Last Wednesday and Thursday, February 27 and 28, senior English Literature majors presented their paper proposals from their Senior Seminar class at a symposium in the Alumni Room. The room was packed full of friends, peers, fellow literature majors and literature professors all listening and responding to two hours of proposals and questions.
This year’s seminar was focused on Gothic novels and taught by Associate Professor Emily Anderson. She was the moderator for both of the afternoons’ panels.
The seniors were broken up in their presentations into panels of three based on related topics and there were three panels a day.
The first panel on Wednesday was comprised of Angie Martin, Sneha Subramaniam, and Kate Glen and their common topic was that each of their proposals “had a common emphasis on a certain kind of threat,” Anderson said.
Anderson asked each panel two questions to be answered by each member of the panel and then she opened the discussion to the audience. The first question allowed the students to tell what their thesis was and the second question usually dealt with the commonality of the topic that the members of the panel shared. Members of the staff and student body alike asked the literature majors questions regarding their topic. Anderson said each student had to talk for a certain amount of time about his or her topic and the panels lasted roughly 30 minutes each. After the first two panels each day, there was a ten minute break to allow everyone to move around and eat snacks.
The symposium fulfills the English Literature major’s oral requirement. The process allows the students to clearly formulate their paper ideas, after both being asked questions about and receiving advice on the topic they chose. If a student was asked a question about his or her topic he or she had not thought of, they would respond in a manner similar to Martin’s when she said, “That’s a really good question; I hadn’t thought of that. I will have to look into it. Thank you.”
The attitude of everyone in the room was very professional and respectful towards the presenters. The students have not written their papers yet, because part of the symposium is to make their ideas clearer and to generate new ideas based on suggestions by their professors and peers.
The third presenters on Wednesday were Laura Rogers, Laura Zuber, and Jen Wolf who all focused on different aspects of Jane Eyre. The other group focused on women in the different novels the class read and they were Sara Torina, Andie Allison, and Sera Hayes. On Thursday, the first group focused on the language of the different books and its members were Geoff Brown, Benjamin Barger, and Emily Mutchler. The second group, comprised of Vanessa Jeske, Carina Saxon, and Sara Milner, also focused on Jane Eyre. The final group focused on different topics in Dracula and was made up of Wil Anderson, Miriam Gillan, and Quinnetta Bellows.