HSS 298 Research in the Humanities

Student: Eden Wallace

Professor: Dr. Nathan Sasser

I was delighted to discover the Creative Inquiry program at Greenville Technical College. I am a non-traditional student completing prerequisites for the nursing program, but my interests are quite broad: this program seemed like a perfect way to explore some of them. When I was accepted into the program, I had several ideas I wanted to study, but the material I chose to delve into this semester has as its locus Thomas Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This book was required reading for an Honors Statistics course I took last semester with Dr. Phil Larson. I had never heard of Kuhn before, and I’m grateful I was introduced to him in my Honors class: I have since become fascinated with the pattern he describes.

Eden Wallace

Kuhn, the man who coined the term “paradigm shift,” explores the pattern of “paradigm development / normal science / crisis / revolution” in scientific development, and he indicates that this pattern seems to apply in some (perhaps superficial) way to other disciplines, too. My interest lies in briefly tracing similarities between this pattern and American Evangelicalism and then exploring the question, “Is American Evangelicalism undergoing a crisis leading to a paradigm shift similar to Kuhn’s description of scientific revolution?”

I approached Dr. Sasser after I saw that he had previously worked with another student on a Creative Inquiry in philosophy. We have structured my research so that the outcome will be a twenty- to thirty-page paper comparing and contrasting American Evangelicalism with Kuhn’s perspective on scientific development. I’ll also present a summary of my findings to the faculty during the Student Scholar Showcase this spring.