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Sigma Tau Delta: Your Next Chapter

What is Sigma Tau Delta?

Sigma Tau Delta is an international English honor society with over 900 active chapters in the US and abroad. The organization is open to all English majors and minors, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Ball State started its chapter in the fall of 2017 with 15 members. Our chapter focuses on community outreach, both on campus and in Muncie. Some possible events we’re planning for next year include a Bad Poetry Night, a book drive, and community reading sessions. Our year culminates at the international convention (next year’s is in St. Louis!) where students can present creative and critical works, meet other members from around the world, and immerse themselves in all things English for days on end.

Who can join?

Both undergraduate and graduate students can join!

If you are an undergraduate student who has taken at least two English or literature classes at the college level, are majoring or minoring in an English concentration, and have a GPA of at least 3.5, you qualify!

If you are a graduate student, you must be studying English (any concentration), have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a GPA of at least 3.5.

If you qualify, you should have received an email inviting you to join. If you did not receive an email but think you qualify, contact Mary Lou Vercellotti at mlvercellott@bsu.edu.

How can you join?

Turn in your application (printed) and a one-time fee of $40 to the English Department main office in RB 297 by 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3.

Why should you join?

Scholarships

Members are eligible to apply for Sigma Tau Delta scholarships. Each year, the organization gives out scholarships valued at up to $5,000 each, including one to aid members who have an unpaid internship.

Internships

Sigma Tau Delta offers three awesome internships in publishing: the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, the Sigma Tau Delta Review, and a co-sponsored internship with Penguin Random House. (One of our chapter members is a top-five finalist for this one!) Members can also apply for scholarships to attend the Washington Center internship program.

Convention

We just got back from this year’s convention in Cincinnati, Ohio! Four of our members submitted work and presented at the conference, and two of them won money! Aside from possibly winning money for your writing, the convention gives you the chance to listen to peers’ work, take part in roundtable and panel discussions, attend professional development and informational sessions, network, and talk with authors (this year, featured guests included Christina Henriquez and Mary Norris). It’s not all just academic, though—the convention also hosts social events like an open mic night, a bad poetry competition, and a semi-formal awards gala.

Fellowship & Networking

Sigma Tau Delta allows you to connect with like-minded people on campus and off. You’ll befriend students you might not have otherwise met, build a stronger professional relationship with faculty members, and network with professionals in your desired field. You’ll geek out over punny English-themed t-shirts, eat lots of pizza, and laugh A LOT.

Follow our BSU Sigma Tau Delta chapter at @bsusigmatd on Instagram and Twitter, and like Ball State Sigma Tau Delta: Alpha Chi Upsilon chapter on Facebook! Contact bsusigmatd@bsu.edu with any questions.

In Print Editor: Kristen Elias Rowley

This week, the Ball State creative writing program will host its annual In Print Festival of First Books, a two-day event featuring a reading and panel discussion by writers who have just published their first books, as well as an editor from a small press or literary journal.

In anticipation of this event, we have prepared a series of blog posts highlighting each of our featured guests at the festival. Today we introduce you to editor Kristen Elias Rowley.

Kristen’s Official Bio:

Kristen Elias Rowley completed her graduate work in literary studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is Editor-in-Chief at The Ohio State University Press, where she acquires academic monographs, in addition to nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels/memoir, and poetry for the new literary trade imprint Mad Creek Books. Her acquisitions include Phillip Lopate’s A Mother’s Tale, Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas’s Don’t Come Back, and Nicholas Delbanco’s Curiouser and Curiouser. She previously worked for the University of Nebraska Press, where she acquired such books as Barry Jean Borich’s Body Geographic (a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist), Ellen Cassedy’s We Are Here (a recipient of the Grub Street Prize), Joy Castro’s Island of Bones (which received an International Latino Book Award), and Nancy Miller’s What They Saved (winner of the Jewish Journal Book Prize). Other authors she has published include Lee Martin, Sue Williams Silverman, Patrick Madden, Mary Clearman Blew, Dan O’Brien, Ilan Stavans, David Lazar, Jared Carter, Catherine Taylor, and Joy Passanante.

