Martin Puchner, general editor of “The Norton Anthology of World Literature” will deliver the keynote address tonight during the opening night dinner of the 70th Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) Conference at Troy University.
Co-hosted by ACETA and Troy University’s English Department, the conference will kick off at 3 p.m. in the Hawkins Hall Auditorium with welcoming remarks from ACETA President Bryan Johnson, director of University Fellows at Samford University, and Dr. Earl Ingram, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Troy University. The focus of this year’s conference is “Sympathetic Imagination: Literature, Film and Writing of Sympathy and Empathy.”
Puchner, who will speak during a dinner beginning at 6:45 p.m. in Troy University’s International Arts Center, is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University.
Puchner’s publications range from books and anthologies to more than 60 articles and essays on topics in philosophy, theater and world literature. His new book, “The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization,” tells the story of how literature has shaped the world, using 16 “foundational texts” drawn from works as varied as “The Iliad” to “Harry Potter.”
On Saturday, Dr. Kirk Curnutt, professor and chair of Troy University’s English Department, will deliver the Eugene Current-Garcia Address at 10 a.m. in room 119 of Hawkins Hall. Curnutt’s presentation will be “Night Fever: A Literary Soundtrack to the 1970s.”
Curnutt earned his Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University and joined the TROY faculty in 1993. His recent work includes editing Cambridge University Press’ “American Literature in Transition: 1970-1980,” as well as texts centered on William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Brian Wilson. In addition to scholarly work, Curnutt has published five works of fiction, including the mystery novel, “Dixie Noir.” He has been an active supporter of the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery and the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.
In addition to keynote addresses, the two-day conference also will include presentations on such topics as “The Poetics of Empathy,” “Expressions of Female Empathy,” and “Breaking Barriers through Empathy.”