Shannon Walter // Photo Provided
4th edition of Digital Literature Review to launch at tonight's gala
It’s not yet Halloween, but monsters will be the topic of discussion at the Digital Literature Review Gala tonight.
The Digital Literature Review is an immersive learning class that creates a journal of academic papers and artwork over the course of two semesters. Each year’s journal follows a specific theme, this year’s being “monsters.”
At the gala, the students will launch the fourth edition of the journal and share the stories behind the monsters included.
Joyce Huff, an associate professor of English, taught the class this year. She said all of the themes the journal has covered are interrelated.
“They’ve all covered social problems and how those are addressed in literature,” Huff said. “The students study the concept in the fall and build expertise so they can edit the journal in the spring.”
Past themes were ghosts, slavery and freak shows and human zoos.
Huff said monsters was a good theme because they embody cultural fears and anxieties.
“You can really understand fears by examining monsters in different times and places,” she said.
Noah Patterson, a junior English rhetoric and writing major, said he was interested in the theme after growing up reading Stephen King and watching horror movies.
“We have a really good mix of monsters,” Patterson said. “Readers will find things they’re familiar with and from other cultures.”
Topics include the “Mad Max” movies, Medusa, the book “A Monster Calls” and a Japanese monster called The Jikininki.
As part of the editorial team, Patterson read and reviewed the submissions that came in. Submissions are academic works like literary criticisms and analyses on novels, movies and folktales. There are also some art pieces in the book.
Patterson’s submission was about witches.
“There’s something about them I like because they’ve been around for centuries, and how they’ve evolved and been this cultural symbol for so long,” he said.
After selecting the 12 papers they wanted for the journal, members of the editorial team worked with the authors during the editing process.
“I learned about being meticulous and doing things the way they should be done,” Patterson said. “I also learned how much I can learn from other people’s writing, how I can better the way I write based on others.”
The other teams students work on are the design and publicity teams. Huff said the project is very student-driven. The first year, the students wrote a handbook about how to do the project.
“We try to go by that and update it as necessary,” Huff said. “For example, we now have a most consistent rubric for judging submissions. We got more outside [Ball State] submissions than ever before, so we had to streamline the process in order to give each submission the attention it deserves while going through a lot more.”
The journal will need the process if it keeps growing, she said. Two of the works in the book this year are international submissions.
Next year’s theme is “Imagining the Post-Apocalypse.” Papers can be submitted online through Jan. 8, 2018.
Submissions don’t have to come from just literature majors, Huff said. Anyone can submit a paper or blog post as long as they were an undergraduate in the 2016-17 academic year.
The Digital Literature Review Gala will be at 4:30 p.m. today at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Rooms 301 and 302.