Interviews

Titles Acquired at Mad Creek Books

Title Acquired at University of Nebraska Press

Event Details:

Kristen will be joined at the 2018 In Print Festival of First Books by poet Carolina Ebeid, nonfiction writer Jan Shoemaker, and fiction writer Nick White.

Kristen Elias Rowley will also be visiting Professor Mark Neely’s ENG 489 class:

  • Thursday, 03/29, 5:00-6:15 in Robert Bell, Room 361

All In Print events are free and open to the public. Contact Professor Neely at maneely@bsu.edu if you would like to sit in on his class.

In Print Author: Nick White

At the end of this month, the Ball State creative writing program will host its annual In Print Festival of First Books, a two-day event featuring a reading and panel discussion by writers who have just published their first books, as well as an editor from a small press or literary journal.

In anticipation of this event, we have prepared a series of blog posts highlighting each of the writers whose work will be presented at the festival. This week’s subject: fiction writer Nick White.

Nick’s Official Bio

Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer. A native of Mississippi, he teaches creative writing at Ohio State University. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, LitHub, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. His short story collection, Sweet and Low, will be published in the summer of 2018.

Selected Interviews

Fiction

Essays

Event Details

Nick will be joined at the 2018 In Print Festival of First Books by poet Carolina Ebeid, nonfiction writer Jan Shoemaker, and editor Kristen Elias Rowley.

Nick White will also be visiting Professor Sean Lovelace’s ENG 407 class:

  • Thursday, 03/29, 3:30-4:45 in Robert Bell, Room 361

All In Print events are free and open to the public, but contact Prof. Lovelace in advance if you want to sit in on  his class.

Black Panther: Professors’ Cut

Prof. Emily Rutter teaches African American literature and Prof. Pat Collier teaches film studies in the English Department. We brought them together for a conversation about Black Panther, which, just over a month after its debut, is the seventh highest-grossing film in U.S. history.

 

PC: Hi, Emily! Before we talk about the film itself, I’d like to hear your thoughts about the film as a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther is inspiring a lot of optimism from critics and journalists, who are reading its popularity as a sign (or an engine) of racial attitudes changing for the better. Do you share this optimism at all?

ER: Yes, Black Panther has generated an incredible amount of buzz, particularly in terms of the film’s “for us, by us” ethos. You could say that this film and its popularity are part of a black arts renaissance that has ushered in a stunning wave of black-directed films: Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Denzel Washington’s Fences (an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play), Ava DuVernay’s 13th, and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (which won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture), and Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler’s own Fruitvale Station and Creed (and this is not an exhaustive list).

Historically, Hollywood is an industry that has not only been dominated by people of European descent, but has also been a key propagator of white-supremacist (and patriarchal, heteronormative, classist, ableist, what have you) ideologies. All of this to say that it’s positive both when white-dominated spaces like Hollywood are made less so, and when people of African descent are able to use the medium of film both to resist whitewashed narratives and to celebrate black pride. Thus, I hope that films like Black Panther, a high-grossing blockbuster which consistently conveys positive images of blackness, will become more common.

Pat, I’m curious as to your thoughts about the choice to represent Wakanda as a monarchy, rather than a democracy. While it was not specified, I also wondered if the implication was that this monarchy was patrilineal. In other words, if this is an Afrocentric film with anti-colonialist commitments, what are your thoughts on representing a king as the hero?

PC: Great question. Overall, I think the movie’s politics are progressive, at times even radical. I love it that racial oppression in the U.S. turns out to be, obliquely, to blame for the challenge to the Wakandan throne that drives the story. The villain Killmonger (played by the awesome Michael B. Jordan) raises the genuinely explosive question of whether it would be right for black people around the world to rise up violently. True, he’s the bad guy, but if his claim had no validity there would be nothing at stake. And the great thing about Black Panther is that, for all the glitzy CGI effects, its engagement in politics is serious. The movie ends (spoiler!) on a much more conciliatory note–Wakanda is now going to become an engine for social change through diplomacy and social programs. (Arch irony in Oakland, California being the beneficiary of foreign aid!)

