Professor Susan Jaret McKinstry’s Life’s Work and Narrative Theory

21 January 2016

Susan Jaret McKinstry

Professor Susan Jaret McKinstry teaches and researches 19th century British art and literature. When she arrived at Carleton, Professor Vern Bailey asked her to teach a Film Adaptation course for Media Studies (then in the English department — and only Vern). Media Studies grew; that course evolved into ENGL 362 Narrative Theory, a popular elective course for CAMS majors; and her interest in visual studies has deepened. This year, she is participating in an ACM workshop on Digital Storytelling, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

In an intense two-day, hands-on workshop at Macalester College in January, participating professors each created a very short film about something important to them, using WeVideo. Next, participants will design a digital storytelling assignment, and Susan is working on one for the next iteration of Narrative Theory, which will be offered as an option for CAMS majors to fulfill a 300-level core requirement for the major starting in Fall 2016. Susan’s first film, Life’s Work, featured below, explores a true story about her research subjects (no plot spoilers here!) and explores how a meaningful narrative is created from images, words, and sounds.


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