American Literature Before 1900
Penn State is the historic home of American literature in higher education; in the early twentieth century, Fred Lewis Pattee became the first English professor in the country to teach classes exclusively devoted to US literary works. The Americanist faculty at Penn State aim to be similarly ground-breaking.
Recent Grad Courses
Center for American Literary Studies
The Penn State Center for American Literary Studies, directed by Sean X. Goudie, is dedicated to supporting the study, teaching, and reading of American literatures. CALS is quickly becoming a leading national center; it offers exceptional research and fellowship opportunities for Penn State faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students. The Center's activities have international reach, as well; recently, CALS sponsored and hosted the inaugural conference of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. Visit the CALS website at www.cals.psu.edu.
Field-Defining Scholarship and Groundbreaking Conferences
Penn State Americanists have formed academic societies, created new models for interdisciplinary teaching, and hosted influential conferences. For example, Hester Blum, Chris Castiglia and Sean Goudie formed the new society C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and hosted its inaugural conference at Penn State in 2010. Michael Anesko serves as the General Editor for The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James, and Carla Mulford was the founding president of the Society of Early Americanists. Bob Burkholder founded the innovative Penn State Wilderness Literature Field Institute. Lovalerie King, Linda Furgerson Selzer, and Shirley Moody Turner have co-hosted an ongoing series of conferences entitled "Celebrating African American Literature." These collaborative projects offer many opportunities for Penn State graduate students to contribute both professionally and intellectually.
Recent Faculty Books
- Monopolizing the Master: Henry James and the Politics of Modern Literary Scholarship
- The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives
- Interior States: Institutional Consciousness and the Inner Life of Democracy in the Antebellum United States
- Creole America: The West Indies and the Formation of Literature and Culture in the New Republic
- The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin
- Charles Johnson in Context
People specializing in this area
Carla J. Mulford
Colonial studies through the nineteenth century, with specialties in early African American, Native American, and women's studies, in addition to scholarship associated with environmental studies, the history of science, the history of the book, and early modern liberalism. Dissertations directed in these fields include those by Cedrick May, Amy E. Winans, Steven Thomas, and Rochelle Zuck. Current students include Mark Sturges, whose thesis, Dwelling on the Land, explores environmental writings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in an examination of the twin concerns of environmental conservation and the formulation of land policies, and Mathew C. RudeWalker, whose thesis, Where Our Dead Lie Buried, examines Native discourse and activism over language and land appropriation.