But I digress. You asked about the creators’ choice to make Wakanda a monarchy, probably a patrilineal one, at that. (Not to take anything away from the female characters played by Lupita N’yongo, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright, who kick much ass.) Maybe this is one place where Black Panther can’t transcend its Superhero source material. Its otherwise sophisticated sense of political conflict and global history resolves through old Superhero tropes, including lineal politics within royal families (Hello: Star Wars!) and hand-to-hand combat between larger-than-life individuals. Individual heroism and redemptive violence still carry the day.

What’s your take on the politics of the story, Emily? Much has been written, for instance, about the image of a powerful, functional African state at the center of the story.

ER: Right, and that symbolism is significant in terms of pressuring supposedly common sense ideas about the world, both past and present. Via Wakanda, Black Panther offers another way to see and know Africa that is not polluted by Western imperialist notions of civilized vs. primitive. Wakanda has preserved its rich resources–namely, vibranium–by operating under the guise of a “third-world” nation, outsmarting the colonizers by using their own prejudices against them. Taken as a whole, the film encourages viewers to question the ways in which nations (and indeed continents) are categorized and understood.

The film also poses several related questions: What is the most appropriate way to heal the African Diasporic wounds of the past by using the technologies of the present? How does a people threatened by exploitation preserve precious resources without denying them to people in need? We could also view these questions through the lens of art. For example, in beginning and ending the film in the director’s hometown of Oakland, Ryan Coogler might have been self-reflexively considering his own role as a now famous filmmaker. In other words, how will he resist becoming a stooge for, in this case, Disney, while also using his talents and platform to empower those caught in the crosshairs of various forms of structural oppression and violence?

Pat, what kinds of questions does the film raise for you regarding the role that these blockbuster films funded by corporate giants like Disney might play in resisting neo-colonial ways of knowing? Or, if that is too leading (ha ha), what are the other aspects of this film that intrigue you?

PC: Well, your question brings me back to the limits of the genre. I already mentioned that the superhero genre more or less stipulates that the conflict will be resolved by a strong individual through an act of redemptive violence. This is a very capitalist, western, individualist trope: it’s Shane taking down the cattle barons and Gary Cooper cleaning up Hadleyville. It’s also impossible for a film like Black Panther not to be a bit semi-colonial in its own right–serving up exoticized images of distant lands which the viewer gets to enjoy from the safe, commanding view of a (reclining!) theater seat. The power of Hollywood and of Disney to bring you these images is a powerful undercurrent that goes more or less unchallenged, don’t you think?

ER: Yes, that’s true. And, let me also say that for all my of my skepticism about Hollywood and Disney I recognize the importance of fantasies, especially in the form of utopic visions of Africa. In my African American literature class, we are gearing up for a unit about literary representations of Africa, so I’m excited to see the ways in which Black Panther informs our discussions. What about you, Pat? Do you plan to teach this film, or reference it in your film studies courses?

PC: You’re so right about fantasies. Film class for me is about recognizing what kinds of fantasies we’re being offered and how they work. And, sometimes, simply recognizing that they are fantasies. (I’m thinking about rom-coms and how they re-enforce middle-class and heteronormative values, and re-iterate the cultural narrative that pairing off solves all your problems). But, yes, I do think Black Panther would be a great film to teach, precisely because I want students to discern when film fantasies are potentially transformative, or liberating, or productively critical, and when they are re-enforcing harmful beliefs or simply promoting disengagement.

Any final thoughts, Emily?

ER: #wakandaforever

New musical by BSU profs revisits King assassination, Kennedy speech

“Dear Bobby: A Musical,” written by BSU English professors Angela Jackson-Brown and Peter Davis, will debut on Thursday, March 22 at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre in Indianapolis. Prof. Jackson-Brown is the author of the novel Drinking from a Bitter Cup, the upcoming poetry collection House Repairs, and the plays Black Lives Matter (Too), Anna’s Wings, and It is Well, among other works. You can find more info about her work at www.angelajacksonbrown.com. Peter Davis is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Band Names and Other Poems. You can find more info about his work at artisnecessary.com.

