AMER 406: SENIOR PROJECT
OPTIONS & GUIDELINES
THE SENIOR PROJECT IS CAPSTONE COURSE FOR GRADUATING AMER STUDENTS. AS A SELF-DIRECTED, INDEPENDENTLY DEVELOPED RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT, THE SENIOR PROJECT SERVES AS THE CULMINATION OF EACH STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE. PROJECTS CAN BUILD ON WORK DONE IN ANY AMER COURSE AND CAN TAKE THE FORM OF A TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC PAPER OR A CREATIVE PROJECT (AS OUTLINED BELOW).
AMER 406 IS LED BY DEPARTMENT CHAIR, DR. EDWARD KOHN, WHO WILL ACT AS THE SUPERVISOR OF THE PROJECTS. EACH STUDENT WILL ALSO BE ASSIGNED A FACULTY CO-ADVISOR, WITH WHOM HE/SHE CAN ARRANGE TO MEET AT KEY POINTS DURING THE SEMESTER TO DISCUSS ANY PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE PROJECT. NOTE: EACH STUDENT MUST PRODUCE THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL PROJECT; GROUPS PROJECTS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
- ACADEMIC RESEARCH PAPER
For this option, students will choose a research topic/text related to American Studies and write a 15 to 20-page paper investigating it. Papers should demonstrate rigorous engagement with the chosen topic, linking it to larger cultural and historical issues and incorporating relevant secondary sources as support. The final research paper may be used as a writing sample for students planning to apply to graduate school.
Past projects include:
- A critique of neoliberalism using the theories of John Dewey (research paper & website);
- A comparative study of minority independent cinema in Turkey and the US;
- An examination of Henry David Thoreau’s ideas of state- and selfhood;
- A study of Turkmen People in Turkey and America;
- A comparative look at consumerism in the US and Turkey;
- An investigation of citizenship and race in the US;
- A post-colonial literary critique of William Faulkner's Light in August.
- CREATIVE WRITING/FILM/VIDEO/PERFORMANCE
This option invites students to translate a research topic in American Studies into a creative format, such as a short story, screenplay, play script, film/video, live performance, or digital platform. These projects should demonstrate originality in conception and execution, serious and complex engagement with substantial topics, and skill in the use of literary devices (such as narrative structure, characterization, dialogue, and figurative language), performance devices (such as plot structure, character, language, sound/music, spectacle), and/or editing techniques (such as cross-cutting, montage, composition, mise en scène).
Past projects include:
- A short story examining race relations in the US;
- A video game transposing poetry into a digital environment;
- A theatrical staging of God of Carnage;
- A short film examining the influence of US popular culture on a group of young Turkish students;
- A screenplay exploring a specific moment in US history (1965) through a fictionalized conversation among poets and writers of the period.