September 7, 2018
Frankenstein Friday: Frankenstein Comes to Life for Indiana College Students

Learn about the many Frankenstein programs offered to students and the public at Indiana colleges and universities during the coming semester.

This year, Indiana Humanities provided grants to more than a dozen Indiana colleges and universities to support Frankenstein programs during 2017-2018. During the coming months, many of these colleges are hosting fascinating public programs and discussions of the text in addition to coursework for students.


Ball State University (Muncie)

At Ball State, faculty and students are discussing Frankenstein from the perspective of the “body adapted,” addressing topics such as disability studies and scientific discovery in relation to the human body.  They will also explore the many ways in which Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a “body” of writing has been and can be adapted in consideration of what it means to be human.

Ball State faculty will be offering a revival of their adaptation of Frankenstein, a performance that focuses on the body, movement, and found texts. The play will be presented on Fri., Oct. 19 at the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Branch Auditorium from 6-7:30 p.m. During the Oct. 19 performance, enjoy a Franks-N-Steins beer garden with beverages provided by Scarlet Lane Brewing. A family-friendly version of the performance will be offered on Sat., Oct. 20 from 2-3:30 p.m. Both performances are free and open to the public.

Leading up to the performances at the Indianapolis Central Library, Dr. Joyce Huff, a literary scholar, will join Professor Drew Vidal, creator and director of our performance, to consider the implications of physical and textual adaptation at Muncie’s Kennedy Library on Sept. 28 from 7-8:30 p.m. Our question for the audience and ourselves will be how the text and both original and adapted helps us grapple with questions about humanity and science in relation to the body and will include an excerpt of the performance. 


Butler University (Indianapolis)

Butler University students within one of the Themed Living Communities are working with the MLK Youth Center to have conversations about Frankenstein this semester. Students will also have a chance to visit with Victor LaValle, author of the graphic novel Destroyer, before his evening talk at the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Branch on Oct. 11.


Indiana State University (Terre Haute)

Indiana State University is hosting the Aquila Theatre Company’s Frankenstein on Mon., Oct. 29. at 7:30 p.m. Tickets:


Indiana University Bloomington (Bloomington)

If you’re looking for a deep dive into Frankenstein and its contexts, check out the exhibit Frankenstein 200: The Birth, Life, and Resurrection of Mary Shelley’s Monster at IU’s Lilly Library before the year is out. The exhibition focuses on the way in which Frankenstein was monstrously and magically stitched together from other books. Mary Shelley, almost from her birth, was a voracious reader, and Frankenstein is a mad experiment of piecing together autobiography, travelogue, ghost stories, folklore, and orts of science, philosophy, and poetry that she had read, discussed with her circle of eccentric friends, digested, and repurposed into her own entirely unique intellectual child. The exhibit traces the legacy of Shelley, her peers, and her work. The exhibit is open through Dec. 2018.

In addition to this comprehensive exhibition, a series of visiting scholars will present new work on Frankenstein and its legacy. Topics will include representations of otherness and race, reproduction and gender, and science and ethics in Frankenstein. A cinema series will look at the many adaptations of this classic story, and the novel will be assigned in literature and religious studies classes.


IUPUC (Columbus)

Indiana University Purdue University Columbus is planning a slate of Frankenstein programs for students and the community. Stay tuned for more details!


IUPUI (Indianapolis)

In the fall of 2018, Frankenstein will be offered as a subject of study in several of IUPUI’s Themed Learning Communities, a series of 3-4 courses designed to introduce students to the academic experience. The campus will also host a series of Frankenstein film adaptations for students throughout the semester. During the spring of 2018, Dr. Jason Kelly’s graduate students worked together to create a deep map of Shelley’s Frankenstein – the Frankenstein Atlas.


IUK (Kokomo)

Indiana University Kokomo’s extensive partnership with the Greentown Public Library has brought more than two dozen events to Kokomo and the surrounding communities. Howard County Reads is an initiative the IU Kokomo Library and Greentown Public Library to encourage Howard County residents to read the book together this year. In addition to book discussions, a “monster” 5K, and more, organizers will host a live-streamed read-a-thon on Sept. 24 as a kick-off to Banned Books Week.


Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Indianapolis, Greencastle)

Ivy Tech of Indianapolis plans to offer campus-wide reading and discussion groups, off-campus book clubs, writing and art workshops and contests, and a Frankenstein movie marathon. During the spring of 2018, Ivy Tech also organized a program given by Jonathan Eller of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI called “Mary Shelley’s November is Ray Bradbury’s October.” Read a recap here! On Fri., Oct. 12 from 5-8 p.m., an “Ivy Boo” celebration for families will be held at the Ivy Tech Greencastle campus.


Manchester University (North Manchester)

During the fall of 2018, Manchester University will offer an interdisciplinary panel on Frankenstein as well as an exhibition on the publication history of Shelley’s novel. On Tues., Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m., Manchester faculty will participate in a panel conversation titled “Frankenstein in the Future: What Is the Ongoing Significance of Frankenstein and His Monster across the Curriculum?” Later in the year, students will be able to participate in a film screening and discussion on Thurs., Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.