Department Assistant Chairperson Pat Collier spoke with Jackson Brown and Davis about the new musical.

PC: Your play tells the story of Bobby Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis on the day of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Kennedy was discouraged from going on with the speech but insisted; it’s been suggested that his intervention may have prevented rioting in Indy.

Angela, how did you get selected to write this musical?

AJB: Most times when I write, the vision is 100% mine. In this instance, I was commissioned by the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative to write a play about Bobby Kennedy’s speech on April 4, 1968. That night, Kennedy had just finished giving a speech to over 10,000 Ball State University students (another wonderful connection to this story), so the historical component to this event was not lost on me. I strongly believe in serendipity and this felt like one of those moments.

James Still, the phenomenal playwright at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, produced a play about this event called April 4, 1968. I knew I wanted to do something totally different and out of the box, so I immediately thought, this story needs to be a musical. And because Pete and I had just completed writing a musical called Underneath the Chinaberry Tree, I knew we could do this project together. Our work ethic is so similar. We don’t procrastinate, and we are never so married to our work that we can’t listen. I don’t know if he and I will be the next Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I do know I would love to work on future projects with Pete. He gets me, and I believe, I get him too.

PC: Peter, you’re primarily a poet (though you’ve written a lot of songs). How is writing for a musical different from your previous work?

PD: I haven’t written music for a musical before working with Angela, but working on it wasn’t much different than working on other projects. No matter what I’m doing, I’m always working within a certain set of constraints, like the genre, or my abilities, or time, money, and access. Being an artist always feels like the same thing because the “art” part takes place regardless of (or inside of) the specific constraints.

PC: Creative writers spend a lot of time working alone, in complete control of their creations. What was it like working collaboratively?

PD: Working with Angela was great. It was super easy. She basically did everything. Angela secured funding for the both of us, wrote the play, wrote the lyrics, coordinated with the IndyFringe Theater, and even sang some of the melody for one of the songs.  Once she’d explained the project to me she gave me a file with lyrics for seven songs. All I had to do was to come up with the melodies. I’m constantly writing songs and so this felt like a vacation for me; half the songs were already done; I just had to fill in the music.

Of course, on some songs I had to tinker with the lyrics to fit a particular pattern or something, but Angela had already written the lyrics in a structure and so that job was mostly done. She gave them to me all at once and I just worked on whichever song I wanted to until I’d finally completed them. It was during the summer and so I sat at the piano in my living room and just messed around. It was pretty relaxing. It reminded me of the expression “many hands make light work.” Except in this case, it should be “Angela’s hands make light work.”

It was so easy working together that in the weeks prior to working on “Dear Bobby” we used roughly the same process to complete another musical, this one full of blues music. This play has yet to be produced, but my point is simply that working with Angela was easy and fun. I’d work with her on anything, anytime.

AJB: I love the art of collaboration and when I wear my playwriting hat, collaboration is imperative. Up until this project, my favorite collaboration was with BSU alum Ashya Thomas, who studied in our department. Ashya and I wrote Black Lives Matter (Too). This play received glowing reviews and was invited to two different festivals. Even though she was a student at the time, I respected her craft and her understanding of our subject matter.

The only way collaboration can work is if there is 100% trust between the collaborators. It is never one person’s vision. It might start out that way, but then, it becomes the vision of the director, the costumer, the sound and lighting designer, the scenic designer, and the actors (just to name a few). So, a playwright cannot afford to go into a theatrical writing project without considering the fact that there are many voices that must be heard if the project is going to go off without a hitch.

When it came to working on Dear Bobby, I was prepared to share the vision with Pete because more than anything, I trust him. This musical depended heavily on his musical vision and understanding of the historical time we were writing about. Pete asked all of the right questions, and then, we were off to the races, so to speak. Working with Pete was a dream. We never had to scrap a song because we just clicked so well artistically that we instinctively knew what was going to work. At times, it felt like he was inside my head (I hope he didn’t get scared up there.)

