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Literature professors cross globe for scholarly summer

by Judy Hughes, communications and marketing last modified Jun 06, 2014 11:59 AM

An intensive look at U.S. literature in the places it originated awaits 18 professors from around the globe chosen for a University of Louisville-organized institute June 13-July 26.

Participants will attend the Institute on Contemporary American Literature presented 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 2014 scholars are from Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Panama, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Their schedule includes intensive seminars, tours and events in Louisville, as well as trips to Santa Fe, 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 dramatic performances, cultural attractions, bookstores and social events to supplement seminars with authors, professors and publishers. Topics include major figures from traditional U.S. literature as well as Asian American, African American, Arab American, European American, Latino, American Indian and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 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 13 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 the institute's director, Brian Leung, at 502-852-1687 or brian.leung@louisville.edu or check http://louisville.edu/cchs/; for general information on U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, check http://exchanges.state.gov/

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