racial, gender, and/or sexual orientation) identities, resulting in a chronic, complex, meaningful, minority status. This course will also offer students the theoretical and methodological skills necessary to contribute to the literature in the areas of individual differences as well as group processes.

Undergraduate Scholars:
Lincoln El-Amin
Chloe Harrison


“Sociology of Community: Food Systems, Food Access, & Embodied Citizenship”

Director: 
Dr. Sarah Gatson
 | Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

This seminar’s intensive coursework will be focused around disability, the built environment, and the spatial and place-based work that goes into creating and maintaining inequitable access to the food system, and the agriculture and food production in particular. The students will be incorporated into the Collaborate Ethnography Lab wherein the Everybody Eats/Urban Re-Rural food security and food justice project is grounded. They will be trained in collaborative, multi-sited, extended case ethnographic methodologies, and their development as both independent and collaborative scholars will be fostered.

Undergraduate Scholars:
Grace Lu


“The Ethics of Social Punishment”

Director: 
Dr. Linda Radzik
 | Professor, Department of Philosophy

In this course, we will consider the means by which it is permissible for ordinary people to hold one another accountable for moral wrongdoing. Punishment is a morally significant topic because punishment, by definition, involves the intentional infliction of harm or hard treatment on someone. The philosophical literature on punishment has focused almost exclusively on the punishment of crimes by the state. We will focus instead on the ethics of informal, social punishment – that is, the ways in which social equals in everyday life sanction one another for moral transgressions.

Undergraduate Scholars:
Jordan Dunlap
Jacob Espinoza-Stewart
Tory Matin
Eric Nash
Ava Ryan


Academic Year 2018-2019

“Adaptations Then and Now: Medieval England and Contemporary Culture”

Director: 
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?

Undergraduate Scholars:
Lauren Gonzalez
Ryan Randle
Sarah Trcka


“Religion and Media: Religious (In)Tolerance and Diversity in Digital Media Culture”

Director: 
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.

Students 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.

Undergraduate Scholar:
Morgan Knobloch


Academic Year 2017-2018

“The Trials of History”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Richard J. Golsan, Distinguished Professor, Department of International Studies

Undergraduate Scholars:
Sarah Kilpatrick
Trey Dietz
Matthew Kiihne

This course will focus on several historical trials from the post-World War II era that deal with the crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its Allies and Collaborators during World War II. To use a somewhat dated term, these trials are “world-historical” in their implications for several reasons. First they either introduced or deployed in both national and international contexts the newly minted concepts of “genocide” and “Crimes against humanity.” Today, these concepts shape international prosecutions in places as far flung as Cambodia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, as well as in Latin America. They also inform efforts to explore the outer reaches of human cruelty and human evil, and they impact as well international politics and interventions and also international human rights and aid efforts around the globe.


“Adaptation Then and Now: Medieval England and Contemporary Culture”

Facutly Director:
Dr. Britt Mize, Associate Professor, Department of English

Undergraduate Scholars:
Meghan Collier
Cody Ellis

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?

 


Academic Year 2016-2017

“Beowulf’s Afterlives”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Britt Mize, Associate Professor, Department of English

Undergraduate Scholars:
Patrick Dolan
Claire Nowka

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 continues 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.


“Epidemics in Literature, Literature as Epidemic”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Jessica Howell, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Undergraduate Scholars:
Clella Evans
Kimberly Fayard

This course examined representations of epidemics and the consequences of epidemics in literature. It also engaged the ways in which literature itself has been perceived as a mode of contagion causing social unrest, moral corruption or somatic illness. It examined how authors envisioned epidemics changing social relationships and physical environments, as well as how these authors develop innovative narrative patters and styles to reflect the spread of epidemic diseases and the consequent effects on human communications. The students studied works such as Mary Shelley’s Last Man, stories by Edgar Allen Poe, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. They developed skills of close literary analysis, as well as became adept at applying theoretical concepts drawn from medical history, women and gender studies, psychoanalytic criticism, and literature and science studies. The students were encouraged to see the course as a foundation to developing their own unique topic. They practiced presentation skills by choosing and speaking about an extract related to epidemics in contemporary culture on the last day of class. The course learning outcomes included the development of interdisciplinary research skills, peer collaboration and editing, crafting a proposal for a research paper of significant length. These skills will enhance the students’ professional development and allow them to be competitive for future graduate study in English.


“The Body and/in Performance”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Kirsten Pullen 
| Associate Professor, Department of Performance Studies

Undergraduate Scholars:
Nicole Green

This seminar parallels Dr. Pullen’s current book project, Theory for Theatre Studies: The Body, and the students followed the monograph’s argument and explored its case studies. The book borrows Julie Holledge and JoAnne Tompkins’ understanding of the three bodies of performance: the body of the performer (which includes training and technique, as well as social, cultural, gender, and racial identity), the performing body (the body as it appears in performance, as a character or persona, and aided by costume, make-up, prosthetics, and other non-physical aspects), and the body of the audience (an understanding of an audience as sharing a particular time and place of performance and therefore a particular orientation toward that performance).

The course was intended to introduce the students to several performance studies considerations of teh body, and to prepare students to undertake their own research on embodied performance practices, audiences, and performers. At the end of the course, they were able to articulate different theories of the body in performance, analyze key performances that highlight the performing body on its own an din relation to the audience, use our own bodies in performance, and write a proposal for individual research projects.

The course professionalized students by introducing them to the modes of performance studies research and the written and oral avenues for communication that research. In addition, they’ll be able to follow the process of academic writing, editing, and publishing through the book’s initial draft to final proof.


Academic Year 2015-2016

“Beowulf’s Afterlives”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Britt Mize, Associate Professor, Department of English

Undergraduate Scholars:
Erin Simoni, Department of English
Christina Owens, 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 continues 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”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Deborah Carlson, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Undergraduate Scholars:
Brook Kaiser, Department of Anthropology
Victoria Hodges, Department of Anthropology
Holly Hayden, Department of Anthropology
Jonathan Ramos, Department of Anthropology
Steven Ramos, 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”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Nandra Perry, Associate Professor, Department of English

Undergraduate Scholars:
Caroline Sonnier, Department of English
Kelsey Morgan, Department of Philosophy

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”

Faculty Director:
Dr. Sarah Gatson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Undergraduate Scholars:
Hannah Klein, Department of Sociology
Heidi Jauregui, Department of International Studies

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.