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Current Courses

Current English courses are described below and future course descriptions are available as schedules are finalized. For descriptions of all English graduate courses, refer to the Graduate Catalog

Fall 2014 Courses


ENG 520: Introduction to Linguistics Science
ENG 601: Research Methods in Linguistics
ENG 610: Theory of Creative Writing - Reading and Writing Across the Genres 
ENG 611: Workshop in Creative Nonfiction - Writing the Personal Essay 
ENG 616: Introduction to Theories of Language Learning 
ENG 617: TESOL Methods
ENG 621: Approaches to Modern English Grammar
ENG 627: Sociolinguistics 
ENG 629: Special Topics in Applied Linguistics:  Crosslinguistic and Crosscultural Pragmatics
ENG 644: Early Twentieth-Century American Literature
ENG 660: Studies in British Authors
ENG 667: Victorian Studies: Embodying the Victorians
ENG 694: Classical Rhetoric 
ENG 697: Contemporary Rhetoric


Section 1: Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 and - 10:45 am  

Professor: Elizabeth M. Riddle  



This course will serve as a basis for further graduate work in linguistics and TESOL and will be more complex than an undergraduate introductory class.  It will introduce students to the nature of human language, its systematicity, its complexity, and its variety.  We will briefly survey major fields of linguistic study and consider some practical applications of linguistics to other fields and everyday life and social issues.  The course will challenge some popular conceptions about language and will foster the development of critical thinking, analytical, and research skills.  




Section 1: Tuesday 2:00 pm – 4:40 pm  

Professor: Carolyn MacKay



This course is a graduate-level introduction to research methods in linguistics, applied linguistics and TESOL.  The course will focus on research methodology:  project design, data collection, and data analysis.  This course will also introduce students to the writing of grant proposals, abstracts for professional conferences, and review articles.  Students will get hands-on experience in working with issues related to original research.  As a final paper they will be expected to design a research project (choosing a topic, articulating hypotheses and goals, describing the significance of the project, researching the literature available, and determining the methods of data collection and analysis).  Students will write a conference abstract, a literature review for the project, and will write a book review of one of the key sources for their topic.  The final paper is a complete research proposal.




Section 1: Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm  

Professor: Matt Mullins



This graduate creative writing course is designed specifically for MA students in English who are beginning the Creative Writing program at Ball State, but is open to all graduate students interested in reading and writing in multiple genres. Our program encourages cross-genre work and this course will ask students to consider the fundamentals and possibilities inherent in the writing of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays with the goal of inspiring students to think critically about creativity and the mechanical elements of their craft as they experiment with various forms and styles.    



In addition to reading notable examples of writing across genres, and various writers’ essays on writing (on topics such as creativity, imaginative and critical processes, language usage, and creative writing pedagogy), students will read, write, and critique original fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. Class time will consist of discussion of assigned reading, writing assignments and experiments, writer visits (including all members of the graduate faculty in Creative Writing talking about their own work), and workshop.




Section 1: Monday, Wednesday 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm   

Professor: Jill Christman   



“Don’t Spread it around, but it’s a sweet time to be an essayist.”   ~Joseph Epstein   



In this graduate-level creative nonfiction class we will focus on the techniques and art of the personal essay to explore how we think and why. Using our own experiences and perceptions as the lens through which we record the world, we’ll start by writing about the self (in a memoir piece) and as the term progresses we’ll expand our scope to write about things beyond the self—other people, other places, other ways of living in the world. We’ll work on the nuts-and-bolts of the writing (research and interview strategies, structure, point of view, storytelling, language) as we tackle the big questions facing us:  What do I want to write about and why? What about memory and forgetting? What shape might best serve the essay? What does it mean to say something true? Truer?  Truest?   Class time will be divided between discussions of published works, regular writing exercises (generative techniques, constraints, maybe a field trip or two), and both small and large group workshops of student writing.    




Section 1: Tuesday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm   

Professor: Megumi Hamada



This course introduces basic theories of language learning, with a primary focus on English as a second language learning, by examining linguistic, psychological, and sociocultural factors that influence learning success. The overall objectives of this course are to understand the basic mechanisms and phenomena of second language learning and to apply that understanding to teaching and research.






