Registration approaching and still don’t know what to take? We’ve got you covered. Below you can find the info for some of our best classes offered in Fall 2016.

Intro to African American Literature
ENG 215 with Dr. Emily Rutter

MWF 12-12:50 pm

This course will provide you with foundational knowledge about African American literary traditions, while centralizing the work of contemporary black writers. What sociopolitical and artistic commitments distinguish African American writers born during or after the Civil Rights movement from their predecessors? In what ways do these distinctions reflect shifting notions of race, gender, sexuality, and class? This multi-genre course pursues these questions by examining a wide range of twenty-first-century African American texts. We will also put contemporary authors in conversation with both their forebears and current cultural phenomena, including music, sports, the visual arts, and political movements. We will encounter Claudia Rankine, Terrance Hayes, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Colson Whitehead, Natasha Trethewey, and Tyehimba Jess, among others. Assignments will include active class participation; an oral presentation; and short textual analyses that will build up to research papers. No prior knowledge of African American literature is required; all are welcome.

Rethinking Black Children’s and Young Adult Literature
ENG 299x with 
Dr. Lyn Jones
TR 12:30-1:45 pm

This is a three-credit hour course open to English majors, creative writing majors, elementary and secondary education majors and any other humanities students interested in the African Diaspora. We will read, study, and analyze critical children’s and young adult literary works. In addition, we will partner with black children and young adults in the Muncie community through the MP3 program. Together, we will feature and write new pieces of literature for Volume 4 of the Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature digital magazine. ( Design students from the Unified Media lab in the Department of Journalism will assist with graphics, technology, magazine design, and layout. If you have questions about the course, please email Dr. Jones at

History of Rhetoric
ENG 303 with Dr. Paul Ranieri
MWF 1-1:50 pm

What could be more interesting than studying rhetoric during a presidential race?

Beginning with ancient rhetoric and focusing on major historical periods, ENG 303 surveys the historical development of rhetoric, emphasizing the cultural context of ideas and the construction of rhetorical “traditions.”  ENG 303 is a required course for the Rhetoric and Writing Major, and can serve as an elective for the English Studies, Literature, and Creative Writing Majors.

Phonetics and Phonology
ENG 332 with Dr. Mary Lou Vercellotti
TR 9:30-10:45 am

This course uses a linguistic approach to explore speech sounds as physical entities (phonetics) and as elements in language systems (phonology). How are the various speech sounds made? Participants will learn the linguistic methods employed in their description, classification, and analysis. We will learn the International Phonetic Alphabet and common diacritics. Using linguistic software, we will “see” speech to better understand its linguistic properties. How are the various speech sounds used? Participants will also learn how to find and describe general speech sounds patterns in natural languages and the systematic relationships between the actual sound produced and the more abstract cognitive patterns.

Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Fast Food, Werewolves, and Other Victorian Obsessions

ENG 365 with Dr. Joyce Huff
TR 3:30-4:45 pm

Since the premiere of MTV’s The Real World in the early 1990s, we’ve been fascinated with narratives that purport to give us intimate glimpses into the lives of others. From big events like scandals and heartbreaks to the mundane details of the everyday, we want to know how other people live and how they think and dream. In the late 90s, these shows began to take us back in time, placing people from today in historical scenarios to see how they would cope. Is it all that surprising that the first of these was set at the close of the nineteenth-century? The nineteenth-century was not so long ago, and we have inherited many of its struggles and innovations. Evolution, industrialization, and women’s rights represent just a few of the hot button Victorian issues that we still debate today. Who wouldn’t be curious about how people lived back then, how they imagined their world, and what they dreamed of when they wanted to escape from it? In this class, we will immerse ourselves in the literature and culture of Victorian Britain, from their daily lives (did you know the average person existed mainly on “fast food”?) to their wildest flights of fancy (did you know they loved to read about vampires and werewolves?). Some possible texts for study in this course include: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, short stories by writers such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Sheridan LeFanu and Thomas Hardy, and poems by writers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rudyard Kipling and Christina Rossetti. We will also contribute to the website, The Victorian Character Commonplace Project.

