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English professor researching early English theater audiences’ attitudes about the supernatural


GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Assistant Professor of English Jared Johnson, Ph.D., is traveling to Washington, D.C. to do research at the Folger Shakespeare Library as part of his project for the Greenville Neuromodulation Center (GNC) Faculty/Student Research Institute this summer.

His research will explore the concept of spiritual bondage in Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus” and Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Johnson is investigating how the historical, social and psychological influences on early modern English theater audiences shaped their understanding of the supernatural.

“I’m delighted that Thiel College is making academic research a key component of the 2020 Strategic Plan,” Johnson said. “The GNC Summer Research Institute will play a major role in actualizing this vision.” Johnson credited Lynn Franken, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, and her administrative assistant Julie Graubard for their hard work bringing faculty members and students from a range of interests and disciplines together to form a close-knit community of scholars.

“I feel privileged to be among the inaugural class of researchers,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to write an article for publication based on his research.

Johnson holds a B.A. in English and philosophy from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a Ph.D. in English and cultural studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a study abroad assistant for the University of Georgia at Oxford Program in Oxford, England, and was a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thiel College alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) Haer ’66, have pledged more than $400,000 to fund the GNC Faculty/Student Research Institute for the next three years. The institute is concentrated on connecting science and liberal arts at Thiel College.

Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Psychology Shannon Deets, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Pete Rydberg, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Chris Stanisky, Ph.D., have also had their research projects selected to be included in the inaugural class. Student apprentice researchers will partner with faculty principal investigators on most projects.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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