Section 1: Wednesday 12:00 pm - 2:40 pm  
Professor: Lynne Stallings

The aim of this course is to prepare students not only to understand and recognize, but to also address, the language acquisition challenges of non-native English speakers, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Students will consider a) the methods that have been used historically in the field and b) the post-method approach that often guides current practices in ESL and EFL settings.  Students will apply this information along with what they know about second language acquisition theories to develop their own principle-based approach to teaching ESL and EFL.


Section 1: Wednesday 6:30 pm – 9:10 pm    
Professor: Elizabeth M Riddle

A critical and in-depth study, from a semantico-pragmatic/discourse-functional and cognitive linguistic perspective, of aspects of Modern English grammar especially significant for the teaching of EFL/ESL and for further linguistics study.  Key theoretical linguistic concepts will be introduced throughout the course in conjunction with the study of particular grammatical phenomena.  Since it is not possible to cover in one semester all important aspects of the grammatical structure of English, an essential feature of the course will be to develop students’ critical thinking skills about the structure of English and to provide students with the knowledge and resources to continue to learn on their own. Specifically, students will develop their analytical skills about the structure of English in order to adequately handle needs such as the following in their future teaching:  EFL/ESL error diagnosis and correction, evaluation of treatments of grammar in teaching materials, and answering EFL/ESL students’ questions grammatical phenomena inadequately treated in the professional literature.  A basic understanding of traditional English grammar concepts is assumed.  Readings will be journal articles and book chapters placed on reserve in Bracken library, with supplementary handouts distributed in class.


Section 1: Thursday, 2:00 pm – 4:40 pm  
Professor: Carolyn MacKay

This course is a graduate-level introduction to sociolinguistics that investigates how social structure influences the way people talk.  We will focus on regional variation in American English and the correlation between language use and social factors such as age, gender, social class, social networks, ethnicity, and identity.  The requirements for the course are 2 papers.  The first paper will discuss in detail an aspect of linguistic variation of interest to the student (e.g. Chicano English, the use of non-standard 'like', uptalk, the origin of African American English, the Northern Cities Shift, Gullah, gender differences in language use, Hoosier dialect, etc.) while the second paper involves data collection and an analysis of linguistic variation found in conversational styles.


Crosslinguistic and Crosscultural Pragmatics  
Section 1: Monday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm  
Professor: Elizabeth M. Riddle

This course will focus on selected aspects of pragmatic variation across languages and cultures, i.e. on language use in its grammatical, discourse, and social contexts.  Areas of concern will include pragmatic conditioning of grammatical structures, the expression of speaker attitude through linguistic structures, indirectness vs. directness in conveying meaning, politeness and impoliteness in speech acts, conversational style, humor, and language in public discourse.  The languages under consideration will represent both languages known by the students who register and other languages from around the world, with special attention to those spoken by many EFL/ESL learners.  

Course Goals:

Improve students’ knowledge of how a variety of languages are similar and different in contextualized aspects of language use in varied cultural settings. 

Increase students’ knowledge of pragmatic theory and the pragmatics literature. 

Improve students’ research, analytical, and writing skills in linguistics.    

Course Readings:    

Book:  TBA
Articles/Chapters:  Will be placed on electronic reserve.  Some of these will be the original research papers by other students in the class.  

Course Requirements:

Written homework and class participation:  15% 

One original research paper of 15-20 pages, with oral presentation: 50%

One oral and written critique of another student’s paper:  25 % 

Revision of own paper in the light of the comments received: 10%.


Section 1: Wednesday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm Professor: 
Deborah Mix

This course is designed to provide an overview of the fiction, poetry, and drama of the first half of the twentieth century.  While literary modernism is part of that picture, our focus will be more broadly on “modernity” as a force.  The changes occurring in American culture in the early years of the twentieth century wrought havoc on received notions of identity, community, aesthetics, and politics.  We will consider the ways in which a range of American authors sought to represent, to resist, and to come to grips with some of these forces.  We’ll also pay particular attention to the cultural contexts for the works we’re reading.


