Faculty Profile

David Ball

Associate Professor of English (2007)

Contact Information

balld@dickinson.edu

East College Room 401
717.245.1116
http://blogs.dickinson.edu/balld/

Bio

My areas of expertise include nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature and culture, American modernism, graphic narratives, and literary theory. These eclectic interests shape both the form and content of my classes, which are all structured as multidisciplinary inquiries into the ways that literary study informs, and is informed by, other fields of knowledge. In the coming semesters, I plan to teach courses in multicultural American literature, contemporary literary theory, graphic narrative, experimental literature, and the the intersections between literary and art history.

Education

  • B.A., Stanford University, 1998
  • M.A., Princeton University, 2003
  • Ph.D., 2007

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

ENGL 101 Transntl Graphic Narrative
This course will serve as an introduction to an emerging medium in contemporary world literature: the graphic narrative. Beginning with a brief historical study of comics through the twentieth century, we will be examining recent graphic novels and memoirs by artists/writers such as Alison Bechdel, Chris Ware, Shaun Tan, Guy Delisle, Marjane Satrapi, Joe Sacco, Dylan Horrocks, and Taiyo Matsumoto, among others. Among the questions we will be asking are: How might the differing cultural contexts in which comics are created necessitate we read and see differently? How does the putatively universal language of comics cross, or remain confined by, national borders? We’ll pursue these questions with an eye toward developing the core skills of literary analysis, critical thinking, and argument-based writing. Students will be asked to compose their own online comics, write multiple thesis-driven essays, and complete a final examination.

LALC 300 Routes thru the Early Americas
Cross-listed with SPAN 380-01 and ENGL 370-01.This course will count toward the pre-1800 or post-1800 English major requirement depending on what subjects/writers the indvidual student chooses for his/her projects. The professor of the course will send the appropriate designation for each student to the Registrar's Office for coding in Banner after the semester is complete. One lens through which to view the history and literary history of the Americas, North and South, is that of national, cultural, and linguistic frontiers. Traditional understandings of this frontier have been dominated by Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis, which conceives of that frontier as a single, westward-moving, and continuously receding line across the North American continent that separates the civilized from the barbarous. Recent historians and literary critics of both British and Spanish America have challenged this model, employing theories that employ a hemispheric perspective and take into account zones of contact that are multidirectional, contested, and often discontinuous. We’ll be testing these hypotheses throughout the semester, as we look at representative works from multicultural and multidisciplinary texts in the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, including travel journals, political documents, and the visual arts, in addition to more conventionally ‘literary’ works. At stake will be not only the boundaries of indigenous, colonial, and new national territories, but the very meaning of the terms “American” and the “Americas.” Taught in English.

ENGL 370 Routes thru the Early Americas
Cross-listed with LALC 300-01 and SPAN 380-01.This course will count toward the pre-1800 or post-1800 English major requirement depending on what subjects/writers the indvidual student chooses for his/her projects. The professor of the course will send the appropriate designation for each student to the Registrar's Office for coding in Banner after the semester is complete. One lens through which to view the history and literary history of the Americas, North and South, is that of national, cultural, and linguistic frontiers. Traditional understandings of this frontier have been dominated by Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis, which conceives of that frontier as a single, westward-moving, and continuously receding line across the North American continent that separates the civilized from the barbarous. Recent historians and literary critics of both British and Spanish America have challenged this model, employing theories that employ a hemispheric perspective and take into account zones of contact that are multidirectional, contested, and often discontinuous. We’ll be testing these hypotheses throughout the semester, as we look at representative works from multicultural and multidisciplinary texts in the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, including travel journals, political documents, and the visual arts, in addition to more conventionally ‘literary’ works. At stake will be not only the boundaries of indigenous, colonial, and new national territories, but the very meaning of the terms “American” and the “Americas.” Taught in English.

