CURF Intro Post

Hi I’m Liam Tinker! I’m a sophomore majoring in English literature, mathematics, and philosophy (though only English lit is declared so far). I’m also pursuing a certificate in medieval and renaissance studies, and maybe a minor in Ancient Greek as well. For fun I enjoy reading sci-fi, cooking in my off campus apartment, and listening to music (e.g. the new Bjork, which is fabulous).

The project for which I’m receiving the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship is a podcast about utopian literature and thought, which in the height of creativity I have dubbed The Utopia Podcast. I am recording and releasing episodes on a monthly basis, and intend for each to focus on an individual work of utopian fiction. The goal is to assemble a loose history of the aforementioned literary genre and introduction to utopian studies (as mediated by the serial podcast format) while simultaneously performing my own research-based analysis of the works in question and arguing for the continued relevance of utopian texts to our philosophical, cultural, and political discourse. Along the way, I hope to approach issues of canon construction/deconstruction and genre as they interact with utopian studies. My mentor for the project is Professor Parris, who specializes in early modern literature and is assisting me in my research concerning early English utopian writers (Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Magaret Cavendish). 

Before I continue, I’d like to announce that my first episode is out now and can be found on Spotify! This time around I introduce the topic of utopian literature and discuss Ursula K Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” I did my utmost to make it conversational, approachable, and even a little humorous, so in the event you want to give it a listen I’ve put the link at the bottom of this post!

While my long-term goals are still evolving, I know that I want to continue my literary studies at the graduate level, with the hope of eventually teaching and conducting research as a university professor. To that end, I’m excited about the opportunity CURF presents for me to garner experience in humanities research. Because my findings will be delivered via podcast (as opposed to a more academically traditional medium like the essay) my project is also helping me to develop my communication skills, especially given that I intend it to be accessible to academic and non-academic audiences.


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