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Past Faculty Achievements and Awards


Julia Kasdorf and Chris Reed were awarded a Penn State Arts and Humanities seed grant as part of the university’s strategic planning process. Their collaborative initiative involves faculty from the College of the Liberal Arts collaborating with the Palmer Museum of Art on creating a major exhibition – 50 to 60 works – of the art of Warren Rohrer (1927-1995) as it evolved in conversation with poet Jane Turner Rohrer (b. 1928), his partner of 48 years. The Rohrers were modernists from traditional Mennonite farm communities. The exhibition, associated educational programming, and a published catalog together will engage vital issues of cultural and environmental sustainability.


Hester Blum served as President of C19: the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists in 2017-2018. Founded under the auspices of CALS in 2010, C19 is the leading scholarly organization in nineteenth-century American literary studies. As President, Blum presided over C19’s fifth biennial conference, held in March 2018 at the University of New Mexico. The conference furnished far-flung scholars—more than 500 participants were in attendance, having been selected from over 800 individual proposals—with the opportunity to collaborate with each other on the conference’s theme, “Climate.”


Charlotte Holmes published a new collection of short fiction, The Grass Labyrinth, in March 2016 with BkMk Press. Her collection received both the Gold Medal for the Short Story from the Independent Publishers Association (the IPPY) and the Gold Medal for the Short Story from Foreward Magazine.

Hester Blum edited a new collection of essays, Turns of Event: Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies in Motion (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), which features essays by leading Americanists, including Penn State English faculty Chris Castiglia and Sean Goudie. This collection originated as a CALS symposium in October, 2012, making it the first edited volume to emerge from a symposium.

Michael Anesko published a new addition of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady through Cambridge University Press. He also guest curated an exhibition at the Harvard College Library entitled, "Henry James: Commemoration," which ran from May 16 through August 12, 2016.

Shirley Moody-Turner received the 2016 Penn State Alumni Teaching Fellow Award, which recognizes his distinguished record in instructing undergraduates at Penn State.

Tina Chen has received the 2016 Pavoucek Shields faculty award, which recognizes tenured faculty who have undertaken professionally oriented service and mentoring on behalf of women at the university.

Paul Kellerman has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Filipelli Institute Award for Excellence in Online Teaching, which recognizes noteworthy online teaching.

Carla Mulford has been awarded the 2016 Malvin E. and Lea P. Banks Outstanding Teaching Award, which is awarded to an outstanding full-time, tenured faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, University Park.

Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed served on the advisory board for the exhibition, “Art AIDS America,” which opened at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on July 14, 2016, after its debut at the Tacoma Art Museum and a stop at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. For the exhibition catalog, Castiglia and Reed co-authored an essay, “Mourning Militancy: Remembering AIDS Activism,” which analyzes recent documentary films and artworks that seek to create a legacy for the work of activist groups like ACT-UP.


Tina Chen launched the journal VERGE: Studies in Global Asia in 2015 to showcase scholarship within Asian and Asian American studies.  Published by the University of Minnesota Press, VERGE calls for a multidisciplinary, humanistic approach to the concept and method of “Asia.”

Rich Doyle received the 2015 Alumni Teaching Fellow Award, which recognizes his distinguished record in instructing undergraduates at Penn State.

Cheryl Glenn has received the inaugural Lisa Ede Mentoring Award of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition in recognition of her important work in mentoring feminist scholars within academic settings, writing and community centers, and professional and community organizations.

Debbie Hawhee has accepted a named position as the McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation and has received the Pavoucek Shields Faculty Award, which honors tenured faculty who have performed service and mentoring on behalf of women at Penn State University.

Charlotte Holmes has been awarded the 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award for Tenure Line Faculty for her amazing work in instructing and advising undergraduates.

John Marsh has published his third book, In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itselfwhich argues that the poetry of Walt Whitman can help us overcome the various sources (death, money, sex, political disgust) of our 21st century malaise.


Debra Hawhee is studying the curious and contradictory role animals played in pre-modern language theories and language training. Her National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship will allow her to complete her book on animals in the history of rhetoric from Aesop to Erasmus. Her most recent book, about Kenneth Burke's interwoven theories of bodies and language, won the Diamond Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association in 2010.

Hester Blum received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support her current book project on the newspapers produced during Arctic and Antarctic winters by members of polar expeditions. ''Polar Exploration and Anglo-American Print Culture, 1818-1914" examines the unexpected role played in polar ventures by what we might call "extreme printing" in order to think more broadly about the emerging field of oceanic studies.  Her previous book, "The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives," won the John Gardner Maritime Research Award.

James L. W. West III received a National Endowment for the HumanitiesAward for his work on F. Scott Fitzgerald.  West is the general editor of the Cambridge Fitzgerald edition. His edition of Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great Gatsby appeared in 2000, and his edition of Tender Is the Night was published in 2012. He was also recently award the Penn State College of Liberal Art Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award and the prestigious Cecil Woods Jr. Award for Nonfiction by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, for his biography of William Styron.


Christopher Castiglia is the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society.  His project is entitled "The Practices of Hope and other Romantic Dispositions." Castiglia is also the co-editor of the new journal J19. J19 is the official journal of C19, The Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists, which hosted its first conference in 2010 at Penn State.


Michael Bérubé became president of the Modern Language Association in 2012. Bérubé is the first president in the 30,000 member organization's nearly 130 year history to have spent his entire career at public universities.

Kit Hume was selected for the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award by theNortheastern Association of Graduate Schools.  Hume was honored for her outstanding mentoring of our graduate students, both while they were here, and in the years after they moved on.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf has edited a new edition of Fred Lewis Pattee's 1905 novel The House of the Black Ring. The novel is published out of The Penn State University Press. Pattee is considered the father of American literary studies, both at Penn State and throughout the country, as he published some of the first work written on the question of whether a distinct American literature exists. The House of the Black Ring is his second novel.

Benjamin Schreier, the Malvin and Lea Bank Assistant Professor of English and Jewish Studies, is the new editor of the journal "Studies in American Jewish Literature." His first issue as editor was 31.1, published in Spring 2012.

The Hemingway Letters Project, directed by Sandra Spanier, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The first edition of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway was published in 2011. Spanier's Hemingway Letters Project brings together undergraduate and graduate research assistants who work to transcribe previously unpublished letters, giving students a unique research experience.


Keith Gilyard became president of the National Council of Teachers of English.  The National Council of Teachers of English is "devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education."

Michael Anesko, one of the General Editors of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James, has developed a web companion to his Cambridge Edition of The Portrait of a Lady. It can be found here:  This web companion enables scholars of James to compare all significant versions of the novel.