Douglas Noverr

Douglas Noverr

Douglas Noverr served as chairperson of the Department of American Thought and Language (since renamed the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures) at Michigan State University from 1995 through 2007. He subsequently served as  Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Letters for three years and as acting chairperson of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese for two years. He is the co-author of books on American poetry and painting, sports history, film history and studies. He was an Associate Editor of Volumes I and II of The Journalism in the Collected Writings of Walt Whitman (19998, 2003), and with Professor Jason Stacy is preparing Volume III. His published book chapters and articles cover such areas as nineteenth-century American literature and culture, popular literature and historical fiction, sports literature and films, issues of sports and society, and popular culture. He has given papers at more than 15 international conferences and currently serves as International Director of the Popular Culture Association. He served as President of the Popular Culture Association from 1997-1999 and as director of the organization’s Endowment Fund and grants program. His current research project involves researching and writing Volume III of Michigan State University’s Sesquicentennial History, covering the late 1960s to the present. He is a member of the core faculty of the American Studies Program.

My Fulbright year of 1976-1977 at UMCS in the Institute of English Philology was a memorable and rewarding one. I had the good fortune of working with Professor Franciszek Lyra, who was in charge of the American Literature section. His hospitality, friendliness, and graciousness will always be appreciated, as will that of our appointed “shepherd,” Professor Artur Blaim. After my stay we later co-edited an issue of an American Studies journal on the reception of American writers in Poland. While the teaching load was much heavier than I expected, I enjoyed continuing a seminar on Southern women writers and starting a seminar on the 20th century American novel. Part of enjoying the teaching experience was learning to adjust to a different curriculum and academic culture, and our colleagues (my wife also taught in the Institute) helped us do this. We were there in the time that Edward Gierek was the party first secretary, there were some shortages of basics, and our phone was tapped and our mail read. However, the friendliness and helpfulness of everybody in the Institute and our sense of sharing and dealing with the everyday realities and challenges of our colleagues made the year special. Now after 35 years we still have close friends in Poland and communicate with them regularly. Lublin and UMCS remain a special place in our hearts and memories.

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