Undergraduate Research In Language & Literatures
Languages & Literatures encourages students to participate in the many undergraduate research opportunities at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. These research programs, which have earned a national reputation, enrich the education of students by helping them pursue particular topics of interest while receiving valuable mentorship from a professor. UW-Whitewater commits to providing students with resources and other means of support for their projects.
What Current Programs and Grants are Available?
Undergraduate Research Grants, Fall or Spring. Students apply to research particular topics during the semester with the help of faculty within the department. This opportunity is unpaid.
Research Scholars Program. Students serve as research assistants to faculty during the academic school year. This is awarded especially to departments that are traditionally underrepresented.
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Over the summer, a limited number of students receive a stipend to fund research within their discipline. This program runs full-time for ten weeks during the summer. Students are mentored by faculty within their department throughout the duration of this program.
Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP). Students pursue research in a discipline that interests them and receive mentorship from faculty. This funding is only available to students in their freshmen or sophomore years. Students may work up to five hours a week.
L&S Student Travel Grant. Students go to a national, international, or regional professional meeting for them to present their research. This program complements the experience that students gain by attending NCUR (National Conference on Undergraduate Research).
What types of research projects have been done by past Languages & Literatures students?
Mentor: Dr. Dana Prodoehl
Research: Queer Women's Literature: Defining the Canon
Although there has been an improvement in recent years of diversity, there is still a limited amount of widely available fictional literature pertaining to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), or queer, community in the mainstream. Works within this niche that include queer women ages 18 to 25 with a noteworthy intersection of sexuality and gender, and literary merit, are even rarer and often have formulaic themes. In order to provide queer university students with readily accessible works that fit this criteria, and to improve the current queer women's writing scene, there needs to be a study of recent fictional works and what is missing from this narrative. Along with it will be an anthology of fictional pieces that not only break away from common tropes and provide missing elements, but also show literary skill and understanding of diversity. What is rather interesting about most queer literature is that the genre tends to avoid the common university age group of 18-25, instead focusing on either young adult (13-18) or older adult (35 and older) works. What is available for students often focuses on self-discovery and coming out of the closet. Furthermore, there seems to be a larger variety of literature pertaining to both queer men and heterosexual women. Due to this void found in queer women's literature, there is not only less media portrayal and marketed to this demographic, but a deficient understanding and acknowledgment of their existence from those outside of the target group. This project seeks to both spread awareness of this issue, and help to remedy the problem through the anthology.
Mentor: Dr. Donald Jellerson
Research: Film Methodology and Queer Theory
The Film Studies minor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a new and growing program which invites students to join the conversation of cinema studies, a field of which involves a unique vocabulary and set of tools for scholarly discussion and writing. To aid with such endeavors, myself and Film Studies Coordinator, Dr. Donald Jellerson, aim to create a complete, comprehensive online Film Studies manual, which will include text and image glossaries, film clips, instructional video segments, downloadable worksheets, and interactive quizzes, available for Film Studies students by the Fall 2014 semester. As the manual is developed, I will also be involved in assisting Dr. Jellerson in research for his academic book on the cinema of mid-century director Max Ophüls, through the theoretical lens of Queer Theory, providing an integrative experience which will guide the formulation of the online manual, as I directly employ the lexicon of terms which the manual will provide. Research will include historical, technical, and theoretical investigation, to be documented in an annotated bibliography which I will contribute to the completed text. To create the online manual, a glossary of key terms will be collected, cross-referenced by research into authoritative texts in the field. The online format allows us to add information to the documents, provide additional worksheets and quizzes, and track the interest of Film Studies students in supplementary material. With feedback from students and instructors, the online manual will develop as a tailored resource for the specific courses and interests of the Film Studies program.
Mentor: Dr. Donald Jellerson
Research: Producing a Modern Edition of a Renaissance Play
Originally printed in 1571 and again in 1582, The excellent Comedie of two the moste faithfullest Freendes, Damon and Pithias by Richard Edwards is a work largely lost in history, suffering from being a pre-Shakespearean comedy. The friendship of Damon and Pithias as characters in the story is a famous example of true friendship. We aim to modernize this valuable literary work, originally written in cryptic Renaissance English, into a reliable and understandable version for future generations without diminishing the structure and meaning of the original language. To accomplish this, we have created a diplomatic edition of the play, an exact copy of the original text, using scans of the original document and creating .rtf documents and html mark-ups. Using this completed diplomatic edition, we will create a modern text version complete with textual notes, glosses, annotations, and history about the play. When finished, we will have a relevant, complete, and accurately modernized version of Damon and Pithias for digital publication as well as an audio recording of the play produced in conjunction with the Theatre department.
Where can more Information be found?
UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Research website: http://www.uww.edu/urp.
Dr. Janine Tobeck, Languages & Literatures professor
Dr. Catherine Chan, Director of Undergraduate Research