Honors students and Shawshank Redemption

Dr. Maura Grady and students of the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar at the Ohio State Reformatory
"Andy came to Shawshank Prison in early 1947 for murdering his wife and the fella she was bangin'."  Seventy-six years later, Honors students are studying "The Shawshank Redemption, Fan Culture and Film Tourism in Ohio" as the first segment of the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar.  When I decided I wanted the Fall 2013 Honors 390 course to have a "local" theme, he contacted English professor Dr. Maury Grady about teaching a segment on the The Shawshank Redemption as she had previously taught an Honors core course "Literature and Film" and the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield was the prison site used in the filming of the movie.  A number of other locations throughout Ashland and Mansfield also appear in the movie.  Dr. Grady jumped on the request, stating, "I love Frank Darabont's film and have thought about how to do a unit on it-- the connection to the Ashland/Mansfield area is an especially attractive bonus."  Unbeknownst to me, Dr. Grady was already collaborating with hospitality management professor Dr. Robby Roberson on a project on film tourism.  Also unbeknownst to me, the Mansfield Convention and Tourism Bureau was organizing a 3-day 20th anniversary celebration over Labor Day weekend, making this the perfect timing to teach The Shawshank Redemption.  During the first week of class, students watched the movie and took a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory.  During the second week, they are preparing interview questions to survey the thousands of fans who will be converging on Richland and Ashland County for the anniversary celebration.  The final two weeks of the course will focus on reading the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and comparing it to the movie, on processing data from the interviews and on presenting the results of their research. 

For more information about the 20th anniversary celebration, see the Mansfield Tourism website


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