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"I had as supportive a mentor as a young scholar could hope for, who helped me attain research grants, guided me through the thesis-writing process and told me over and over again that academic writing could change the world.” – Bekah Trollinger ’04

Literary Studies

Words Change Worlds

Because we believe writers and readers are agents of change;
Because we believe when we write and read, we change ourselves, our relationships and our communities, both local and global;
Because we believe we need more understanding, not less;
Because we believe we need more writers and readers, not fewer:

We read texts from across time and across cultures,
texts about individuals and texts about communities.
We read books that matter, from the traditional to the radical.

We teach literary studies because the world needs writers and readers.

We teach literary studies because words change worlds.


The Bethel College Literary Studies department offers a distinctive set of classes reading international literatures across a historical range of contact zones. We believe literature should reach beyond the academic walls to engage the greater community – with travel courses, cross-listings with Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies, and a range of events. Our individualized creative writing major allows students to take workshop courses in multiple genres and work with faculty one-on-one. To see current activities, follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BCsLiteraryStudiesDepartment.

BCLines is Bethel’s literary magazine, providing a place for students, faculty and alumni to publish creative writing, art and photography. The journal hosts literary events throughout the year, including a night of surrealist literary parlor games, and a journal release party and reading event every spring. Students can gain editorial experience by working on the magazine and gaining internship credit.

Bethel’s Department of Literary Studies has begun a writing project in relationship with the Offender-Victim Ministries Prison Arts Program at Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Students are invited to come to HCF once a week and contribute to the meaningful and liberating role of writing in the lives of an incarcerated population.

Opportunities for travel include studying drama in Chicago. A future literature-based trip to Haiti is in the works.