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As the title of our blog suggests, these posts by College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) faculty and special guests will engage, inform and challenge you in a myriad of ways. The posts reflect the diversity of our programs of study: degrees that are traditional (history), current (justice studies and communications), academic (English literature) and career-oriented (psychology, counseling, criminal justice and government). Here, there is something for everyone.
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Category: History and Literature
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By Brian P. Raftery, MA
Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences 

In preparing to co-author a new course in American literature, I re-read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.” As you may know, it was an enormously popular and influential work in its era, and it continues to be studied in literature, history and philosophy courses to the present day.

The autobiography recounts Benjamin Franklin’s prototypically American success story, which starts with his early life as the 15th of 17 children of a poor tallow chandler in Boston. It follows him through an unhappy apprenticeship in an older brother’s printing shop until he leaves Boston at the age of 17 to make his own way.

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By Jessalyn Johnson
English and Professional Writing Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Last year, I began my journey as an English literature student at Grand Canyon University. As a writer, I was interested in studying all of the great poets and novelists who came before me. The only thing I knew to expect was a lot of reading – and that I did.

Though I still have a ways to go before I complete my degree, I have learned many valuable things about literature, and hope to put this towards my writing as I transition into GCU’s new degree: English with an emphasis in professional writing.

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By Lauren Abraham
Communications Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Do you have a passion for writing? Consider earning a Bachelor of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing. With this degree, you will develop a wide array of writing skills that can prepare you for many different careers, including those in the exciting field of journalism. Continue reading to learn about five reasons to pursue a career in journalism:

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By James P. Helfers, PhD
Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

When “The Last Battle,” the last book of The Chronicles of Narnia series, was published in 1956, Clive Staples (C. S., or, as he liked to be called, Jack) Lewis had already had a long and diverse career as a literary scholar and critic, as an adult convert to Christianity, as a Christian apologist (one who defends and explains a faith) and, now, as the author of a children’s series.

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By Brian P. Raftery
Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Two hundred years ago this summer, an unknown 21-year-old woman conceived the idea for a story that became one of the most popular and influential novels ever written. “Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus” has been the inspiration for hundreds of movies, plays, stories, musicals, comic books and television shows, and translated into numerous languages.

“Frankenstein” has been the subject of countless philosophical, psychological, literary and sociological analyses. The name itself, Frankenstein, conjures images of a terrifying and powerful creature intent on exacting a monstrous revenge on the man who created him. Fittingly, the idea for the story came to the author on a dark and stormy night

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By Jessalyn Johnson
English and Professional Writing Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Over the course of the 2015-16 school year, a select group of individuals within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University set out to start a literary review composed of student work. The review, titled “StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review,” contains poetry and short fiction, as well as artwork and photography.

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By Jessalyn Johnson
English and Professional Writing Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

English literature is an art form that is not as appreciated as it used to be, with everything we do slowly turning digital. However, the subject itself is a crucial part of our day-to-day lives. We speak and write in it fluently. So, what is the point in earning an English degree, if the subject is something I already know about?

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By Meredith DeCosta, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Education

By Michael Kary, MFA
Faculty, College of Fine Arts and Production

By James P. Helfers, PhD
Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Grand Canyon University is celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with Shakespeare Week, taking place from February 1 – 5, 2016 on GCU’s main campus in Phoenix. Events will take place throughout the week, ranging from passage readings by GCU’s highly ranked Speech and Debate Team to performances from students in the College of Fine Arts and Production.

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By Sherman Elliott, EdD
Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Please list and describe the three branches of government.

What is the difference between your congressional representative and your state legislative representative?

What is the name of the current vice president of the U.S. and which party might consider nominating him to run for president of the U.S.?

If you were able to answer all three of these basic civic questions, congratulations are in order.

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By Maria Zafonte, MA, MS
Assistant Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

When I was a graduate student, I worked alongside a man who was a practicing psychologist returning to get his degree in English literature.

He explained that there were similarities in the way psychologists tried to understand and relate to their clients and the deep reading and character analysis that happened when studying literature. He didn’t feel like he was getting a degree that would sidetrack him from his career, but instead he saw an MA in English as an enhancement of his practice.

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