Monthly Archives: July 2014

Part I of II: Recommended Reads from Dr. Frank Felsenstein

In part one of this recommended reads post, Dr. Frank Felsenstein reviews books he considered for two holocaust-themed courses he taught, discussing which titles proved to be the most enriching and inspiring, and which titles might have missed the mark.

Remembering the Holocaust

During the spring semester of 2014, I taught two classes – ENG 402/2 and HONORS 390B – on the theme of “Remembering the Holocaust.” This was probably the fifth or sixth time that I have taught this class, and, because of the nature of the subject matter and the emotional impact, it is a class that I would only elect to teach at most every two years or, shall we say, eighteen month at the shortest.

Krystyna Chiger’s The Girl in the Green Sweater

Several texts appeared on my syllabus for the first time this spring, and the last one we read and discussed in class, Krystyna Chiger’s The Girl in the Green Sweater, a memoir published as recently as 2011, greatly appealed to the students in both groups. Chiger is the last living survivor of a small group of Jews, including her parents and younger brother, who hid from the Nazis for over a year in the sewers of Lvov (Lemberg), now part of Ukraine. Their survival was made possible by the courage of a gentile sewer worker, Pan [Mr.] Leopold Socha, who smuggled food and other necessities to them. Pan Socha had been a petty thief, and, on paper, would not have seemed the kind of person who would be willing to challenge the authorities by saving the lives of Jews. Had he been caught – and several times he nearly was – the punishment would have been instant death.

Agnieska Holland’s, In Darkness

The Polish film maker, Agnieska Holland, made a remarkable film, called In Darkness (2011), which tells the same remarkable story. Curiously, she did not know that Krystyna was still alive when she made the film, and the two met shortly after. A copy of the film, which has as additional material the wonderful moment of meeting between the two women, is in Bracken, and it’s well worth watching. It may also draw you to the book. Continue reading

Professor Craig O’Hara nominated for Pushcart

by Melissa Glidden

Assistant Professor Craig O’Hara’s short story “The Corner” was published by the North Dakota Quarterly in 2013, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize shortly after. In this interview. O’Hara discusses his work, his nomination, and the writing life.

 1. Will you tell us a little bit about “The Corner,” including the inspiration behind it and a little bit about your process while writing it?

“The Corner” is about a prostitute in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam waiting on a Saturday evening for a client of hers who happens to be an American expatriate. The inspiration behind the story came out of the somewhat rough neighborhood I lived in during my time teaching in Vietnam. I know it sounds kind of strange, but sex workers were just a normal part of the community in which I lived. They were among my neighbors and the people I interacted with every day. They were the people I saw while going to the market or having lunch at the food stalls across the street. They were regular people like anyone else in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Good News, Spring 2014

Better late than never! In the latest installment of our “Good News” series, the Ball State English Department highlights the accomplishments of the department’s students and faculty during the Spring 2014 semester:

Adrienne Bliss:

  • She had a chapter published in Fabricating the Body: Effects of Obligation and Exchange in Contemporary Discourse.
  • In addition, she had a paper accepted for presentation at the American Society of Criminologist’s Annual Convention last November.
  • Bliss has also been accepted to develop a class for the Interactive Learning Space Initiative in the Office of Educational Excellence for the 2014-15 school year.

Scott Bugher (B.A. 2013) has been accepted into the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Cathy Day’s book The Circus in Winter was selected as the Common Reader at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.

Kelsey Englert (M.A. 2014) was accepted into West Virginia’s MFA program with a full tuition waiver. 

Robert Habich received the Distinguished Achievement Award for 2014 at the American Literature Association meeting in Washington. The award, given annually by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, recognizes accumulated scholarly work and service in support of Emerson studies.

Darolyn Jones:

  • She was featured in an “Interview with Lyn Jones and Liz Whiteacre,” published in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.
  • She was also awarded Outstanding Proposal Submission, Diversity and Inclusivity Teaching and Research Symposium in the fall of 2013.
  • Jones also received the Excellence in Teaching (EXIT) University-Wide Award, for “Rethinking Children’s Literature: Reading for Change from Ball State University.”
  • Additionally, she received the Accessibility Faculty Member of the Year University-Wide Award from Ball State’s Office of Disabled Student Development

Craig O’Hara published his short story “New World Record,” in the upcoming spring issue of december magazine.