My goal as a teacher is to encourage other young writers to consider collaboration. Learning how to collaborate prepares young writers for that day when they hopefully sign with a literary agent. People may not realize it, but the agent and writer are collaborators. My agent, Alice Speilburg, is phenomenal when it comes to suggesting things I need to change or work on, and I know I have to be open to her suggestions. I have to trust that the people I put in my camp are there to make my work the best it can be.

Tickets for Dear Bobby: A Musical are available at http://www.indyfringe.org/theatre-show/dear-bobby-musical.

 

 

 

Madisen Ray Petrosky: succeeding with “a positive attitude and a well-written sentence”

Madisen Ray Petrosky graduated from BSU with a BA in English Literature in 2011. After attending the University of Denver Publishing Institute in 2012, she started a career in social media management and nonprofit marketing. She’s managed #GivingTuesday campaigns, website redesigns, and lots of hashtag holidays. She recently took a position in Public Relations. In this blog post, she recounts her journey from an internship to her first job to her exciting new position. And she highlights how her education in English was crucial at every step.

“You do you.” It’s often a throwaway line on social media, but what better way to succinctly affirm individuals who are doing what they love because they love it?

The last time I wrote for the Ball State English Blog was the winter of 2012. I had recently attended the University of Denver Publishing Institute and hoped to go into publishing as an editor or marketer. As optimistic as I was at the time, I knew I needed more experience.

In January 2013, I started a marketing internship at a law firm in downtown Indianapolis. Five months there gave me a crash course in email etiquette, how to navigate an office, and what it’s like to commute in every weather scenario the Midwest can throw at you. I also realized that I didn’t want to move to New York just to enter the publishing industry when I could do a lot of what I enjoyed – writing, researching, posting on social media – right here in Indy. (A trip to NYC a couple years later that laid me out with the flu confirmed that New York is a fun place to visit, but not somewhere I want to live.)

Towards the end of my internship, I interviewed for a marketing coordinator position with Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation. The job description seemed ideal: strong written and verbal communication skills, experience with social media and website management, and knowledge of Greek life, which I had as a previous Sigma Kappa at Ball State. After a short interview process, I was delighted to be offered the job on the second-to-last-day of my internship. I enthusiastically accepted (which is a low-key way of saying I jumped up and down in my tiny apartment and called my mom, screaming).

When I started at Theta Foundation in June of 2013, I had no idea that I was beginning an incredible four-year journey that would teach me so much – and see me rely on what I learned from Ball State so often.

Project management was a huge aspect of my job at Theta Foundation. Coordinating multiple vendors when designing, printing, and mailing an annual report, or being part of a multi-member team designing a website from scratch–these projects require keeping tabs on the project, the deadlines, and how you can ferry it along. I didn’t always love group projects at Ball State, but unless you work in an office of one, most of what you do will be a group project. You’ll learn quickly that not asking for help when you need it or trying to do too much yourself can be detrimental to your mental health and your career.

In four years of working with incredible individuals at Theta Foundation, I began to think about what was next. I could write about nearly every aspect of Theta Foundation in my sleep, and as comforting as that was, it was time to infuse some variety into my daily work. After having dinner with a friend who worked at a public relations agency, I started to think about working in an agency environment.

No matter what type of agency you work in, there are a few things I can guarantee: it’s going to be a lot of work, you’re going to be busy, and you’re never going to be bored. I was ready for that next step. After submitting my writing samples and navigating the interview process, I was thrilled to accept an account executive position at Dittoe Public Relations in September of 2017.

Now you may be thinking, “Ball State has a public relations major. Shouldn’t you be a PR major if you want to work in PR?” I wondered that myself and said so during my interview. But my interviewer, now my office mentor (and a fellow Ball State grad), said to me: “We can teach you the techniques and the tools used during PR, but the most important skill you’ll use every day is writing.” And writing is something I can do thanks to my English degree.

In addition to writing everything from media pitches to press releases to technical articles, I do a lot of research to be able to write all those items. Being on four account teams for four clients in four different industries, I don’t always know the nuances of the subjects I’m writing about. As was true in Ball State classes or my internship, being able to take a deep dive into a new subject then distill that information succinctly is a vital skill.

