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Penn State is the historic home of American Literary Studies. Established in 2006, CALS honors and extends this proud tradition.
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CALS is setting the national research agenda with initiatives like the founding of the acclaimed First Book Institute and C19: the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.
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CALS faculty engage in far-reaching works of scholarship, such as Michael Berube's pathbreaking research on disability in American literature and culture.
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CALS events and research support encourage top-ranked faculty and graduate students to pursue innovation in the field.
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CALS "community read" programs engage readers, draw then together, and position American literature as an important public space.

Welcome to the Center for American Literary Studies

Penn State is the historic home of American literary studies. In the early twentieth century, Fred Lewis Pattee became the first English professor in the country to teach classes exclusively devoted to American works. The Penn State Center for American Literary Studies aims to be similarly ground-breaking. Founded in 2006, CALS advances the study, teaching, and reading of American literature, making Penn State an internationally-recognized source of pioneering work in American literary and cultural studies. Through its dual scholarly and public outreach mission, CALS generates vital new forms of community and intellectual exchange, engaging readers, drawing them together, and positioning American literature as an important public space.

Programs and Series

Front and Center

Julia Kasdorf's fourth poetry collection addresses political issues while maintaining a personal voice.
Aldon Nielsen
Aldon Nielsen grows his impressive bibliography of scholarly and creative works with two new publications.
FBI 6 Alum Jordan Carroll won the award for his first book, published in 2021 by Stanford University Press.
The $120,000 grant will support the Initiative's MAP book series.
Foreman was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation for her work on nineteenth-century Black collective activism.
Holleman's new book equips readers to forge more meaningful connections in an ever-isolated world.
Michael Anesko
Anesko's new book considers Henry James's complex relationship to art—as creator, patron, and subject.
Shirley Moody-Turner
Moody-Turner's new edited collection features a variety of works (some never-before-published) by the influential Black writer, thinker, and activist.
Akash Belsare, Leland Tabares, and Nathaniel Windon will each begin tenure-track positions starting in Fall 2022.
'Being Here' was published by University Press of Kentucky in February 2022
New Poetry Collections, Keith Gilyard and Aldon Lynn Nielsen
Out now: Keith Gilyard’s Impressions: New and Selected Poems and Aldon Nielsen’s Back Pages: Selected Poems of A. L. Nielsen