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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 Michel 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

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
"Transatlantic Modernism and the US Lecture Tour" derives from the dissertation project that earned Volpicelli, now an Assistant Professor of English at Randolph-Macon College (VA), a CALS Dissertation Fellowship in 2014-15.
Tina Chen
Tina Chen receives 2021 award honoring her indefatigable mentorship from AAAS
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
Michael Bérubé
Bérubé received this award, for distinguished service to the profession of English studies, at the 2022 Annual MLA Convention.
No Ruined Stone
Shara's latest collection of poetry, No Ruined Stone, was published by Alice James Books in August 2021
The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century
Gabrielle Foreman, Jim Casey, and Sarah Patterson’s edited collection is now out from the University of North Carolina Press.