Time management and structuring my days are two skills I learned at BSU that I’ve relied on most in my change from Theta Foundation to Dittoe. At Theta Foundation, everything I did was for and about Theta Foundation – every email I sent, blog post I wrote, file I sorted, or brainstorm session I was a part of was for Theta Foundation. But at Dittoe, because it’s an agency, everything I do is divided between four clients and Dittoe itself. You have to able to structure your day, switch tasks – or buckle down – as needed, and have a great attitude during it all. A positive attitude and a well-written sentence will get you far.

I didn’t expect my career would lead me to PR, but I’m completely enamored with it. It takes everything I love about marketing and social media and adds a renewed focus on writing and digging in to my local community. Every single day is different and keeps me on my toes. My English degree gave me the tools to succeed in PR, and I’m delighted that I can be a part of the Dittoe PR team today.

I’m doing me with my English degree. You do you.

 

 

Originally written by Madisen Ray Petrosky

Michael Prosser: A Teacher’s Odyssey

Michael H. Prosser received his BA in English with minors in Latin and speech in 1958, and his MA in English with a minor in Latin at BSU in 1959. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Communications with a minor in English in 1964. He has taught at Ball State, the University of Virginia, and the University of Swaziland, and other schools across the world. Prosser is also a founder of the academic field of intercultural communication, and has written or edited books on topics ranging from classical and medieval rhetoric to international public discourse.

You are among Ball State’s most esteemed alumni. What are a few memories that stand out to you from your time here?

I was an undergraduate debater at BSU and president of the campus Newman Club. In 1978, BSU gave me an Outstanding Alumnus award. Several of my books are in the BSU library, as well as my MA thesis ‘’Solitude in the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne,” (under the leadership of Alfred Harding Marks), and my Ph.D. thesis “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speeches of Adlai Stevenson in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.”

When I was a teaching assistant at Ball State in 1958-59, I taught one quarter of American Literature and two quarters of public speaking (which included lots of vets who had fought in Korea). My supervisor was Lucille Clifton, and I had classes on Milton with Jon Loury as well as courses with Paul Royalty, Alfred Harding Marks, Joseph Sattler, and Edward Strother. The most interesting three quarter course that I took in the English Department was Shakespeare: in fall, histories; winter, the comedies; spring, the tragedies. Continue reading

January Good News: Prof. Lyn Jones Receives a Provost Immersive Learning Grant (and More!)

We’ve got a lot of good news to share this month!

Faculty News

Prof. Sean Lovelace published four “Letters to Jim Harrison” in Willow Springs Magazine Winter 2018 issue.

Prof. Carolyn J. MacKay and Prof. Frank R Trechsel published “An Alternative Reconstruction of Proto-Totonac-Tepehua” in the International Journal of American Linguistics.

Prof. Michael Begnal published a review of recent books by Irish poets Trevor Joyce, Nerys Williams, and Susan Connolly in the latest issue of Trumpet, a journal of criticism and opinion published by Poetry Ireland.

Prof. Rani Deighe Crowe’s poem, My First Love, was published in The American Journal of Poetry Volume 4.  Rani’s short film Texting: A Love Story is an official selection of the Harrogate Film Festival, to be held in March in Harrogate, UK. Texting will also be screening at the inaugural Bull City International Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina and the Women’s Worldwide Film Festival in Scottsdale, Arizona this month.

Prof. Emily Rutter published “Going Back to Kansas City: An Interview with Ira McKnight” in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.

Prof. Pamela Hartman, with current graduate student Hannah Fulton and former BSU graduates Jessica Berg and Brandon Schuler will be presenting “Memes to Mirrors: Integrating the Visual Arts into Secondary English Language Arts” at the International Federation of Teachers of English conference in Birmingham, UK in June.

Prof. Ben Bascom published a book review in Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life and was invited to write a response to an essay about Henri Michaux.

