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  • Announcements
  • Nick Taylor

The International Society of Steinbeck Scholars Announces an International Conference: Steinbeck and the Twenty-First Century: Identity, Influence, and Impact

1–3 May 2019, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library, San José State University

Sponsored by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies and Steinbeck Review

John Steinbeck (1902–1968) was a giant of twentieth-century culture, a writer whose work in fiction, nonfiction, drama, and film made him a household name in America and around the world. Eighteen years into the twenty-first century, Steinbeck's influence appears to be as strong as ever. His novels continue to sell briskly; his plays are performed in repertory and revived on Broadway; and Hollywood buzzes regularly with speculation about remakes of The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden.

With this conference, the International Society of Steinbeck Scholars seeks to explore how and why Steinbeck remains relevant fifty years after his death. We invite proposals from a wide variety of disciplines, including literary and cultural studies, comparative literature, film and theater, secondary and postsecondary teaching, political science, sociology, ecology, and marine biology. Topics might include comparative studies of Steinbeck and millennial authors, issues surrounding translation of Steinbeck's work, or analyses of Steinbeck's writings through the lens of key millennial sociopolitical movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. We are also interested in the ways teachers are using Steinbeck's work to engage students on social issues, contemporary artistic expression, and popular culture. [End Page 112]

Those wishing to submit proposals may do so online from August 2018 through March 2019 at

Travel funding is available for students whose proposals are accepted.

Conference Director

  • • Nicholas P. Taylor, M. H. Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, San José State University

Conference Steering Committee

  • • Cecilia Donohue, Madonna University (Retired)

  • • Barbara A. Heavilin, Professor Emeritus, Taylor University

  • • Kathleen Hicks, Grand Canyon University

Steinbeck Research Fund Honors John Ditsky

Thanks to a generous donation from Mrs. C. Suzette Ditsky, emerging Steinbeck Scholars will be able to utilize the outstanding resources in the Ball State University Libraries. The Steinbeck Research Fund has been established in honor of Mrs. Ditsky's late husband, John, who passed away on 15 May 2006. Dr. Tetsumaro Hayashi, a longtime friend, said, "He was first and foremost a passionate and dedicated scholar, teacher, and mentor." Hayashi commented that the Research Fund was "established to honor Ditsky's long-established legacy of extending a helping hand to emerging Steinbeck scholars."

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Fig. 1.

John Ditsky


Recipients will spend a minimum of five days doing intensive research using the Steinbeck collections or other materials from the Ball State University Libraries. The results of this research must be submitted for publication in a professional, scholarly, Steinbeck-related journal, and/or presented at a Steinbeck conference, convention, or lecture at a university. [End Page 113]


Applicants should submit two copies of a one- or two-page, double-spaced, Steinbeck-related research proposal, a curriculum vitae, and a completed application form (available soon at collection/steinbeck). Send applications to John B. Straw, Archives and Special Collections Research Center, Bracken Library Room 210, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.

for more information

Contact Mr. Straw at

contributions to the fund

Send to Ball State University Foundation (include Fund No. 5112 on the check). [End Page 114]



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