U.S. literature institute attracts scholars globally


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Eighteen scholars from all over the world will have the chance to learn about American literature from the authors themselves and other literary experts, as well as experience the settings and culture during a University of Louisville-organized summer institute.

    Participants will attend the June 15-July 28 Institute on Contemporary American Literature presented for the 11th time by UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society. 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 curricula used in academic institutions overseas.

    The 2012 participants are scholars and university faculty from Algeria, Belarus, Brunei, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine and Vietnam.

    The institute includes seminars, 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 Cincinnati trip includes the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, linked to the scholars’ study of literature about slavery. The Washington, D.C., visit includes the National Museum of the American Indian, relating to American Indian literature.

    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 fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama.

    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 tom.byers@louisville.edu or check louisville.edu/cchs/; for general information on U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, check http://exchanges.state.gov/

    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.