Students in Adjunct Assistant Professor of English Jonathan Gottschall's
First-Year Program seminars are learning more than how to analyze literary
works from scientific perspectives, the stated topic of the course.
They're also learning a lot about giving conference presentations and
publishing their research.
Gottschall's spring 2002 seminar, titled "The Heroine with A Thousand
Faces," focused on representations of heroines in traditional
narratives from a broad range of diverse cultures and historical periods,
with the goal of identifying the features that shift and the features
that remain constant in the depiction of heroines. The group's research
was presented at the Midwestern Conference on Film Language and Literature.
In addition, they -- with Gottschall -- co-authored a paper, forthcoming
this year in the journal Human Nature, a publication described as
being "dedicated to advancing the interdisciplinary investigation of the
biological, social and environmental factors which underlie human behavior."
The article is titled "Patterns of characterization in folk tales across
geographic regions and levels of cultural complexity: literature as a
neglected source of quantitative data"; co-authors are, in addition to
Gottschall, Rachael Berkey, Chagrin Falls, OH; Mitchell Cawson, Dorval,
Quebec; Carly Drown, West Chazy, NY; Matthew Fleischner, Westhampton,
MA; Melissa Glotzbecker, Ganesvoort, NY; Kimberly Kernan, Shelburne,
NH; Tyler Magnan, St. Albans, VT; Kate Muse, Troy, NH; Celeste
Ogburn, Lafargeville, NY; Stephen Patterson, Ganesvoort, NY; Christopher
Skeels, Potsdam, NY; Stephanie St. Joseph, Brownville, NY; Shawna Weeks,
Ewa Beach, HI; Erin Welch, Troy, NY; and Alison Welsh, Manchester Center, VT.
Similar work has continued this year with content analyses of literary
works to gain information on questions from literary studies and questions
from the scientific study of behavior and psychology. The topic of the
spring 2003 seminar is "Generating Knowledge." The group's research
was presented at the Northwestern Modern Language Association meeting,
as well as at two on-campus conferences, the Undergraduate Conference
on Literature and the Festival of Science. Work coming out of both projects
will also be formally presented this year at the Modern Language
Association meetings in San Diego and the Human Behavior and Evolution
Society meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Students in this year's seminar are Elizabeth Allison, North Creek, NY;
Peter Cahill, North Hampton, NH; Jason DeRosa, Killingworth, CT;
Kaia Klockeman, Dundas, MN; Johanna Martin, Champlain, NY; Turner
Masland, Concord, NH; Jonathan Pakan, Syracuse, NY; Jonathan Rea,
Falmouth, MA; Trisha Ritchie, Fulton, NY; and Adam Tapply, Agawam,
Posted: April 23, 2003