- SMP Resources
- Highlighted SMP Projects
- Women, Gender, and Sexuality Department SMP Guidelines
- Suggested Types and Project Examples
What is an SMP?
The St. Mary’s Project is a year-long, 8-credit, independently designed and executed course of study intended as a capstone experience for a student’s time at St. Mary’s. Working in close conjunction with one or more professors, in or outside of the Asian Studies department, you have the opportunity to explore, in depth, a question or idea that entrances and intrigues you. Many—although by no means all—SMPs are interdisciplinary, bringing together threads from earlier classes taken across the curriculum. The College has established certain guidelines for the SMP:
- It must be student-initiated
- It must demonstrate methodological competence (by identifying an area to be explored and proposing a method of inquiry appropriate for the topic)
- It must draw on and extend knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. It must include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which the project is a contribution
- It must be shared with the larger community through some form of public presentation.
First year students and sophomores:
- Consider your interests and keep track of favorite and interesting topics
- Don’t be too specific, keep it broad
- Talk to friends and seniors doing projects.
- Attend SMPs and look over the archives
First semester of junior year:
- Consider whether you want to collaborate with others. Note that collaborating with students will not necessarily make your work load easier
- Think about whether you want to do the project in two 4-credit blocks or employ some other sequence
Second semester of junior year:
- Narrow your choice to one or two topics
- Discuss and develop your topic ideas with faculty members who might be good mentors.
- Talk to the St. Mary’s Career Center if you want to include an off-campus component to your project.
- Decide if you will be collaborating with a fellow student.
- Have a good idea of what you want to do by advising day.
- Select a faculty mentor in the spring semester.
- Submit a formal proposal
- Work closely with your faculty mentor.
- Submit the budget request form by late October (option to resubmit in March).
- Complete research, hands-on experience, written essay, or poster.
- Present in the Spring semester
How to Choose a Topic
- What areas of Asian Studies interest you?
- What are your career interests?
- Do you want a project to include specific experiences such as doing an off-campus internship or conducting on-site research?
- What was your favorite class and why?
- Would a topic from a class be something you would like to pursue further?
Highlighted SMP Project
Jess O’Rear ’12: “Queering the Comfort of Your Couch: Hetero and Cis Normativity as a Marketing Tactic in Television Advertising”
Our society is bombarded by a constant stream of visual media, from which we have established a distinct visual ideology in our culture. Advertisers pull from this visual language in order to market products toward a specific demographic, using imagery that will resonate with a target audience and convince them to participate in consumerism. This project is an analysis of the ways in which advertisers utilize Western ideologies of gender and sexuality in as marketing tactics, reinscribing societally-imposed normalities and convincing consumers that they can achieve normalcy in these areas by purchasing a product.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program SMP Guidelines
Typically, (but not always), the student would undertake an individual project within her or his primary discipline. The cross-disciplinary study area in Women, Gender, and Sexuality encourages collaborative and/or multidisciplinary projects as well. Students might join the perspective of their major to a perspective expressed in another discipline. thus undertaking an interdisciplinary project. Students may register for all or part of their SMP as WGSX studies. All projects should involve the following:
Research, including the demonstration of connections to the academic discipline(s) in which it is credited and the citation of relevant literature. This research may include personal observations and interviews. Experimental methodologies are welcome.
Significant levels of reflection appropriate to the discipline and chosen project. The student should define her or his point of view and make some effort to justify it.
A written component with the project mentor; it should be worthy of eight academic credits.
A public presentation, the nature of which will be agreed upon by the student and her or his mentor.
- the project and the proposed title
- the methodology and goals
- an initial bibliography and other source-references (interviews intended, etc.)
- the projected work schedule
- intended products (essay, video, etc.)
- intended form of public presentation
- sequence of credit distribution over two semesters (0-8)
- credit distribution between major discipline and WGSX
- budget of expenses (if any reimbursement by department is expected)
- names of professor(s) willing to mentor the project
- the name of a librarian who will serve as a contact for the project
Suggested Types and Examples of Projects
Student should devise a suitable subject for research and creative reflection. These are suggestions only, and are not meant to restrict the kinds of projects students may undertake.
- investigation (through library research), analysis, and evaluation of a thinker’s work or of an important topic in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: e.g., Judith Butler’s work on the social constructions of gender and sex, what Rosemary Ruether says about ecofeminism, whether privacy laws favor feminist causes
- a community service project involving related research and analysis: e.g., preparing and teaching a unit of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in a primary or secondary school and providing background research and reflection on the experience
- research and reflection on a local issue that has links to feminist issues: e.g., the resources for battered women in Southern Maryland, a country environmental problem that poses important ethical social dilemmas related to ecofeminst views
- writing a reflective paper based on interviews with people about their gendered ideas on drugs, death, the good life, etc., including the citing of related disciplinary research and the situation of one’s conclusions vis-a-vis this research
- research and reflection on a subject investigated during educational travel: e.g., to Bali to learn about gendered impacts of Buddhist practices or to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to learn about culture and values related to women migrant laborers
- students interested in collaborative and/or cross-disciplinary projects might, for example, collaboratively write and/or perform a script on some topic within the scope of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies