The women and gender studies program and the African American studies program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, have been combined to form the Department of Women’s, Gender and African American Studies. Sharon Jones, a professor of English at Ball State University, has been named chair of the new department.
“I think there are great opportunities for the intersection of these fields of study,” Dr. Jones said. “As the new brochure for the Ball State University Department of Women’s, Gender, and African American Studies states, ‘Women’s and Gender Studies and African American Studies are holistic, rapidly-growing fields of knowledge in demand by employers and businesses. These interdisciplinary fields address the pressing issues of how gender affects our lives, the experiences of Black people, social justice, and intersectionality.’”
Dr. Jones added: “I am pleased about the possibilities for expansion in terms of curriculum, engagement, programs, research, and scholarship. It’s not a change in teaching philosophy. It’s a college initiative to build up a space that supports exciting teaching and research on these subjects, and to create a more robust home for students and faculty who are committed to this work.”
Professor Jones’ research has focused on African-American literature with an emphasis on the intersections of race, class, and gender. She has conducted research and published books on renowned scholar Angela Davis and American author Zora Neale Hurston.
Dr. Jones earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Clemson University in South Carolina. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia.
Ball State University enrolls more than 14,000 undergraduate students. Women make up 61 percent of the student body and African Americans are 9 percent.