English faculty hold conference dedicated to American literary studies

Fred Lewis Pattee in the early 20th century at Penn State became the first professor in the country to teach classes exclusively devoted to American works. So it’s only fitting that now faculty at Penn State have created the first society dedicated to scholars of 19th-century American literary studies, C19. The C19 society is holding its first-ever conference from May 20 to 23 at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's University Park campus, bringing together 300 attendees from around the country.

“The conference will provide those in American Studies, as well as scholars, students and teachers of the humanities more generally, with the theoretical and practical tools by which to engage and propel broader discussions about the place of American literature and culture in the worlds of yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Hester Blum, English professor at Penn State and co-organizer of the conference along with her English department colleagues Chris Castiglia and Sean X. Goudie.

The theme of the conference is “Imagining: A New Century,” both marking the 100th anniversary of scholarly study of American literature in higher education and “imagining” a new century, said Blum. The 270 presenters are bringing to the conference a wide range of panel topics, from “How to Read a 19th-Century Poem” to “Slavery and Its Legacies in 19th-Century Law and Literature” to “Intimacy and Its Terrors."

The conference is hosted by C19 and Penn State’s Center for American Literary Studies, and sponsored by Penn State’s Department of English, College of the Liberal Arts, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and Conferences, a unit of Outreach.

For more information, go to http://www.C19Americanists.org/news online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010