Aaron Laughlin

Aaron Laughlin
M.A. Project Chair: 
Michael Eldridge
Graduation Year: 

My work in the MA in English program was primarily concerned with how stories help people construct social realities and conceive of relationships between the self and the world. With a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, I extended my interest in studying religion and myth to my work in English Studies to understand further the role of stories in relation to meaning-making and identity. For my culminating MA project, I studied Indigenous literature and theories of myth to reconsider and revise academic and popular paradigms about myth and its function. My work found that, for many Indigenous theorists, creating and maintaining relationships of health and balance between the many interconnected inhabitants of the world depends on myth, understood as a medicinal, visionary, creative storytelling potential.

The MA in English program opened the door for my work as a managing editor and digital designer at HSU Press. With HSU press, I managed HSU’s interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed ideaFest journal for two years, and edited and designed many additional journals, books, and magazine layouts. The program helped me cultivate a skill set for working with language, whether it be through critical reading, writing, editing, facilitating, collaboration, or discussion. Perhaps more than anything, the MA in English program has helped me understand the many ways language acts on ourselves and the world, in order to help foster meaningful and ethical change.