Applications for Spring 2020 UPREPs will be accepted until November 22, 2019.
The English Department is offering seven (7) Undergraduate Professional and Research Experience Program (UPREP) projects for Spring 2020.
UPREPs are only for ENGL majors with a 2.5+ GPA (overall/major). The application deadline is 5:00pm, November 22, 2019.
Students selected will do the following:
- receive $750
- serve as a research or project assistant for a faculty member for up to 100 hours
- submit an evaluation report of his/her experience at the end of the term, or develop an ENGL 485 in conjunction with the project.
To apply please complete the online application here and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off a hard copy at LAAH 352 by the deadline. Students may apply to more than one professor, but will need to complete an application for each one.
The Spring 2020 opportunities:
Dr. Rich Cooper: Amazing Illustrations: A Century of SF Pulp Art
Dr. Donald Dickson: Editorial Assistant, Seventeenth-Century News
Dr. Susan Egenolf: Maria Edgeworth Letters Project
Dr. Marian Eide: The Book Club
Dr. Margaret Ezell: Making Meaning: Preparing for the Folger Institute Summer Workshop 2020
Dr. Kris May: Shakespearean Performance History
Dr. Britt Mize: Beowulf’s Afterlives
Description: This project collects and curates digital reproductions of illustrative artwork from the first science fiction pulp magazine, Amazing Stories. If Amazing Stories was central in establishing the basic parameters of science fiction, which it was, then this project maintains that the associated illustrative artwork has been just as integral to the science fiction imagination. This project aims to give those neglected archival relics their critical due by providing a database where scholars can peruse them at high speed and study them in high-def.
Student Involvement: The student involved would be responsible for learning to operate the database & website, curating and entering data into the database, and filling any gaps in the data, which will require trips to the archive.
Required Skills & Interest: Science Fiction & Fantasy; Visual Design and Illustrations; Database Operation & Design; Website Design; Archival Research; & Digital Humanities
Benefits to Student & Faculty: For the student: learning website design, database construction and operation, and archival research methods. For the faculty: speed along the most labor intensive part of the project such that the website can be finalized.
Description: I am requesting a UPREP student for Spring 2020 to help me edit Seventeenth-Century News. Working on this project would help the student gain valuable practical experience as a magazine or journal editor, while helping me substantially with my research. Seventeenth-Century News is a book review journal sponsored by the Milton Society of America, though it seeks to keep its international readership abreast of the best new scholarship in all fields of seventeenth-century studies—art, history, literature, including continental and American, music, and philosophy. Reviews run usually about one thousand words. Seventeenth-Century News is now published digitally here. My editorial assistant would help edit reviews to make them
conform to our house style as well as conduct regular correspondence with contributors. The student would also assist me in laying out the issue with InDesign and then uploading the issue to the Texas Digital Libraries site. He or she would gain invaluable practical experience.
Student Involvement: In addition to editorial work on SCN, as time allows, the student would also help me work on the Oxford edition of the Prose Letters of John Donne. A student assistant who would like to learn something about scholarly editing could (1) help me establish the copy-text and verify it against the first printed editions, and (2) help track down material in the library for notes and annotations. The student would learn about copy-editing, laying out the issue with InDesign, and uploading to the Texas Digital Libraries site. He or she would gain invaluable practical
experience.The student would also learn something about scholarly editing.
Required Skills & Interest: Basic computer skills are required, such as familiarity with Microsoft Word. Knowledge of InDesign would be helpful. This is an opportunity for a student to learn—through hands-on experience—about editing.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: In the past eight years, nearly all of my former UPREPs have found employment as editors or technical writers in part through the experience the gained with me.
Description: Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) was an Anglo-Irish author of children’s literature, moral tales, and novels. In the early nineteenth century, Edgeworth’s Irish novels, such as Castle Rackrent and Ennui, and her novels of manners, such as Belinda, were more popular than Jane Austen’s novels. Edgeworth and her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth penned early advice books for parents on raising and educating children. The Edgeworth family (with more than twenty children) put into practice many Enlightenment philosophies for educating children in the arts and sciences. Edgeworth was active in the management of her family’s estate in Ireland and wrote about literature, politics, agriculture and education in her voluminous correspondence. The recently developed Maria Edgeworth Letters Project is locating and describing Edgeworth letters held in libraries all over the world. Whenever possible, we are transcribing and coding the letters to be posted on the Maria Edgeworth Letters hub. This is a chance to be involved in developing a major resource for literary and historical research. An independent study project on Edgeworth and/or contemporary women writers would be possible.
Student Involvement: I am Associate Editor on the recently formed Maria Edgeworth Letters digital humanities project (https://mariaedgeworth.org/ –the ME Letters hub is
just up). We are looking for an undergraduate student interested in working on the first and second phases of the project; the student would be researching the locations and descriptions of Edgeworth letters held in libraries worldwide (an undergraduate researcher at Wake Forest University is also working on the letters location spreadsheet), transcribing letters and working on TEI coding of letters.
Required Skills & Interest: Interest in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writing and/or Irish literature would be welcome. The student does not need experience with TEI coding but should be willing to learn (we will provide TEI template and any support needed). Good research skills and interest in transcription of manuscript letters are essential.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The student would learn basic transcription practices, enhance his/her/their research skills, learn TEI coding, contribute to an ongoing public literature resource (and be credited for that work), and gain the additional professional experience of working with our chief editor Jessica Richard at Wake Forest University and an undergraduate researcher there. The professor would benefit by having assistance in locating Edgeworth letters and in the transcription and coding of the letters. Whatever we are able to accomplish in spring 2020 will enhance the site as a resource for researchers at every level of scholarship.
