Scholars from 18 countries immerse in U.S. literature


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Scholars from 18 countries will hit the books at the University of Louisville and other U.S. venues this summer during a U.S. Department of State-sponsored institute on contemporary American literature of all types.

    Eighteen scholars are attending the six-week program through July 30. UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society presents the Study of the United States Institute for Scholars through a grant from the department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 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 2010 institute participants are university faculty and scholars from Belarus, Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.

    The Institute on Contemporary American Literature includes seminars, films, tours and events in Louisville, as well as trips to San Francisco, Santa Fe, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. 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 Cincinnati day trip includes the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, related to literature about slavery. The Washington, D.C., visit includes the National Museum of the American Indian, linked to the scholars’ study of American Indian literature.

    Louisville activities include dramatic performances; visits to Speed Art Museum, Farmington 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, including the Fulbright program, 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.