Section 1: Tuesday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm  
Professor: Pat Collier    

“ ‘Behind the cotton wool’: Virginia Woolf and the Everyday”  

…I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we—I mean all human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. --Virginia Woolf, A Sketch of the Past

The turn of the twentieth century saw new critical attention to the Everyday as a category of human experience. Long invisible to history and literature, the Everyday—the sphere of routine or even rote tasks, attention to the needs and rhythms of the body, the intimacies and boredoms of the domestic sphere—became the subject of revolutionary thought and writing. From Freud’s inquiry into the “Psychopathology of Everyday Life,” to Walter Benjamin’s attempts to register the workings of power in such quotidian activities as shopping and organizing our homes, to the innovations of modernist fiction, intellectual life in the period was marked by a profound concern with daily activities that might otherwise seem beneath notice.

This class will be a collaborative inquiry into the writings of Virginia Woolf, whose essays, novels, letters, and diaries both validate and critique everyday life. In addition to being one of the two or three most canonized English authors of the twentieth century, Virginia Woolf is also one of the supreme novelists of the everyday: her novels record the minutiae that passes through the minds of characters on their daily rounds. Her most famous novel takes place over the course of a single day, and begins, “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself”—focusing on a seemingly insignificant detail of daily life. Woolf described the long periods we experience of routine, unfocused living as “non-being” and likened them to “cotton wool.”  And she argued that, in moments of intense perception, we see beyond the cotton wool to a truer reality that lies behind it. 

In this course we will, in dialogue with a number of critics and historians, construct a theoretical understanding of the everyday and use it as a framework to interpret and contextualize the work of Virginia Woolf. Primary readings will be drawn from Woolf’s novels, essays, letters, and diaries; contemporary writing on the everyday by Freud, Benjamin, Georges Sorrel, and others; and contemporary critics and theorists of the Everyday and of Woolf’s writing.  




Section 1: Monday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm  
Professor: Joyce L. Huff  

According to a popular legend, the Victorians were so priggish that they covered the "legs" of pianos with little skirts so as to avoid even an indirect reference to the human body in polite society. This myth, however, has proved to be entirely unfounded. In fact, current research suggests that the human body was a hot topic for discussion in Victorian Britain. Over the course of Victoria's reign, there was a huge increase in self-help literature offering advice to the public on how to manage and maintain their bodies. Cutting edge medical theories appeared in popular periodicals and informed conversations about everything from the role of women to the education of children. The body entered the political arena in debates on issues such as the management of pauper diet and public sanitation. In addition, it was the time of the freak show, which made extraordinary bodies into public spectacles. In this class, we will look at how a variety of Victorian writers, working in different genres, represented the human body. In so doing, we will think about the cultural assumptions underlying these representations and their relationship to other important Victorian issues, such as gender, health, class, empire, children, sexuality, progress, morality, work and aesthetics. Students will be given the opportunity to discuss a wide range of Victorian texts and to participate in one important branch of the current critical debate on the Victorians.


Section 1: Monday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm 
Professor: Paul W. Ranieri

Classical Rhetoric, embodied in the primary texts of such figures as the pre-Sophists, Sophists, Aspasia, Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Cicero, Quintilian, and Augustine, is not only the heart of education in antiquity, but also the touchstone to which contemporary thought on writing and rhetoric always returns, if only to disclaim or deny.  This course will study those primary texts that have been the core of classical rhetoric; it will frame those ideas in context of ancient education, it will look at contemporary responses to these texts, particularly in relation to teaching and learning; and it will lead up to the demise of ancient influences as the Roman empire dissolved and Europe moved into the early medieval era.


Section 1: Tuesday 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm  
Professor: Mike Donnelly

This course focuses on rhetoric in the 20th and early 21st Centuries, as both cultural practice(s) and an area of academic study. How have the major historical, social, technological, and cultural shifts of the last 100 Years altered the ways in which rhetoric is theorized (academically), understood (culturally), and practiced (socially)? We’ll explore some of the major scholars, theories, and movements of rhetoric in the context of the historical moments that produced them, including (especially) World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Civil and Women’s Rights, 9/11, and the emergence of both television and digital media.


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Department of English
Robert Bell Building (RB), Room 297
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-8580
Fax: 765-285-3765
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