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Peter Conn: Vartan Gregorian Professor of English
October 6, 2009, Volume 56, No. 06



Peter Conn has been appointed the Vartan Gregorian Professor of English. A specialist in American literature, his publications include The Divided Mind: Ideology and Imagination in America, 1898-1917, Literature in America, and Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography. His latest book, The American 1930s: A Literary History, was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

A Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Dr. Conn has directed National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminars for teachers and was the recipient of an NEH Humanities Focus Grant. He has also served as a literary consultant on numerous television projects, including the Emmy-winning series “The American Short Story” and adaptations of novels by James Baldwin and Saul Bellow.

Dr. Conn received his doctorate from Yale University. A member of the Penn faculty since 1967, he has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the graduate groups in American Civilization and English, and deputy and interim provost. A recipient of both the Lindback Award and the Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching, he currently holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Education and is a member of both the History of Art and American Civilization graduate groups. Dr. Conn is also as an affiliated member of the Center for East Asian Studies and has served as a visiting professor at the University of Nanjing since 1993.

The Vartan Gregorian Professorship in English was established by Saul P. Steinberg, W’59, in honor of Dr. Vartan Gregorian, the first dean of SAS who later served as Penn’s provost, and as Brown University’s president, and is now president of the Carnegie Corporation. Mr. Steinberg is an emeritus member of the University’s Board of Trustees and former chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School.


Almanac - October 6, 2009, Volume 56, No. 06