Hester Blum

Associate Professor of English

Penn State University

Hester Blum is an Associate Professor in English at Penn State University; she teaches courses in nineteenth-century US literature and culture, oceanic studies, print culture, popular fiction, and Herman Melville. Her first book, The View from the Mast-Head: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives (UNC Press, 2008), received the John Gardner Maritime Research Award. She has also published a critical edition of Horrors of Slavery (1808), William Ray's Barbary captivity narrative (Rutgers UP, 2008). She edited a special issue of Atlantic Studies on "Oceanic Studies," as well as a volume of essays entitled Turns of Event: American Literary Studies in Motion (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). She is completing a book called The News at the Ends of the Earth: Oceanic Studies and the Ecomedia of Polar Exploration.

Her work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (most recently, a 2014-2015 NEH Fellowship), the Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, the John Carter Brown Library, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Newberry Library, the National Humanities Center, and the American Antiquarian Society, in which she was elected to membership in 2013.

In Fall 2015 she served as the interim Co-Director of the Penn State Polar Center. She also served as the Associate Director of the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities from January 2012-June 2013; previously, she was the Director of the Center for American Literary Studies (2007-2010) and was the 2015 President of the Melville Society.