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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Villanova Match Research Program with Dr. Megan Quigley

The new Villanova Match Program for Freshmen includes a project with English faculty member, Dr. Megan Quigley.  The Villanova Match Research program provides opportunities for motivated freshmen to pursue undergraduate research in the Spring 2014 semester.  Freshmen applicants do not need substantial experience as they will serve as research assistants to faculty mentors. If selected for the Match program, freshmen students will conduct research for 10 hours per week for 10 weeks for which they will receive a $1000 stipend for the Spring 2014 semester.  Current English majors might want to encourage Freshmen they know to apply for the program.

Dr. Quigley's project description:  Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Language, and Form
Having worked in book publishing before my academic career, I believe this research project, which combines scholarly research with learning the tricks of the trade of book publishing, could provide a unique opportunity for a liberal arts student.

Modernist Fiction and Vagueness: Philosophy, Language, and Form is a book manuscript that investigates the intertwined history of philosophy and literature in the modern British novel.  The final book manuscript is due to the editor at Cambridge University Press on April 15, 2014, though substantial publishing work will continue after that date.  The project argues that we would better understand modernist fiction if we appreciated its connections to early twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy.  Building on recent interest in the connections among analytic philosophy, pragmatism, and modernist literature, I offer new readings of novels by Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce that link aesthetic and philosophical vagueness. Overall, I maintain that debates about vagueness instigated the transition in the form and language of the modernist novel. The question of vagueness—how precise language can possibly be and how it can match up with our experience of the world—is still a thriving topic in philosophy, computer science, and linguistics.  I argue that we should read vagueness—whether it be indefinability, fuzziness, or the reconceptualization of literary realism—not as an aesthetic deficiency but as a defining attribute of much modernist fiction.

This research position would help a freshman student to learn the skills necessary for researching, editing, proofreading and, finally, publishing an interdisciplinary liberal arts book.  Specifically the tasks would include:
--Tracking down literary and philosophical texts for citations, including complex primary source treasure hunting.
--Helping with work on permissions (contacting researching libraries, etc.).
--Proofreading and learning to use the Chicago Manual of Style.
--Learning about the publishing business: author bios, blurbs, industry standards.
--Researching competitive works on philosophy and literature.
--Drafting book jacket copy.

Dr. Megan Quigley in her office
To apply for the Villanova Match program, submit a resume and cover letter directly to Dr. Quigley (megan.m.quigley@villanova.edu).  Please include in your one-page resume your first semester GPA, high school GPA, and SAT/ACT scores in addition to your academic, professional, and relevant experiences and skills.  Please also include in your one-page cover letter your motivations and qualifications for this research assistantship.  Dr. Quigley will review your application materials (resume and cover letter) and will contact you to interview for the position in early February.