Prof. Adam R. Beach presented on “Olaudah Equine and the Temptations of Ottoman Migration” at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the premier conference in literary studies, in New York on January 7. The paper was part of a session on “Migrancy and Empire in the Eighteenth Century.”

Prof. Sreyoshi Sarkar also presented at MLA. She organized the January 7 roundtable on “Visualizing Violence in Contemporary States of Insecurity” and presented her paper, “Michael Winterbottom’s In This World and the Disjuncture/s of Globalization” at the roundtable.

Professor Cathy Day was invited to be a special guest at “Uncle Dan’s Book Nerds,” a periodic book chat hosted by renowned Hoosier author Dan Wakefield. The event will take place from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, February 11 at the Aristocrat Pub’s Oxford Room. For tickets and more information, go here.

Prof. Jennifer Grouling published “The Path to Competency-Based Certification: A Look at the LEAP Challenge and the VALUE Rubric for Written Communication” in the Journal of Writing Assessment.

Prof. Lyn Jones received a Provost Immersive Learning Grant for Fall 2018. Her project is “Rethinking the Stories We Publish, Shelve, and Read: Rethinking Disability in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.”

Prof. Jill Christman has two new essays coming out in prestigious literary journals this spring: “Naked Underneath Our Clothes” in Creative Nonfiction and “Life’s Not a Paragraph” in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.  Professor Christman’s contribution to Essay Daily’s advent calendar in December celebrated former English Department students: “Jill Christman on Essays to Pry Open Doors: Ashley C. Ford, Alysia Sawchyn, & Brittany Means.”

Speaking of Ashley C. Ford, this incredible news: Flat Iron Books will be publishing her memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, under the imprint An Oprah Book.

Prof. Kathryn Ludwig gave a talk entitled “Offred and Gilead” and led a discussion on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at a Muncie Public Library book club meeting at Maring-Hunt Library on Wednesday, January 24.

Prof. Guilherme D. Garcia will present “Regulating the interaction between lexical statistics and the grammar: a naturalness bias in learning weight” at the 41st Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) conference, held at the Hungarian Academy of Science in Budapest in April.

Prof. Rai Peterson is teaching at Book Arts Collaborative, a community letterpress and hand-sewn book bindery located in the Madjax Building in downtown Muncie.  You can learn more by visiting the collaborative’s website or listening to this Ball State Daily News podcast on which Dr. Peterson muses aloud about the materiality of books. Book Arts Collaborative holds an open house on First Thursday from 5-8 p.m., offers community workshops, and is available for tours and demonstrations by appointment.

Student News

Mary Carter’s essay “Returning in the Snow” was published online by Atticus Review.

Alumni News

Morgan “Mo” Smith Heldman, who graduated with a BA in Creative Writing in 2013, recently got a job writing content for Samsung mobile apps. She lives in Greenville, SC. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Rachel Tindall, who graduated with a MA in English Studies in 2017, recently accepted a position as Project Intake Coordinator at Orchard Software in Indianapolis, which delivers diagnostic information systems to healthcare organizations. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Nikole Darnell, who graduated with a BA in Creative Writing in 2017, is working for the Lebanon Reporter in Lebanon, IN and recently became a columnist. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Kate Carnahan, who graduated with a BA in Creative Writing in December, recently got an internship as a Communications Intern at Habitat for Humanity of Evansville. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Emily Barsic, who graduated with a BA in Literature in 2017, recently got a job working as a Camp Coordinator and doing Marketing at Share Foundation with the Handicapped in Rolling Prairie, IN. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Faculty Reading Series: Rani Crowe and Kathryn Gardiner

At the beginning of February, the Ball State Creative Writing program will host a reading focused on two of our talented faculty members: Rani Deighe Crowe and Kathryn S. Gardiner. Aside from featuring their poetry and screenplays, the event will also screen several of Professor Crowe’s short films.

The reading will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, in Room 225 Arts and Journalism Building (AJ). It is free and open to the public—so bring your friends and family and come support your amazing creative writing faculty!

