Third Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars on Contemporary American Literature

The 2019 SUSI Scholars gathered to say farewell to Seattle and the program
Written by Karen L. Bystrom
August 26, 2019

This summer Seattle University hosted our third Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars on Contemporary American Literature (SUSI) under the leadership of Dr. Charles M. Tung, SUSI Director, and Dr. Ken Allan, Associate Director. “It has been such an honor to welcome this year’s cohort of scholars and teachers from around the world,” said Dr. Allan.  The 2019 participants hail from Mexico, Brazil, Togo, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey, Portugal, France, Belarus, Finland, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Nepal, Mongolia, and China.

 “We all recognized what a rare and special opportunity this was, seventeen teachers and researchers from seventeen different countries in the same room, acknowledging our differences but also celebrating what we share in common—a passion for aesthetic and cultural expression, and a scholarly commitment to listening, critical conversation, and understanding,” said Dr. Tung.

The SUSI aims to provide participants with new materials for their teaching and research on twentieth- and twenty-first-century US literature, art, and culture; more complex and diverse conceptions of the contemporary U.S.; and new ideas about theoretical approaches, pedagogical methods, and curricular structures best suited to the study of American literature and culture.

2019 SUSI Scholar Luis Alberto Perez Amezcusa at the Golden Gate Bridge"The seminar was a complete mental revolution for me,” said Luis Alberto Pérez Amezcua from Mexico. “It made me reconsider the way we teach and learn in my country.  SUSI was also an extraordinary opportunity to meet colleagues who have become friends forever."

SUSI Scholar Claude Le FustecClaude Le Fustec from France said, "SUSI is an invaluable immersion in US academic life, from meeting with a wide array of US professors, to being granted access to such famous campuses as UC Berkeley.  I can think of no better way for a foreign scholar to enter US academia."

The Fulbright-related program, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, included a four-week academic residency in Seattle with a two-week study tour of Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

The colleagues whom Dr. Tung and Dr. Ken Allan welcomed from around the globe are:

  • Aicha Hocine, Algeria
  • Caetano Waldrigues Galindo, Brazil
  • Claude Le Fustec, France
  • Esra Sahtiyancı Öztarhan, Turkey
  • Ijobat Juraeva, Uzbekistan
  • Inesa Kryshtop, Belarus
  • Isidore Guelly, Togo
  • Luis Alberto Pérez Amezcua, Mexico
  • Maha Zaouil, Lebanon
  • Simão Valente, Portugal
  • Ismailova Mutriba, Tajikistan
  • Tytti Tenhunen, Finland
  • Sainbayar Vasha, Mongolia
  • Sushil Shrestha, Nepal
  • Vijetha Kumar, India
  • Li Xuemei, People’s Republic of China
  • Yasmina Ben Mbarek, Tunisia

Supporting the program this year was Andrew Asplund from the Office of Global Engagement, who served as Program Coordinator; Dan Bentson and Elizabeth Boyle, who served as Assistant Coordinators; and Shawn Bell, Administrative Assistant in English.

 “In our third year of the program, we enjoyed new and continuing connections with a wide variety of organizations,” said Dr. Tung. “These include the Los Angeles Review of Books, American Poetry Museum's Center for Poetic Thought, UNESCO Seattle City of Literature, Seattle Art Museum, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Institute at Seattle University.”

Programming included seminars by Seattle University faculty such as Drs. Christina Roberts, Nalini Iyer, Susan Meyers, and June Johnson, as well as by distinguished professors from other universities, including:

  • Aaron Jaffe, PhD, Frances Cushing Ervin Professor of American Literature, Florida State University
  • Tom Lutz, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, UC Riverside, Founding Editor of LARB
  • Deborah A. Miranda, PhD, Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English, Washington and Lee University
  • Brian Reed, PhD, Professor of English and Milliman Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Dean of the Humanities, University of Washington
  • Judith Roof, PhD, William Shakespeare Chair of English, Rice University
  • Renée Ater, PhD, Associate Professor Emerita of American Art History, University of Maryland
  • Michaela Bronstein, PhD, Assistant Professor of English, Stanford University
  • Mark Goble, Associate Professor of English, UC Berkeley
  • Habiba Ibrahim, PhD, Associate Professor of English, University of Washington
  • Warren Liu, PhD, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, Scripps College
  • Ricardo Ortiz, PhD, Chair of English, Georgetown University
  • Robert Patterson, PhD, Chair of African American Studies, Georgetown University
  • Jesse Oak Taylor, PhD, Associate Professor of English, University of Washington
  • Benjamin Widiss, PhD, Associate Professor of Literature, Hamilton College
  • Anastacia-Renee, Seattle Civic Poet (2017-19)
  • Claudia Castro Luna, Washington State Poet Laureate

SUSI Scholar Caetano Waldrigues GalindoCaetano Waldrigues Galindo from Brazil said, “Seattle now feels like home to me.  The kindness, the generosity, and the intellectual stimulation were amazing."

SUSI Scholar Sainbaya VashaSainbayar Vasha from Mongolia added, "Not only did I get a lot of new knowledge and experience, but I also expanded my friendships.  The program is very effective and well-organized.  I now feel confident to teach American literature."

SUSI Schloar Sushil Srestha"This program has given me an opportunity to realize how diverse and inclusive American literature is,” reflected Sushil Shrestha of Nepal. “SUSI helped me experience how American values of diversity, democracy, and freedom reflect in US academia and society and cultural in general."

Seattle University hosted the Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars on Contemporary American Literature (SUSI) in 2017, 2018, and 2019, engaging scholars from 47 countries around the world.

Google Map illustrating the home countries of all SUSI participants over three years