Paul W. Ranieri received the C. Warren Vander Hill Award for Outstanding Honors Faculty.

JoAnne Ruvoli:

  • JoAnne presented “Italian American Literature: Transnational Circuits and Contradictions” at the Modern Language Association’s Chicago Convention.
  • At the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS) Conference in Oklahoma City, she participated in a pedagogy roundtable and a comics panel: “Teaching Inter-Ethnic Encounters: Conflicts and Alliances in Italian American Literature” and “Local Histories in Lila Quintero’s Darkroom: Feminist Mapping of Inter-Ethnicities.”
  • For the Calandra Institute’s conference, MAFIAs: Realities and Representations of Organized Crime, she co-presented “The Godfather, Media Excess, and Transhistorical Spectacle” with Dr. Mary Jo Bona in New York.

Emily Scalzo:

  • She published several haikus, including “thousands of windows” in Three Line Poetry,“Chess in Uganda” in Haiku Journal, “‘I brought the first stone'” at 50 Haikus, “Every now and then” at The Germ, and “Science is dogma,” “Lynch the President,” and “The Cubs’ new mascot” at Kalkion.
  • She published the poem “Ten thousand sharks” for River Poets Journal‘s National Poetry Month 2014: Pocket Poems, “Raspberry Sorbet” in Ms. Fit Magazine, and “Fourteen Months After the Motorcycle Crash” in Melancholy Hyperbole
  • Scalzo has also published her personal essay “Fat-Shaming: Why do I owe an excuse?” at The Mindful Word, and her photograph, “Flooded River at Muncie, Indiana After February 2014 Thunderstorm” was published in Midwestern Gothic.

Maria Staton:

  • She had her paper, “The Indian Maiden on the American Stage, 1800s-1850s” published in the HumanitiesDirectory, an international journal of contemporary scholarship relating to the arts and humanities.
  • Her paper “Teaching Writing in the Interactive Learning Space Environment” was also accepted for publication in the special issue of NUML Journal of Research in Social Sciences (JRSS) on Quality Higher Education.
  • Staton presented at the “Integrating Technology in Student-Centered Collaborative Leaning,” conference.
  • She also presented at the “Teaching Writing in the Interactive Learning Space Environment,” International Conference on Quality Higher Education in Islamabad, where she gave the keynote address.
  • In addition, she obtained $3,500 for the English Department from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for hosting and advising a graduate student from the National University of Modern language.

Merrielle Turnbull’s Virginia B Ball Center for Creative Inquiry seminar’s student-created film Unconditional Acceptance: The Human-Animal Bond has been nominated for an Emmy.

Mary Lou Vercellotti:

  • She presented “The Development of Accuracy (Or Lack-there-of) in English Second Language Learners,” and “The Interaction between the Development of Lexical Variety and the Use of Trigrams in ESL” at the American Association for Applied Linguists (AAAL) Annual Conference held in Portland, Oregon.
  • Vercellotti was also chosen as an alternate for the Summer/Short-term Research Publication Grant by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Andrea Powell Wolfe’s film Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World, was screened at two film festivals and nominated for regional Emmy awards in six categories. You can check out the website and trailer here.

Turning the research paper into a proposal with real-world impact

alejandroescamilla-bookAssistant Professor Bill Holbrook created a unique unit for his English 104 students that required students to design a professional, academic proposal for the next freshman common reader. Read on to learn more about the unit, its success, and how it inspired his English 104 students to become more voracious readers.

by Bill Holbrook

Theory and Practice

With Composition II classes, there is the trend to find more relevant, researched-based writing units while staying with the core needs of the university and the English department’s writing program. In two decades of creating assignments, within my self-designed teaching packets, I have searched for assignments that combine composition theory and practice with those instructional goals.

There is always the concern, when departing from units that have been successful, that new units will not measure up. Therefore, when I wanted to make a change in one of the four ENG 104 units, I sought the help of Brenda Habich, Bracken reference librarian, and Dr. Melinda Messineo, chair of the sociology department and head of the selection committee for the Ball State Freshmen Common Reader. The reader is given out during summer orientation so that incoming students can read the book and attend a September convocation with the author. Continue reading