English grad students write, typeset, and print ballads on printing press

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This semester students in ENG 8002, “The Warrior Women Project,” had the opportunity to write, typeset, and print an original ballad!  This course is taught by English Professor Simone Chess and through an interdisciplinary collaboration with Art Professor Judith Moldenhauer graduate students were able to work with Wayne State’s newly-restored Vandercook 325 printing press.

In this graduate class, the focus is on 113 early modern “Warrior Women” broadside ballads, all about characters assigned female at birth who enlist in the military as men. Working off a never-before-published catalogue created by Professor Dianna Dugaw (U Oregon) in the 1970s, the class is building a searchable database of the ballads and a digital critical edition of the catalogue. Professor Chess will teach an undergraduate version of the course ENG5190, hopefully featuring another visit with Professor Moldenhauer, in Winter 2020!

Students in Professor Chess' ENG 8002 class overlooking their work on the Vandercook Press.
Layout of the ballad
Type that has been set in the printing press
Close up of type
Close up of type 
Close up of ballad

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