Rani Deigh Crowe

Rani Deighe Crowe is a filmmaker, theater artist, and collaborative inter­disciplinary artist, and has been making and performing her work for more than twenty years. Her short film Beautiful Eyes was named “Best of ” at the Final Girls Women in Horror Film Festival and has screened in Berlin and Nuremberg, Ger­many, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Innsbruck, Austria. Her short film, Texting: A Love Story, has screened at more than 80 international film festivals in­cluding the Athens International Film and Video Festival, Tall Grass Film Festival, RapidLion South Africa International Film Festival, and the Valley Film Festival Los Angeles.

As a starving artist, Rani has lived in New York, Chicago, London, and Washington, DC. She has managed a bookstore, managed a restaurant, built theater sets, worked the spotlight at a nightclub, taught preschool, been a substitute teacher, been a live-in nanny, acted as a simulated patient training doctors, and much more. In her spare time she enjoys making jewelry and kayaking, and she is currently teaching herself to sew.

Kathryn S. Gardiner

Kathryn S. Gardiner received her bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications from Ball State University and her master’s degree in Screenwriting from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. As editor of special products for the Hoosier Times in Bloomington, In. from 2007 to 2015, Kathryn spearheaded The South-Central Indiana Wedding Guide, H&L, INstride, BizNet, and Adventure Indiana. The latter publication let her try out roller derby, spelunking, gymnastics, contemporary dance, and a GORUCK Challenge.

She spent more than three years as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter, “retiring” in 2011 with a record of 2-2 (or 3-2, if you count her Muay Thai bout in Las Vegas, which she likes to). She has a deep love of The Lord of the Rings, Captain AmericaStar Wars, and Star Trek, as well as Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. She currently teaches screenwriting at Ball State and lives with a marvelous tabby cat named Cairo.

 

Meet Prof. Alex Kaufman

Although originally from Philadelphia, Alex Kaufman comes to us from Auburn University at Montgomery, in Alabama, where he was department chair and Professor of English. This summer, Dr. Kaufman was named the Reed D. Voran Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Ball State. He teaches courses on Robin Hood, outlaws and banditry, historical literature, medieval literature, and medievalism. He is the co-editor of the book series Outlaws in Literature, History, and Culture from Routledge Publishing and is  the co-founder and co-editor of the scholarly journal  The Bulletin of the International Association for Robin Hood Studies. Click here to see his Academia page.

Dr. Kaufman will give a talk at 4pm Monday, February 5, in AJ 175 on “Robin Hood and the Outlawed Literary Canon.”

After Dr. Kaufman got settled in to Muncie, we sat down to get to know him a bit.

What led you to Ball State?

I was drawn to Ball State’s commitment to the liberal arts and the humanities, especially in the undergraduate curriculum. Both the Honors College and the Department of English underscore the intellectual and professional value of an education focused on immersive learning, critical thinking, diversity, and an engagement with social concerns.

How did you become interested in Robin Hood? 

I was very fortunate to study with Thomas H. Ohlgren at Purdue University during my graduate studies. Tom was, and remains, one of the leading scholars of the early Robin Hood poems, and his enthusiasm for the subject was contagious. With Robin Hood – and other outlaws in literature and history, from the medieval period to the present day – I am drawn to those individuals and groups who are marginalized by the society in which they live, and I seek to understand why and how society creates these outsiders, and how these marginals attempt to survive within their literary or real worlds. The outlaw will always be relevant and a presence in most contemporary contexts.

What are you reading?

I am reading Sean M. Conrey’s recent book of poetry, The Book of Trees. It is an extension of the medieval paradox of the beauty one finds in the external world and the challenge to fully describe and comprehend it. It is elegiac, contemplative, and timely.

What are some of your hobbies or interests?  

I love exploring nature, especially with others, and Indiana has so much to offer. I also love listening to music, especially King Crimson, Warren Zevon, and John Cale, and I never stopped buying vinyl. We lost count of how many boxes of books, albums, and CDs we moved to Muncie!

What advice would you offer students? 

Take full advantage of everything that Ball State has to offer now, don’t wait. And talk to your professors and advisors to create those professional connections – these can only help you when it comes to job placement, applying to graduate programs, and making sense of your studies.