BLAST FROM THE PAST: REVISITING CULTURAL HAUNTINGS IN THE DLR WITH FOUNDER DR. MIX
by Kylie Poling
Dr. Deborah Mix, Professor of English at Ball State University, obtained her BA at Oglethorpe University, and her MA and PhD at Purdue University. Dr. Mix’s area of expertise relates to experimental writing, especially poetry. Her current published works include literature by Gertrude Stein, Toni Morrison, and many others, ranging in topics from educational pedagogy to 20th-century women’s poetry. She will rejoin the Digital Literature Review for its next issue. Dr. Mix was one of the founders of the DLR, its first ever issue focusing on cultural hauntings. Next year, the DLR will revisit cultural hauntings with Dr. Mix once again at the helm. Recently, Kylie Poling, member of the editorial team for the DLR, conducted an email interview with Dr. Mix to discuss her plans for next year’s journal.
Image via Ball State University
Kylie Poling (KP): Please describe your academic background and/or anything you think is important for readers of the DLR to know about you.
Dr. Deborah Mix (DM): Along with Adam Beach, I founded the DLR back in 2013. Also, despite the course’s focus on ghosts, I’m generally too chicken to watch scary movies or TV shows. So I’ve read The Haunting of Hill House, but I haven’t been brave enough to watch the Netflix series. Sad but true!
KP: Why did you decide to rejoin the DLR this year?
DM: I’m excited to be back with the DLR and to see all the ways the journal has grown since that first year. The technological landscape is so different now than it was 6 years ago, and I know I have a ton to learn. I’ve also continued to think about the ways we, as a culture, are haunted. I’m particularly interested in conversations about ways of understanding absences and erasures.
KP: The theme next year will be similar to the first year the DLR was published. What excites you most about revisiting this topic?
DM: When we chose the ghost theme for the first issue, there were dozens of texts we wanted to teach but didn’t have the time to cover. I’m excited that I’ll get to go back to that list again for this new issue. There will be one repeat on the reading list–Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which is incredibly powerful and important–but everything else will be new for 2019-2020.
KP: What are the leading theories you plan to address in the course?
DM: We’ll be drawing on some psychoanalytic theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and feminist theory. What haunts us? Why are we haunted? What can hauntings tell us?
KP: How do you plan to make DLR different this year than previous years?
DM: I’m hoping to experiment with some digital humanities approaches–mapping, text mining, and more.
KP: Every year the professor teaching this course changes. What is your teaching philosophy and how do you think that will impact the course?
DM: I teach from a feminist perspective, foregrounding students as makers of knowledge. I want to balance my own agenda for the class (and clarity about assignments and expectations) with real autonomy for students to define our areas of inquiry, their individual projects, and the trajectory for this issue of the DLR.
KP: What are you looking forward to most in the class?
DM: I’m excited for the chance to spend an extended period of time on the subject of ghosts and cultural haunting and to learn from the students on the DLR staff. (I learned a ton the last time around.)
Check out more about cultural hauntings in the 2019-2020 edition of the Digital Literature Review, coming in Spring 2020!
“Deborah Mix.” Ball State University, www.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/english/connect-with-us/faculty-staff/faculty/mixdeborah.
Mix, Deborah, PhD. Personal interview. 22 March 2019.