Description: At the same time we are witnessing a decline in the number of majors here and at many universities, readers across the country are engaging communally in serious reading practices in book groups that meet in person and appear also in virtual forms like Goodreads.com and the PBS News Hour/New York Times book club. I am applying sociological and literary theoretical methods to understand this phenomenon, including participant observation, interviews, and surveys. I have some preliminary hypotheses: 1) the centrality of cultural capital in modern bourgeois life, 2) the pleasure of a hobby pursued with passionate seriousness, and 3) the actual import of that old platitude about the “the life of the mind,” and 4) the value of community building in a neoliberal context.
Student Involvement: Students would 1) read the scholarship of the last decade on reception theory and reader response, 2) visit book clubs meeting on campus and at the local public libraries and share their observations in written form, 3) work with me to develop a survey instrument, 4) conduct interviews with participants with my supervision. Students could enroll in a 485 to write a thesis on the topic.
Required Skills & Interest: Writing and observational skills. An interest in reading advanced literary critical theory. Investment in a thesis on the subject.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The student could develop an undergraduate thesis for LAUNCH drawing on the materials. I would value additional participant observations for my own research.
Description: “Making Meaning: Hands-On Basic Paleography and Book Production,” is the title of the Folger Institute Workshop which will be hosted at A&M summer 2020. In July 2020, Texas A&M University will welcome students and scholars from across the country to take part in a locally-hosted Folger Institute course. Integrating traditional seminar-based discussion with experiential inquiry, this course will investigate the physical means of knowledge production during the early modern period. While part of the work will involve hands on practice with making paper, ink, type, and creating texts, part will be devoted to the discussion of daily readings which raise issues about changing media technologies and how they interact, the relationship between handwriting and printing through the lens of discussions about contemporary digital media and the future of print.
Student Involvement: As part of the UPREP program, the student will play an integral role in preparing for hosting the week-long summer workshop, focusing on the creation of a workshop manual and reading handbook. The student would be involved with researching both rare books and manuscripts in the Cushing as well as digital archives and also exploring contemporary debates over digital and print media.
Required Skills & Interest: An interest in book history, early modern studies, and the history of media would be beneficial but the actual hands-on skills described in the project would be acquired over the semester.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: As part of this UPREP, the student will have the opportunity to hone their research skills under the guidance of Dr. Ezell and Kevin O’Sullivan (Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Cushing Library), during the appraisal and selection of primary sources to be utilized as examples during the Folger Institute course. The student will also gain first-hand experience of the design and promotion of a high-profile public humanities outreach event, involving multiple campus partners. In return, the faculty will benefit from the additional assistance in making preparations for this ambitious program.
Description: The World Shakespeare Bibliography Online (WSB Online) contains entries for professional Shakespearean performances (plays, mixed media performances, musical performances, films, opera and ballet premiers, recorded music, radio broadcasts, and staged and recorded readings) from all over the world. Performance entries in the WSB Online include information about where and when the plays are produced, theatre companies, key personnel (director, dramaturg, translator, adapter, set design, costume design, etc.), production languages, and reviews. The student selected for the Shakespearean Performance History project will learn about all these production aspects and will also learn how to create entries for the World Shakespeare Bibliography.
Student Involvement: The student selected for the Shakespearean Performance History project will gather data through theatre-company websites, occasional correspondence with theatre companies, books, theatre publications and databases, performance reviews, and articles; will determine what data needs to be included in the WSB Online; will research histories of particular productions; and will compose and submit entries to the WSB’s editors. The student will be guided through each stage of this process and will also get to see the entries published to the WSB Online.
Required Skills & Interest: The student should be interested in Shakespearean performances and researching these performances. The student should be familiar with searching for items using electronic databases and Evans Library’s LibCat and Get It For Me systems. The student needs to be able to use Microsoft Word and Google Drive (including spreadsheets). Although reading knowledge of a foreign language isn’t required, it’s useful for this project. A detail-oriented, intellectually curious student would be best for this position.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The student will develop skills in research and bibliography and will learn a great deal about Shakespearean performances, as well as trends in production techniques and performance scholarship, from all over the world. Additionally, the student will benefit from involvement in an ongoing and well-established digital project that is crucial to early modern and Shakespearean scholarship. This could help prepare the student for a career in editing or publishing as well as provide training that will be useful in graduate school. The meticulous research and analytic skills gained by participating in this digital project, not to mention the exposure to arts and culture around the world, will stand this student in good stead. Faculty members will benefit from the student’s work because it will directly impact the number of performances added to the WSB Online, which will make the WSB a better research tool for faculty. The WSB’s workload is always high, and there is a backlog of performances to be entered into the WSB Online.
Description: Continued development of an online database of all adaptations of the Old English epic, Beowulf. At present the database contains about 450 entries and can be seen at beowulf.dh.tamu.edu.
Student Involvement: The work will include information gathering and fact-checking, with additional tasks being formulated to fit the student’s interests and abilities.
Required Skills & Interest: The project requires a detail-oriented person who can keep good records and manage tasks in a highly organized way. An interest in medieval literature is helpful but not necessary.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The benefit to me is continued development of this major research project, which I hope to complete in 2020. The student will benefit from direct engagement with ongoing faculty research, with the possibility of an ENGL 485 built around little-known Beowulf materials in modern pop culture.