About

The Department of American Literature and Culture, the Department of American Studies and the Canadian Studies Department, which together constitute the American Studies Program within the English Department of Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, are dedicated to the study, teaching, and promotion of American Studies both at the University and in the Southeastern region of Poland.

The faculty of the Departments offer a wide range of courses in American history, media, and culture, from introductory to advanced levels, as well as a comprehensive selection of courses in American literature. From the surveys for undergraduates to the thesis seminars, these courses enjoy great popularity. In fact, student curiosity about the United States, American culture, and the English language has created such a demand for comprehensive and systematic study that the number of students requesting these courses regularly exceeds the number of places available. On average, twenty students graduate each year with a thesis on American literature, culture, or history. The American Studies program (B.A. and M.A.), established in 2002 and the first such program in Poland, graduates approximately twenty students every year.

The Departments sponsor additional learning opportunities as well, many of which are open to the general public. One of the most popular of these events is the series of lectures by visiting American scholars, critics, and writers, who are invited to speak or read at UMCS on a variety of topics. Arranged either by way of the generous support of the Cultural Unit of the American Embassy, by the Polish-US Fulbright Commission, or the personal networking of department members, these lectures have become a distinctive feature of the American Studies Program. Within the past three decades, the Departments have hosted dozens of the most eminent American writers and poets, including John Ashbery, Robert Coover, Philip Levine, Robert Pinsky, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dixon, Raymond Federman, Gary Gildner, Ken Kesey, Clarence Major, Harry Mathews, Peter Meinke, William Saroyan, Mary Ellen Solt, Susan Sontag, and Ronald Sukenick, as well as such notable American scholars as Ihab Hassan, Jerome Klinkowitz, Larry McCaffery, Paul John Eakin, and Geoffrey Moore. American Studies specialists from other countries, including Germany, England, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Finland, USA, Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Australia and Japan, have also been guests on campus. Besides lecturing or providing public readings, many of our guests teach seminars or meet informally with faculty and students.

The Departments also benefit from the Fulbright program on a systematic basis. Senior Fulbright scholars from the United States contribute to the active academic life of the Departments while in residence by teaching seminars in areas of expertise beyond those of the regular faculty, by sharing their perspectives on current developments in American Studies, and by offering public lectures on a variety of topics.

American Culture is further promoted through extracurricular activities sponsored by the Departments. Students can become acquainted with American drama, for example, by participating in the Student Society of American Studies. Classics of American cinema as well as works by alternative U.S. filmmakers are presented by the Film Club. Photographs and artwork depicting the American scene are often displayed outside the department offices or in the reading room of the English Department library, where students may find an interesting selection of American books and magazines for leisure reading or research. The Departments frequently host conferences or otherwise participate in regional and national meetings devoted to topics in American Studies. Their faculty are among the most active in the Polish Association for American Studies (PAAS).

The Department of American Literature and Culture and the Department of American Studies continue to grow and adapt to the changes in higher education necessitated by a burgeoning economy and social restructuring. Presently, the Departments contribute personnel and information resources in support of six English Teacher Training Colleges established within the region, making UMCS the regional center for the organization and promotion of American Studies and of the English language.