College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Summer Scholarship 2017-2018
Information for student applicants
The CoHSS Massey University Summer Scholarship is offered to provide senior students with the opportunity to experience supervised research over the summer semester.
- Tenure and value
Each scholarship will be offered to the value of $5000. The scholarships will be tenable for a period of approximately eight weeks and will represent a full-time commitment to the project (except for public holidays).
The scholarship is open to students who are intending to enrol at Massey University in 2018 and who will be studying at 400 level or above in the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences. Applicants must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.
- The scholarships may be held in conjunction with other scholarships, bursaries and stipends if the other award so allows.
- A Scholarship may be terminated by the Pro Vice Chancellor on receipt of an adverse report from the relevant Head of School/Institute/Centre.
- Summer Scholars will be expected to enrol for 2018 courses. At the end of the project the Scholar will submit a report to the Team Leader of the Project.
Each scholarship will be paid in two instalments, one at the start of the project and one upon receipt of the project report.
Project Title: Releases and Reception of Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)
Supervisor: Dr Claire Henry, School of English and Media Studies (Wellington campus)
This project involves undertaking a piece of preliminary research for Dr Claire Henry’s proposed monograph on David Lynch’s 1977 cult film, Eraserhead, which is intended for publication with Wallflower Press (a Columbia University Press imprint) in the “Cultographies” series. The summer scholar’s project will facilitate an accelerated initial research phase and support the submission of Dr Henry’s book proposal in early 2018.
The monograph will in part assess how academic reception of Lynch’s film maps against its reception by audiences. The summer scholar’s task will be to research this latter aspect of reception, by collating and analysing data focused on how critics and audiences received Eraserhead at different stages of release. The summer scholar will gather film reviews and other qualitative and quantitative data on the reception of the film (and subsequent releases on VHS/DVD), and enter the sources into the referencing software, EndNote. The summer scholar’s research will be an important foundation for the encompassing analysis of Eraserhead’s cult status in the monograph, an analysis that contextualises the film not only within film theorists’ understandings (such as auteur studies of David Lynch and theories of cult media) but also within the different responses of critics and audiences over the years since the film’s initial release 40 years ago.
Collate reviews of Eraserhead
- Locate reviews of the film in mainstream and fan media, save PDF copies, and accurately enter information into EndNote;
- Compare and analyse the reviews, writing a report to categorise the reviews and identify common themes and interpretations.
Research the releases of Eraserhead
- Identify the cinema/VHS/DVD/online releases of the film, including dates and places, audience and box office figures (where available);
- Identify any variations in the text between releases (eg. ‘director’s cut’, censored versions) and extras accompanying the releases (eg. DVD extras such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews, or additional short films).
Research the contribution of actor Jack Nance to the cult status of the film
- Research the actor’s career, relationship with David Lynch, and mysterious death;
- Compile notes and sources on how Jack Nance’s star image and cult fandom contributed to Eraserhead’s cult status over time;
- Maintain an annotated bibliography and accurate Endnote references for sources on this topic.
Identify competing and complementary books, and potential illustrations, for the book proposal
- Locate images related to Eraserhead for possible inclusion in the monograph (such as film posters, DVD covers, stills, behind-the-scenes or location images) and identify copyright holders;
- Compile a list of key competing books, and a list of complementary books that may appeal to the proposed book’s intended audience. Annotate the list with brief comments on how each book contributes to knowledge on Eraserhead, its context, and its cult status.
Benefits to the scholarship holder:
This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your research skills (including locating sources, synthesizing data, and writing reports), develop experience in data management for research projects and using referencing software, and gain insight into preparing a book proposal for an academic publisher. The tasks will be great preparation for your 2018 postgraduate studies at Massey, as you will gain an experience of how to commence the groundwork of media reception studies research, as well as develop your broader research skills.