Urban Legends of the Supernatural **FULL**

Adam Andrews, Senior Lecturer

Course: English 192, Sem 001
Class Number: 23756
Credits: 3/HU
Time: MW 9:30 – 10:45
Place: Bolton B76

Course Description

Did you hear the one about the Vanishing Hitchhiker? Have you ever played with a Ouija board and had something strange happen? Tales of the supernatural range from urban legends about ghosts and monsters to stories told by people who believe they encountered something out of the ordinary—angels, UFOs, and things that go bump in the night. In this course we will take a look at the stories we tell in order to understand the social, cultural, and personal significance these stories have. We will examine urban legends, myths, and ghost stories, as well as narratives of personal encounters of the supernatural. We’ll debate scholarship from the last half-century to make sense out of these supernatural stories, and actively try to make our own sense out of them, both as coherent genres of traditional narrative, and as a kind of experience with deeply rooted cultural, social, and personal meanings.

Work Involved

  • Attendance, participation, and being prepared for class (15%)
  • Weekly two-page papers responding to assigned readings (25%)
  • Final Project Presentation (15%)
  • Final Project Paper (8+ pages) (25%)
  • Reflective Journal (20%)

About the Instructor

Adam Andrews holds degrees in Folklore from the University of Oregon (M.A.), and in Anthropology (M.A.) and English (B.A.) from the University of Iowa. Born and raised in Iowa, he has always been fascinated by religion and the supernatural. In graduate school he found the perfect opportunity to turn his hobby into an academic pursuit, studying folk belief and religion. He has done research on the relationships between numinous experiences (encounters with the supernatural) and the formation of social groups and networks, uncovering ways in which personal religious experiences are both deeply social and cultural at the same time. He began teaching writing at the University of Oregon, and continued to teach Rhetoric at the University of Iowa while finishing his degree. He has been a lecturer in the English department at UWM since 2006.