Deadwood Seminar

Today’s Daily Deac takes a look at an innovative class.  Mary Dalton, Professor of Communication and Media and Film Studies, taught a seminar this semester on Deadwood and the Western.  Mary is a member of the Class of 1983 and her teaching interests within the Communication department are in media studies focusing on film and television, especially the intersection of media and culture.  Mary shared the news of a fun project she’s been working on with her class.

“Over half of the students in the class (11) are graduating seniors, and we’ve been working all semester on a volume that will be published in early May. The volume, Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on Deadwood, is available to read free online and available for purchase in paperback or Kindle editions through  This is the second edition in the series (volume one was Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on The Wire published in 2015.”

4 27 16 bandanas 4 27 16 jeopardyIn her class, students played Jeopardy with questions about the show Deadwood.  They had bandanas, snacks, and one of the graduate students (who is one of the three co-editors of the volume) dressed as a combination of Alex Trebek and Al Swearengen (a main character in the show).

On Thursday, May 5 at 9:30, Mary plans to have a book signing party and bagels when [she hopes] students will get their copies of the book.

4 27 16 finalThis is a wonderful example of using multiple ways to engage students – clearly the fun stuff with active learning like the Jeopardy game, but also in engaging them in writing for a publication, which is something they can have on their resumes (and as bragging rights) that they are published authors.  And like most classes, they still had a final exam they had to prepare for, seen here.

Sometimes our freshmen and sophomores ask their academic advisers about which classes they should take once they have finished their basic and divisional requirements.  My answer to that is always “find something you like and you are interested in – maybe something you have always had a curiosity about, or you just want to try something new.”  This class might just be that kind of delightful surprise for a student.  Take a chance, try something new, scratch that itch you won’t be able to scratch later in life.  There are a couple of Wake classes I still kick myself for not taking when I had the chance, because I was too busy being ‘practical’ or trying to think of what would look best on my resume.  I urge any Deac who asks me to take a class purely for the love of it, while they still have access to all these great faculty and interesting classes.

— by Betsy Chapman (with help from Mary Dalton)

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