Marian University (Indianapolis)

Marian University is taking an artistic approach to investigating the themes of the novel. The inspiration is French Romantic painter Theodore Gericault, who was working toward his masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa at the same time Mary Shelley published Frankenstein. Before debuting his larger-than-life painting, Gericault studied human anatomy by checking out (like a library book) body parts from the morgue. In partnership with the Indiana Medical History Museum, the Marian University Art Dept. is offering workshops such as Romantic Anatomy: Drawing from the Collection of the Indiana Medical History Museum on Sun., Oct. 7 from 2-5:30 p.m., a Gesture Drawing Workshop on Sat., Sept. 29 from 1-5 p.m., and “Mad Scientist” Monster Felting Workshops at Cold Spring Elementary School. These efforts will culminate in a masquerade at Marian University’s historic Allison Mansion Thurs., Oct. 18 from 7-9 p.m. Students and the public are invited to get dressed up, read romantic-era poetry, and view the Frankenstein-inspired art creations. A companion exhibit will be developed for the Indianapolis Arts Garden for display in March of 2019.


Purdue University (West Lafayette)

Purdue University is hosting the Aquila Theatre Company’s Frankenstein on Oct. 2-3 at the Loeb Playhouse. Tickets available via Ticketmaster.


Purdue University Fort Wayne (Fort Wayne)

PFW is hosting a month-long “Frankenfestivalia” hosted in collaboration with the Allen County Public Library. The series kicks off Thurs., Oct. 4 with medical humanities scholar Dr. Emily Beckman’s lecture on Frankenstein (to be broadcast via public access on CATV). The week of Oct. 8, PFW’s History Dept. will organize a screening of Mary Shelley (2018) followed by a panel discussion addressing feminism and Victorian literature, offered in collaboration with the Women’s Studies and English Departments. On Tues. Oct. 16, Dr. Cassandra Bausman from Trine University will give a lecture on Frankenstein and Jurassic Park at the Allen County Public Library. Finally, on Tues., Oct. 23, the Allen County Public Library and PFW are hosting a community discussion of Frankenstein at the library facilitated by faculty members from PFW.


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute)

Rose-Hulman students will be invited to use to use the text to explore the role of the scientist and engineer in society through panel discussions and campus-wide readings. On August 30, students and faculty kicked of their study of Frankenstein with a birthday celebration for Mary Shelley. Students from the International Genetically Engineering Machines group will collaborate with the Vigo County Public Library to host a genetic modification lab during November’s First Friday celebration. On Dec. 5, faculty will host a panel presentation titled, “The Ethical and Society Obligations of Engineering and Science.” Students will also participate in book discussion and film festivals to bring Frankenstein to life.


Trine University (Angola)

During the spring of 2018, Trine students investigated the ethics of responsible innovation and the legacy of Shelley’s Frankenstein through a series of courses and programs. From comics to robots, film to literature, Trine’s program series investigated the many iterations of Shelley’s famous story. Interdisciplinary coursework invited engineering and literature students to come together to make and critique robotic creations.


University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis)

The University of Indianapolis hosted a Communiversity course about Frankenstein during the fall of 2017 where students and community members came together to study Shelley’s text. Additionally, the music department at UIndy created an original score for Edison’s 1910 silent film, Frankenstein. The original score will be performed live at Indiana Landmarks’ Halloween celebration of Frankenstein on Fri., Oct. 26 in Indianapolis.


University of Notre Dame (South Bend)

The University of Notre Dame has organized “Operation Frankenstein” which kicked off with a conference at their Rome campus during the summer of 2018. Campus events include a film series, a Halloween read-a-thon, a birthday celebration for the novel, an exhibition about the book’s publication history and more! On Fri., Sept. 7 from 1-2 p.m., New Yorker artist and illustrator David Plunkert will discuss his newly-released Illustrated Frankenstein: The 200th Anniversary Edition. On Fri., Sept. 28 from 3-4 p.m., Anne Mellor, renown Frankenstein scholar, will give a talk entitled “Mothering Monsters: Frankenstein and Genetic Engineering.” Notre Dame and the Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend have partnered to present a panel on medical ethics on Fri., Oct. 12 from 3-4 p.m. Finally, on Oct. 4-5 the Aquila Theatre will bring their production of Frankenstein to Notre Dame’s Debartolo Performing Arts Center. For a full list of programs visit


Wabash College (Crawfordsville)

During the spring of 2018, Wabash College hosted a series of programs featuring in-depth conversations about Frankenstein with scholars such as Dr. Richard Gunderman of Indiana University’s Medical School. During the fall of 2018, psychology students from Wabash will participate in the 10th annual Brain Day offered by the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County on Sat., Oct. 27. Additionally, students will perform Nick Dear’s 2011 theatrical adaptation of Frankenstein. The performance will be offered on Oct. 4-6 and 18-20, free and open to the public.

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