Special Topics in English: Digital Literature Review: Monsters
ENG 400 with 
Dr. Joyce Huff
TR 5:00-6:15 pm

Contribute to and help produce issue #4 of the Digital Literature Review: Monsters. Literature abounds with monsters, from the dragons that plague medieval towns to the vampires that rise from nineteenth-century graves to the aliens, cyborgs, and zombies that serve as the basis of our contemporary nightmares. The prevalence of these creatures prompts literary critics to ask why they haunt us. What can we learn from a closer examination of these fictional monsters? In “Monster Culture (Seven Theses),” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen defines the monster as “the embodiment of a certain culture moment—of a time, a feeling, and a place.” For Cohen, monsters are the manifestations of societal fears. In attempting to understand them, we learn about the cultures that produced them as well as about ourselves. Literary monsters can force us to confront the things we’d rather repress. They can police our cultural boundaries or push heroes and heroines beyond them. They enact our hidden fears or our secret desires. Monsters bring out our best selves or reflect our worst; they can reaffirm the norms in the face of otherness or force us to question those norms. In Cohen’s words, monsters “ask us why we have created them.” In this course, we will investigate some of the philosophical, political, and artistic issues arising from the study of literary monsters. We will read theories of monstrosity and examine literary and filmic representations of monsters. Students will carry out research over two semesters that will culminate in their capstone project in the spring, a project that will be considered for publication in the fourth issue of the Digital Literature Review (DLR). As part of the DLR team, students will also be responsible for contributing to and producing the DLR blog, for designing and creating the fourth issue of the DLR, and for publicizing and promoting our work as well as for soliciting and editing papers from undergraduate students around the globe. In addition to earning course credit and immersive learning experience, you will gain experience in research and scholarship, professional writing and editing, digital design and publishing, and/or emerging media and publicity. While most students will earn 3 hours for ENG 400 in the fall and 3 hours for ENG 444 in the spring, course credits are negotiable, and, if you are accepted into the course, Dr. Huff will work with you to fit the class into your program of study and to negotiate with your home department about course equivalencies. Contact Dr. Joyce Huff ( if you are interested in participating.

Born Digital: Creating Oral Histories of Digital Literary Practices
ENG 435 with Dr. Laura Romano
TR 11 am-12:15 pm

College students are arguably of the first “born digital” generation; they were born into and raised in a digital world. As this generation comes of age, its members offer unique insight into the ways all areas of life have been shaped by digital technologies, including culture, politics, family life, and the way we view community. Taking the opportunity to reflect critically upon these changes is timely, interesting, and can be powerfully insightful. This course offers students the opportunity to learn and practice qualitative research methods such as oral history interviewing and ethnographic observation as they create an autoethnographic reflection on their own digital literacy practices.

Senior Seminar: Lives and Literature of the New England Transcendental Writers
ENG 444 with Dr. Robert Habich
TR 5-6:15 pm

In this course we will spend time in the company of a stimulating group of nineteenth-century poets and essayists known (reluctantly) as the “Transcendentalists”–Emerson and Thoreau, certainly, but also Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Jones Very, and the Brook Farmers. Canonized now, in their own time they were on the cutting edge of literary, educational, and social issues as they explored what it meant to be an individual in an increasingly conformist and commercialized society. These were the bad boys—and girls—of American literature. We will read a generous selection of their writing, talk about their lives as authors and thinkers, and take up issues of social and religious reform that contextualize transcendentalist thinking: the miracles controversy, women’s rights, anti-slavery and abolitionist efforts, communitarianism, and the like. We’ll explore some of the research and critical issues of interests to scholars of Transcendentalism–and each of you will interview by email a practicing scholar and report to the class. And we’ll give an ear to those writers who qualified or questioned transcendentalism—ones you’ve heard of, like Hawthorne, Whitman, Poe, and Dickinson, and ones new to you, like Andrews Norton.

Shakespeare: Rise of the Villains
ENG 464 with 
Dr. Vanessa Rapatz
TR 2:00-3:15 pm

When we think of a villain we likely call up the evil mastermind of a James Bond film, criminally brilliant Hannibal Lecter, a Whedon “Big Bad,” or perhaps a mustache-twirling vaudevillian. However, the term originally referred to a low-born person or a rustic. In Shakespeare we find both definitions at play and sometimes used to describe the same character. From the innocently rustic William in As You Like It to the unapologetically manipulative Iago in Othello, we will chart villains and villainy in eight of Shakespeare’s plays.  We will read two comedies, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing; a problem play, The Merchant of Venice; a history play, Richard III; and four tragedies, Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear. Class lectures and discussions will attend to the language and formal conventions of these plays as well as to their stagecraft, their historical context, and their modern reception. We will also be considering modern adaptations of the plays as we discuss the villainous characters that we love to hate.

