By Vanessa Haro-Miracle

The Co-Directors

The African-American Studies minor at Ball State is still pretty new, but its co-directors, Dr. Emily Rutter and Dr. Kiesha Warren-Gordon, are committed to bringing this course of study to as many students at Ball State as possible, no matter their major.

Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Emily Rutter

Dr. Emily Rutter is the author of two books: Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line (University Press of Mississippi, May 2018), and The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press, Fall 2018).

Her essays about African-American and Multi-Ethnic American literature have been published in the journals African American Review, South Atlantic Review, Studies in American Culture, Aethlon, and MELUS. Her book chapter on African American women poets appears in A Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century American Women’s Poetry. Her co-edited volume of scholarly essays and poetry, Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era, will be published by Routledge in October 2019.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Dr. Kiesha Warren-Gordon

Dr. Kiesha Warren-Gordon is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Ball State University. She received her Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. Her substantive areas include criminology, race and ethnicity. Her research explores the intersection of race and class in the miscarriage of justice, violence, and intercultural conflict. Her teaching interests are victimology, multiculturalism, the death penalty, and criminal justice process.

The Curriculum

The minor in African American Studies is just 16 credit hours.

Creating this minor didn’t require Drs. Rutter and Warren-Gordon to create lots of new courses; Ball State already offered courses that focused on African-Americans in many different fields: architecture, communication studies, criminal justice and criminology, English, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and telecommunications.

Dr. Warren-Gordon and Dr. Rutter merely brought these courses together under a new umbrella. To create a more coherent curriculum, they designated three courses that will “bookend” the minor and be required of all African-American Studies students beginning Fall 2019:

1.) Introduction to African-American Studies (AfAm 100)

2.) African-American Studies Theory and Research Methods (AfAm 200)

3.) African-American Studies Capstone (AfAm 400)

After that, students choose two more electives from a menu that includes courses from 9 different departments, which means that students can tailor the minor to their particular interests.

The Menu of Courses
ARCH 407 Fourth World Theory (3)
COMM 322 Comm and Popular Culture (3)
COMM 385 Rhet of Marginalized Voices (3)
CJC 211 Race, Gender, and Crime (3)
ENG 215 Introduction to African American Literature (3)
ENG 491 Lit of African American Trad (3)
HIST 210 Introduction to Black History (3)
HIST 405 Pre-Civil War America, 1800-48 (3)
HIST 407 US Civil War and Reconstruct (3)
HIST 416 Pre-Civil War South, 1776-1861 (3)
HIST 441 Comparative Slavery (3)
POLS 475 Minority Group Politics (3)
PSYS 325 Psych Prejudice Discrimination (3)
SOC 221 Intro Race and Ethnic Relat (3)
SOC 333 Sociology of Media (3)
SOC 421 Racial and Cultural Minor US (3)
TCOM 363 Film Genres (3)
Why you should add this minor

Are you wondering how to make sense of events like Ferguson and Charlottesville? 

I suggest that anyone who is interested in current events and wants to know how their interests can relate to Black and American culture take a class or two, or even the whole minor.

I am so glad this program is now offered, and I hope people rush to add it as a minor. I wish I had time to!