Dr. Maura Grady delivered a talk on November 6 on her book, The Shawshank Experience: Tracking the History of the World's Favorite Movie (Palgrave, 2016), which she co-authored with Dr. Tony Magistrale (Professor of English, University of Vermont). As noted in the Ashland University official press release, the book
features an in-depth analysis of the world’s most popular movie, The Shawshank Redemption, delving into issues such as: the significance of race in the film, its cinematic debt to earlier genres, the gothic influences at work in the movie, and the representation of Andy’s poster art as cross-gendered signifiers. In addition to exploring the film and novella from which it was adapted, this book also traces the history of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, which served as the film’s central location, and its relationship to the movie’s fictional Shawshank Prison. The last chapter examines why this film has remained both a popular and critical success, inspiring diverse fan bases on the Internet and the evolution of the Shawshank Trail, fourteen of the film’s actual site locations that have become a major tourist attraction in central Ohio.
In addition to her published work on the film, Dr. Grady is an innovative teacher who has involved Ashland undergraduates in research on film tourism in the local area. She teaches the popular screenwriting course for the department and has also engaged students deeply regarding issues of prison reform through her use of the Reacting to the Past game in her classes.