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Emily Ruth Rutter, Ph.D.

Professor of English and Associate Dean,
Ball State University

As a teacher-scholar, I examine representations of race and gender in media (literature, film, and television), among other related topics. I'm the author of four books: Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line (University Press of Mississippi, 2018), The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press, 2018),  Black Celebrity: Contemporary Representations of Postbellum Athletes and Artists (University of Delaware/Rutgers University Press, 2021), and White Lies and Allies in Contemporary Black Media (Routledge, 2023).


With Tiffany Austin, Sequoia Maner, and darlene anita scott, I co-edited Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge, 2020). With E. Ethelbert Miller, Hazel Arnett Ervin, and Phillip M. Richards, I am also co-editor of Black Saturation: Selected Works of Stephen E. Henderson (forthcoming and available for pre-order from University Press of Mississippi, 2025). 


My essays have been published in African American Review, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and MELUS, among other journals and edited collections.

Articles and Book Chapters

Co-editor with Laura Engel, "Women and Archives" double issue of Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, vol. 40-41, 2021.

“A Question of Form: Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era.” The Cambridge History of African American Poetry, edited by Keith Leonard (Forthcoming, 2025).


“Becoming an Antiracist in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom,” in Race in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom, edited by Gary Totten and Cristina Stanciu (Forthcoming, University of Illinois Press, 2024).

"Audre Lorde". In Oxford Bibliography Online in American Literature. 25 Jun. 2024,

“White (Al)lies: Eating the Other in Donald Glover’s Atlanta and Jordan Peele’s Get Out.” Greater Atlanta: African American Satire since Obama, edited by Derek C. Maus and James J. Donahue. University Press of Mississippi, 2024, pp. 81-93.


“The Multiethnic Archive.” A Companion to Multiethnic American Literature, edited by Gary Totten. Wiley Blackwell, 2024, pp. 13-25.


“Mourning Trayvon Martin: Elegiac Responsibility in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric.” The Specter and the Speculative: Afterlives and Archives in the African Diaspora, edited by Mae G. Henderson, Jeanne Scheper, and Gene Melton. Rutgers University Press, 2024, pp. 262-286.


 “Black Gazes and White Liberals in Langston Hughes’s ‘Slave on the Block’ and Claudia Rankine’s The White Card.” The Langston Hughes Review, vol. 29, no. 1, 2023, pp. 8-28. 


 “Baseball and Beloved Community in the Memoirs and Poetry of E. Ethelbert Miller.” African American Review, vol. 44, no. 4, 2023, pp. 303-316.

* 2022 Joe Weixlmann Prize Mention of Honor. 

(with Gabriel Tait) “Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: Virtual Campus Conversations on Antiracism during the Pandemic and Beyond.” Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy (Fall 2022).

“‘the rights and privileges all people should enjoy’: Reflections on Archival Collaboration and Black Women’s Epistolary Resistance.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Special Issue “Women and Archives,” vol. 40, no. 1, 2021, pp. 51-60.

“‘Legitimate black heroes’: Amiri Baraka’s Prescient Views on the Politics of Sports.” Some Other Blues: New Perspectives on Amiri Baraka, edited by Jean-Phillipe Marcoux. Ohio State University Press, 2021, pp. 55-66.

(with Kiesha Warren-Gordon). “Stories that Matter: Making and Preserving Black Spaces and Places.” North Meridian Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2021, pp. 52-71.

“The Creative Recuperation of ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins in Tyehimba Jess’s Olio and Jeffery Renard Allen’s Song of the Shank.” MELUS, vol. 44, no. 3, 2019, pp. 175-196.

“Troubled Inheritance: Confronting Old Hiearchies in the New South,” Southern Cultures, vol. 25, no. 2, 2019,

 pp. 156-162.

“Reckoning with the Ghost of Fleet Walker in Adam Mansbach’s Angry Black White Boy or, The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay.” Aethlon, vol. 33, no. 2, 2018, pp. 1-18. 

 “Barry Beckham’s Runner Mack and the Tradition of Black Baseball Literature.” MELUS, vol. 42, no. 1, 2017, pp. 74-93.

“‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’: A Contrafactual Reading of Percival Everett’s Suder and Bernard Malamud’s The Natural.” Aethlon, vol. 32, no. 1, 2017, pp. 43-57.

“Contested Lineages: Fred Moten, Terrance Hayes, and the Legacy of Amiri Baraka.” African American Review, vol. 49, no. 4, 2016, pp. 329-342.

“Twentieth-Century African American Women’s Poetry.” A History of Twentieth-Century American Women’s Poetry, edited by Linda A. Kinnahan, Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp. 123-137.

 “‘Isolated Togetherness’: Archival Performances in Harmony Holiday’s Negro League Baseball.” Studies in American Culture, vol. 38, no. 1, 2015, pp. 7-21.

            *Winner of the 2015 Jerome Stern Award for the most outstanding essay in Studies in American Culture.

 “‘Belch the pity! / Straddle the city!’: Helene Johnson’s Late Poetry and the Rhetoric of Empowerment.” African American Review, vol. 47, no. 4, 2015, pp. 495-509.

“‘the story usually being’: Revising the Posthumous Legacy of Huddie Ledbetter in Tyehimba Jess’s leadbelly.” South Atlantic Review, vol. 77, no. 1-2, 2015, pp. 58-78.

            * Winner of the 2014 South Atlantic Review Best Essay Prize.

 “The Blues Tribute Poem and the Legacies of Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey and Bessie Smith.” MELUS, vol. 39, no. 4, 2014, pp. 69-91.

 “‘It is not death / it is being’: The Blues in the Poetry of the BLKARTSOUTH Collective.” The CEA Critic, vol. 74, no. 2-3, 2012, pp. 100-121.



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