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CALS Spring Symposium: American Literature as a Public Space

CALS Spring Symposium: American Literature as a Public Space

In addition to sponsoring initiatives that help shape the national agenda in American literary studies, a crucial aspect of CALS programming each year is to encourage the reading of American literature by the center’s many publics.  Consistent with that emphasis, this symposium brings together six invited participants with Penn State students, faculty, and the public at large to celebrate the many innovative ways individuals, museums, centers, foundations, libraries, blog sites, and other spaces are engaging readers, drawing them together, and making American literature an important public space.

The symposium features three sessions and utilizes two formats.  Two panels will be comprised of the six invited outside participants.  Each panelist will deliver a 20-minute statement about how the site with which s/he is affiliated relates to the symposium topic.  A third session, in roundtable format, will feature Penn State faculty and staff delivering short, 5-minute presentations on sites of their choosing that encourage the reading of American literature beyond the walls of the university in exciting ways.

Ultimately our goal for the symposium is twofold: to celebrate ongoing efforts to situate American literature as an important part of civic life and to imagine other ways that we might position the reading, writing, and study of American literature in public spaces going forward.

Invited Participants Include:

Ellis Avery, Author and Assistant Professor of Poetry, Columbia University; Contributing Editor to Public Books

Joseph Coulson, Author; President, The Great Books Foundation

Margaret (Maggie) Dietz, Poet and Assistant Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Director of the Favorite Poem Project;  Assistant Poetry Editor for Slate

Paul Lai, Intermittent Librarian, Hennepin County and Ramsey County Libraries; Adjunct Instructor, Information and Media Studies, Minneapolis Community & Technical College; and Co-Editor (with Stephen Sohn) of Asian American Literature Fans

Malcolm E. O’Hagan, President, the American Writers Museum Foundation; Founder, the American Writers Museum

***Final Symposium Schedule and List of Presenters TBA


from March 30, 2015 9:00 AM
to March 30, 2015 4:30 PM


Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

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