International scholars will learn US literature at its roots


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Globe-trotting professors will head this month to an intensive summer institute of scholarship and travel organized by the University of Louisville and funded by the U.S. State Department.

    The 18 participants will attend the June 12-July 25 Institute on Contemporary American Literature presented by UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, directed by English professor Aaron Jaffe. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds the institute as part of a broader initiative to help promote a better understanding of the United States abroad by improving the quality of teaching and curriculum used in academic institutions overseas.

    The 2015 scholars are from Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Rwanda, Taiwan and Vietnam.

    Their schedule includes intensive seminars, tours and events in Louisville, as well as trips to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. Highlights include meetings with several prominent writers whose works the scholars study during the institute.

    Louisville activities include visits to cultural attractions, dramatic performances, bookstores and social events in addition to seminars with authors, professors and publishers.

    Topics and extensive readings will cover major figures from traditional and modern U.S. literature through works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama.

    Their schedule is designed to add context to their studies. For example, the Cincinnati trip includes the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, linked to the scholars’ study of literature about slavery. The Washington visit includes the National Museum of the American Indian, relating to American Indian literature.

    Institute scholars are among 40,000 people participating each year in U.S. Department of State exchange programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between people of the United States and other countries. During the 14 years UofL has been its host, the institute has brought more than $3 million in federal grant funds to the university.

    For more information, contact Tracy Heightchew at 502-852-8977 or check;for general information on U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, check

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.