Consistently, the Trowbridge has invited nationally-known professors of American literary studies to UIUC to lecture and to visit classes.  In the past, Trowbridge has sponsored visits from Brent Edwards (then of Rutgers), Steven Mailloux (then of UC-Irvine), Juana Maria Rodriguez (UC-Berkeley), Joel Pfister (Wesleyan), Ross Posnock (Columbia), and Ken Warren (Chicago).  Not only do these lecturers visit a graduate seminar where their work figures on a professor’s syllabus, but also, in an age of shrunken departmental budgets, their visits help to sustain the academic tradition of bringing outside scholars to campus.

The Trowbridge has also sponsored visits specifically geared for the improved professionalization of Americanist graduate students, invitations issued at the suggestion of the English grad student Americanist group.  For example, Donald Pease (Dartmouth), Jonathan Elmer (Indiana), and Kathryn Bond Stockton (Utah) all came to discuss research possibilities in their field and to meet with grad students, in class or over a meal or both. (Trowbridge has picked up the tab for these meals, of course.)  Pease also lectured as part of the Unit’s calendar of events and appeared on WILL-Radio, while Stockton also met with Women’s Studies grad students. We expect to continue collaborating with the graduate students to sustain this program in the future.

Trowbridge has also promoted visits in conjunction with other units, notably Eva Illouz (Jewish Studies), Perry Nodelman, Lynn McKechnie, and Rudine Sims Bishop (Center for the Children’s Book), Alan Thomas, Humanities Editor, University of Chicago University Press  and Steven Weisenburger (IPRH). We have also brought to campus R. J. Ellis (Birmingham) in collaboration with the International Forum for US Studies and Donald Pease (Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory). We have also been a cosponsor of three Unit annual conferences:  Feminist Futures (May, 2009); Freedom and Its Discontents (April 2011); and Beyond Utopia (April 2012).

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