Series Organizers

Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl, by Goldstien

Patricia Hampl first won recognition for A Romantic Education, her memoir of her Czech heritage, awarded a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship in 1981. This book and subsequent works established her as an influential figure in the rise of autobiographical writing in the past 20 years.

Her latest book, Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime, published by Harcourt in November, 2006 was recently named one of the “100 Notable Books of the Year” (2006) by the New York Times Book Review.  A section appeared in Granta, and was included in The Best Spiritual Writing 2005. In January, 2008, Harcourt will publish her memoir, The Florist’s Daughter.

Earlier work includes two collections of poetry, Woman before an Aquarium, and Resort and Other Poems. Other books: Spillville, a prose meditation on Antonin Dvorak in Iowa, (engravings by Steven Sorman); Virgin Time, a memoir of her Catholic upbringing and an inquiry into contemplative life; I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory, a finalist in the National Book Critics Circle Awards in the category of General Nonfiction in 2000. As editor: The Short Stories of F Scott Fitzgerald; Burning Bright, an anthology of sacred poems from Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Ms. Hampl travels widely, giving readings and workshops and lectures across the United States and Europe.

She is Regents' Professor and also McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota where she teaches fall semesters in the MFA program of the English Department. She is also a member of the permanent faculty of the Prague Summer Program every July, and has been on the faculty of the Breadloaf Writers Conference regularly since 1995. She has received many fellowships including ones from the Guggenheim and Bush Foundations. In 1990 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Elaine Tyler May

Elaine Tyler May

Elaine Tyler May, Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota, received her Ph.D. in United States History from UCLA in 1975. She taught at Princeton University in the Department of History from 1974 to 1978, and then joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. She held a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University in 1980-1981, and has lectured widely across the United States and in Europe and Asia. She has served recently as President of the American Studies Association, and as the Distinguished Fulbright Chair in American History at University College, Dublin, Ireland. In 2001 the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota awarded her the Dean’s Medal for Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity; and in 2006 the University honored her with the Distinguished Women Scholars Award. She has won fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society.

Her interests include the history of the Cold War era, women and the family in the United States, the history of sexuality and reproduction, and the relationship between private life, politics and public policy. Her books include Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America (University of Chicago Press, 1980); Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (Basic Books 1988, new edition 1999); Pushing the Limits: American Women, 1940-1961 (Oxford University Press, 1996); and Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness (Harvard University Press, 1997). She is also co-editor of Here, There and Everywhere: The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture (University Press of New England, 2000), and co-author of a college-level United States history textbook, Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States (Longman, 2003). Currently, she is working on a book tentatively entitled “Gimme Shelter: The Legacy of the Cold War at Home.” In addition to her academic publications, she has also written articles and editorials for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and other journals, and has been featured on national public radio, public television, and several documentaries.

Matt Becker

Matt Becker is a PhD candidate in the American Studies department. He is finishing a dissertation that examines the relationship between political disengagement among youths since the 1960s and popular culture, which he will defend this spring. He has published on ultraviolent horror films produced in the late-1960s and early-1970s and on the cartoon South Park, and he will teach the course offered in conjunction with this conference series.