Literature institute attracts scholars globally for 10th year


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From Algeria to Yemen, scholars from countries around the globe will travel to the University of Louisville and other U.S. venues this summer for the 10th year of a U.S. State Department-sponsored institute on contemporary American literature of all types.

    Eighteen scholars will attend the June 17-July 30 program presented by UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society. The 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 curricula used in academic institutions overseas.

    The 2011 participants are university faculty and scholars from Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Slovak Republic, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen.

    The Institute on Contemporary American Literature includes seminars, films, tours and events in Louisville, as well as trips to San Francisco, Santa Fe, Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati. Highlights include meetings with several prominent writers whose works the scholars study during the institute.


    Activities are designed to deepen the scholars’ understanding of the United States and to add context to their studies. For example, the Washington, D.C., visit includes the National Museum of the American Indian, linked to the scholars’ study of Indian literature. The Cincinnati day trip includes the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, related to literature about slavery.

    Louisville activities include dramatic performances; visits to Farmington, Speed Art Museum and bookstores; and social events to supplement many seminars with authors, teachers and publishers. Topics will span Asian American, African American, European American, Latino and American Indian literature in poetry, drama, fiction and nonfiction.

    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.

    For more information, contact the institute’s director, Tom Byers, at 502-608-6103 or 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.