UW-Stout News Story

UW-Stout, Indiana State partner on Oscar Wilde research

October 7, 2013

Students at University of Wisconsin-Stout and Indiana State University are collaborating on an exhibit featuring Oscar Wilde, the Irish author and playwright.

The exhibit will run in conjunction with the first two showings of the Menomonie Theater Guild's production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12.

Joan Navarre lectures during her Fiction into Film class.Other showings of the play are scheduled Oct. 18-20.

Calling the collaboration a "great developmental experience," Professor Greg Bierly, director of the ISU Honors Program, hailed the project as an opportunity for students to "test their knowledge outside of the home classroom and university and measure their understanding against more objective listeners."

The project involved research this fall by 25 ISU Honors Program students and 33 UW-Stout students, the latter from the class Fiction into Film taught by Assistant Professor Joan Navarre.

"My students' collaboration with UW-Stout students is a perfect complement to our course objectives," said Marilyn Bisch, instructor of classics and honors in the department of languages, literatures and linguistics at Indiana State, in Terre Haute. "It offers ISU honors students an exciting opportunity to learn with and from their UW-Stout peers."

Oscar Wilde in 1882 in the U.S.The exhibit, using original student research, will focus on Wilde's writing, his role in 19th century literature and the significance of his often-overlooked visit to the United States in 1882.

Students from both schools, including 16 from ISU, will be at the Oct. 11-12 play performances to discuss the exhibit with local theatergoers.

"UW-Stout students are embracing this opportunity to partner with the ISU honors students," said Navarre, who teaches in the English and philosophy department.

Navarre said Blaine Halverson, executive director of the Menomonie Theater Guild, has been an avid supporter of the project.

Navarre, who also is directing "The Importance of Being Earnest," praised the spirit of teamwork shown during the process. "I'm proud of the efforts that UW-Stout students are putting forward. They clearly understand the importance of collaboration," she said.

Bisch and Navarre have collaborated on Wilde research since 1999 and are co-founders of the Oscar Wilde Society of America. Navarre was a guest lecturer at ISU in 2008.

"Collaboration begins every time you study what someone else has discovered about a topic that interests you," said Bisch. "Their thoughts spur your thoughts. When you are lucky, you get to share your thoughts with other scholars — in a class and beyond — and then learning gets really interesting."

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