Jana Mathews

Courses Taught

Click the course titles to view some of my signature course syllabi:

Game of Thrones
In this course, we study the myths, texts and real-life events that inspired HBO's award winning TV show. You'll be divided into houses for the semester and in that capacity, you'll marry off relatives, plot to assassinate your rivals, design torture devices and learn the art of necromancy. Want to know more? Check out some of the media profiles of my course:
        The Washington Times May 2019
        The Hill May 2019
        Spectrum 13 News April 2019
        WFME 90.7 Radio Interview April 2019
        Orlando Sentinel April 2019
        Orlando Sentinel December 2017
        Orlando Sentinel July 2017

This upper-division English course examines how the material culture of the distant past (ie. medieval and early modern objects) shape contemporary conceptions of individual, communal and national identity. Students in this course have the opportunity to construct mock museum exhibitions; tour cemeteries and visit an embalmer to evaluate the relationship between premodern and contemporary funerary practices and grave good culture; study sixteenth-century slave narratives alongside modern accounts of human trafficking and design Pinterest boards for premodern clientele. 

Global Middle Ages
Thanks to the incredible generosity of an alum donor who wants to provide opportunities for all students--regardless of financial, physical or life circumstances--to have the kind of transformational international travel experience that he did as an undergraduate at Rollins, I have the privilege of taking small groups of English majors and minors and Writing minors on highly subsidized short-term field studies to different destinations around the globe. These week-long trips are embedded within a semester-long course, where we conduct in-depth studies of that country's premodern history, literature and culture. So far, my colleague and partner-in-crime Emily Russell and I traveled with students to Scotland and Ireland, Spain and Peru. For Spring Break 2019 we partnered with Ben Hudson and took a group to Venice and Milan.  

Literature and Law
How do poems, novels, plays, and short stories inform and inspire legal process and procedure--and vice versa? This course examines the surprising intersections and overlaps between literary and legal culture. In addition to holding mock trials, analyzing autopsy reports, writing legal briefs and studying Supreme Court rulings, students also make use of the privileges afforded to them by the Freedom of Information Act by investigating real-life Florida cold cases and then constructing new narratives of what they think happened and why.

Only in Florida
By conducting critical examinations of alligator wrestling matches and python hunts; drug runners and dumb criminals; murder trials and Spring Breaker escapades, students gain a deeper understanding of why our state is the nation's magnet for the weird, bizarre and downright crazy. This course makes Rollins' signature learning style--experiential education--accessible to all types of students (including adult learners and commuter students) by meeting for 6 consecutive weekends. We spend our extended time together going on overnight service and civics-based Immersion trips (invasive species clean up in the Everglades and Civil War and Civil Rights-era history in Jacksonville and Amelia Island) and partnering with local organizations like United Against Poverty Orlando, the Groveland Historical Museum, and the Orange County History Center.

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