SPAN 380 Routes thru the Early Americas
Cross-listed with ENGL 370-01 and LALC 300-01.This course will count toward the pre-1800 or post-1800 English major requirement depending on what subjects/writers the indvidual student chooses for his/her projects. The professor of the course will send the appropriate designation for each student to the Registrar's Office for coding in Banner after the semester is complete. One lens through which to view the history and literary history of the Americas, North and South, is that of national, cultural, and linguistic frontiers. Traditional understandings of this frontier have been dominated by Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis, which conceives of that frontier as a single, westward-moving, and continuously receding line across the North American continent that separates the civilized from the barbarous. Recent historians and literary critics of both British and Spanish America have challenged this model, employing theories that employ a hemispheric perspective and take into account zones of contact that are multidirectional, contested, and often discontinuous. We’ll be testing these hypotheses throughout the semester, as we look at representative works from multicultural and multidisciplinary texts in the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, including travel journals, political documents, and the visual arts, in addition to more conventionally ‘literary’ works. At stake will be not only the boundaries of indigenous, colonial, and new national territories, but the very meaning of the terms “American” and the “Americas.” Taught in English.

Spring 2017

ENGL 101 Gender in American Literature
Cross-listed with WGSS 101-02.This course will be an introduction to American literature that will look at representations of gender in American fiction from the seventeenth century up to the twenty-first century. We'll be particularly interested in the shifting notions of masculinity and femininity, the connections between women's writing and women's political rights, and the development of a feminist literary tradition. While focusing primarily on the short story, we'll also consider selected works of poetry, non-fiction, and memoir. The course will be reading intensive, with the expectation of weekly writing responses, three close reading assignments, and a final examination. Selected authors may include: Bradstreet, Irving, Melville, Chopin, Cather, Hurston, Dunbar-Nelson, O'Connor, Morrison, and Bechdel.

WGSS 101 Gender in American Literature
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-07.This course will be an introduction to American literature that will look at representations of gender in American fiction from the seventeenth century up to the twenty-first century. We'll be particularly interested in the shifting notions of masculinity and femininity, the connections between women's writing and women's political rights, and the development of a feminist literary tradition. While focusing primarily on the short story, we'll also consider selected works of poetry, non-fiction, and memoir. The course will be reading intensive, with the expectation of weekly writing responses, three close reading assignments, and a final examination. Selected authors may include: Bradstreet, Irving, Melville, Chopin, Cather, Hurston, Dunbar-Nelson, O'Connor, Morrison, and Bechdel.

WRPG 211 Education and Equity
Cross-listed with ENGL 212-02.Education has long been held up as one means to American ideals of class mobility and social justice, but has often been criticized as an engine of disparities in wealth and power. The aim of this course is to develop writing and critical thinking skills across traditional disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of these competing accounts of education in American life. Among the topics we'll consider: public school funding, standardized testing, racial and socioeconomic segregation in schools, prison education, and the corporatization of higher education. We will look at a range of interdisciplinary sources across the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries --everything from novels and journalism to social scientific research and economic analyses-- to investigate these questions. Building on a series of personal essays, opinion pieces, and weekly writing assignments, the course will conclude with an original, interdisciplinary research paper on a topic of the student's choosing that addresses an aspect of these larger questions.

ENGL 212 Education and Equity
Cross-listed with WRPG 211-02.Education has long been held up as one means to American ideals of class mobility and social justice, but has often been criticized as an engine of disparities in wealth and power. The aim of this course is to develop writing and critical thinking skills across traditional disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of these competing accounts of education in American life. Among the topics we'll consider: public school funding, standardized testing, racial and socioeconomic segregation in schools, prison education, and the corporatization of higher education. We will look at a range of interdisciplinary sources across the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries --everything from novels and journalism to social scientific research and economic analyses-- to investigate these questions. Building on a series of personal essays, opinion pieces, and weekly writing assignments, the course will conclude with an original, interdisciplinary research paper on a topic of the student's choosing that addresses an aspect of these larger questions.