The Broken Plate: Practicum in Literary Editing and Publishing
ENG 489 with Prof. Mark Neely
TR 3:30-4:45 pm

The students in this class will be responsible for producing the Spring 2017 issue of The Broken Plate, a national literary magazine produced by Ball State undergraduates. Student editors will be responsible for all aspects of magazine production, including soliciting submissions, selecting quality work, designing the magazine, and promoting and selling the issue. Other requirements include magazine and book reviews, readings and quizzes, software tutorials, and an individual literary editing project. Texts will include books by our fall visiting writers, online readings, and handouts.

English 489 is a year-long, 6-credit, immersive learning course.  Students will also enroll in English 489 in Spring 2017. Permission of Instructor is required: please email Mark Neely at if you are interested in this class. Students in the course have gone on to careers and/or graduate study in writing, editing, publishing, journalism, marketing, and others.

Literature and Gender – Beyond Belles and Mammies: Women in the Literature of the American South
ENG 490 with 
Dr. Andrea Wolfe
MWF 9-9:50 am

The figures of the Southern Belle, the beautiful and charming daughter of a wealthy planter, and the Mammy, the Belle’s doting and sometimes sassy slave attendant, were perhaps most famously developed in the characters of Scarlett and Mammy in Margaret Mitchell’s spectacularly popular 1929 novel Gone with the Wind and its critically acclaimed and commercially successful 1939 film adaptation. If current GWTW book and movie sales, Southern plantation tourism, and the profusion of Scarlet and Mammy figurines available on eBay are any indication, these two figures have continued to hold cherished positions in the US popular imagination. Even recent media attention to the racism still present in US education, housing, and law enforcement has not curtailed the sales of GWTW memorabilia, as an auction of props from the film, including one of Scarlet’s dresses and Mammy’s hat, raised more than $890,000 just last year. This course will investigate how Southern literature subverts and complicates the depictions of Southern Belles and Mammies as they are portrayed in GWTW and other popular texts. It will examine depictions of a wide range of female experiences in Southern literature from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries, illuminating the intersecting politics of not only gender, race, and region but also age, ability, class, mental health, sexual orientation, and other aspects of identity. Ultimately, the course will provide students with the tools needed to analyze literary depictions of these Southern women in the context of the historical and contemporary South, as well as the broader US. In addition to critical articles and theoretical readings, the course will likely include poetry, drama, short stories, and novels from the following authors: Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Lillian Smith, Alice Walker, Lee Smith, Suzan-Lori Parks, Harryette Mullen, and the recently published Cynthia Bond. Each student will compose a short close reading essay and a longer research-driven paper as well as a written final examination.

American Ethnic Literature
ENG 493 with Dr. Emily Rutter
MWF 2-2:50 pm

In this course, we will consider the ways in which contemporary American authors, including Junot Diaz, Monique Truong, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Danzy Senna, among others, address the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. Throughout the course, our readings and discussions will be framed by critics and theorists specializing in African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American literature. In addition to actively participating in class, students in this course will deliver an oral presentation; write informal digital responses that will build up to formal essays; and complete a written final exam. No prior knowledge of Multi-Ethnic American literature is required; all are welcome.

Contemporary Multi-Ethnic American Literature (1960-Present)
ENG 646 with 
Dr. Emily Rutter
Mon 6:30-9:10 pm

In this course, we will conceptualize Multi-Ethnic American literature in aesthetic, theoretical, and institutional terms. Using a comparative approach, we will examine the resonances and distinctions among various ethnic literary traditions, especially African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American, from the 1960s through the contemporary era. The first half of the course will centralize the poetry and prose engendered by social consciousness and women’s movements, including the work of Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Rodolfo Gonzales, Gloria Anzaldúa, Toni Morrison, Paula Gunn Allen, and Lawson Fusao Inada. In the second half of the course, we will consider how more contemporary writers, such as Junot Diaz, Monique Truong, Sherman Alexie, and Percival Everett, to name a few, complicate notions of unified ethnic aesthetics or worldviews, reflecting the changing landscape of identity politics. Along the way, we will also examine the institutionalization of Multi-Ethnic American literature, including the establishment of ethnic studies programs and the so-called “canon wars” that erupted during the 1980s. Throughout the course, our readings and discussions will be framed by critics and theorists specializing in African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American literature. You will also play a crucial role in the ways that we examine and theorize these fields, actively engaging in class discussions, giving presentations, and producing a final seminar paper. No prior knowledge about Multi-Ethnic American literature is required; all are welcome.