The American Literature Society is a professional organization of scholars devoted to the preservation, study and recognition of American literature and culture. Formerly known as the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the organization was renamed and reorganized independently following changes to MLA governance structures in 2015. The society hosts sessions at national conferences and maintains a listserv to encourage networking and exchange among students, teachers, and researchers of American literature. It annually awards the Jay B. Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies, which has been bestowed on many of the most distinguished scholars in the field.
The Activities of the American Literature Society
The ALS carries out its mission in several ways:
Jay B. Hubbell Award
For more than thirty years, the American Literature Society has presented a medal to a scholar whose lifetime of scholarly work has significantly advanced the study of American literature. Recipients of the Hubbell Award, named for Jay B. Hubbell, the founding editor of American Literature, include Leslie Fiedler, Nina Baym, Paul Lauter, Sacvan Bercovitch, Houston A. Baker, Jr., Frances Smith Foster, Lawrence Buell, Linda Wagner Martin, Robert Levine, Hazel Carby and many other influential scholars.
From 1964 to 2015, the ALS collaborated with Duke University Press to award the Norman Foerster Prize for the best essay published annually in the journal American Literature.
MLA Convention Sessions
At each annual convention of the Modern Language Association, the American Literature Society sponsors sessions, which are among the best-attended and influential meetings at the convention.
The ALS listserv is a closed forum for ALS members to post discussions, announcements, and calls for papers. To subscribe to the listserv, contact the Executive Coordinator.