James M. Cahalan

  • James Cahalan

    Professor Emeritus of English

    Office: 110 Leonard Hall
    Phone: (724) 357-2262
    E-mail: CahalanIUP@gmail.com


    PhD, University of Cincinnati, 1982
    MA, University College, Dublin, 1976
    BA, New College, Sarasota, Florida, 1975

    Academic Interests

    Modern and contemporary Irish literatures in both English and Gaelic, including fiction, drama, poetry, and film; modern and contemporary American literature, especially nature writing, Appalachian and southwestern authors; modern British literature, particularly drama and fiction; theory (new historicism, feminism, ecocriticism, cultural studies, others); and pedagogy (teaching college literature in light of both theory and pragmatic concerns, observing and videotaping classroom teaching, and mentoring teaching associates).


    From 1984 to 2013 I was professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in Indiana, Pennsylvania, 55 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, teaching courses in IUP’s English Department and its Graduate Program in Literature, which I directed during 1987–91. I continued directing, into my retirement, 13 dissertations, and while at IUP I directed 36 other dissertations and much student writing that was published. During my 29 years at IUP, I did a lot of outside consulting and university service. I was program chair of the 35th annual national Appalachian Studies Association conference at IUP in March 2012. I earned my PhD at the University of Cincinnati in my hometown, my MA at University College, Dublin, and my BA at New College in Florida. Before coming to IUP, I taught for seven years at three other universities: the University of Cincinnati, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and Northeastern University. You can e-mail me at CahalanIUP@gmail.com and sample a few of my publications by clicking on these numbers: on  Edward Abbey 1 2 3 , 4 56; on  pedagogy, 12 , and  3; and on Irish literature, 1 2 , 3 4 , and 5 .  My final academic publications were on pedagogy, including my article “Teaching Classroom Video recording Analysis to Graduate Students:  Strategies for Observation and Improvement” (2013) in College Teaching. "Teaching Hometown Literature:  a Pedagogy of Place" appeared in College English in January 2008. I co-edited the book Practicing Theory in Introductory College Literature Courses.

    Cahalan: Edward Abbey book cover thumbnailI am the author of the biography Edward Abbey: A Life, which can be ordered online at discount in paperback. This book, which won the 2002 Thomas J. Lyon Award from the Western Literature Association, was excerpted in the New York Times Book Review. A Korean translation of this book was published in 2006.  I’ve presented on Abbey more than 30 times, Cahalan speaking at Eastern Arizona Collegein 10 different states, such as in Arizona in 2008. The most distinguish-
    ed literary native son of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Abbey was the author of numerous essays and novels and the inspiration for the environmentalist movement called Earth First! and the elaborate and very useful Abbey's Web hosted in Stockholm, Sweden, where you can read my Earth First! article about Abbey since 9/11. You can also read and look at all the pictures and maps in my article about the Appalachian Abbey. I sponsored the Abbey state historical marker, dedicated in 1996 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, beside the village sign at Home, Pennsylvania, ten miles north of Indiana, near where Abbey grew up. You can see a gallery of photos from the February 2002 IUP library display on Abbey, and also a photo of Ed and me in Flagstaff, and a drawing of me in Jim Stiles’s Abbey-inspired, wonderful Canyon Country Zephyr. I’ve visited many U.S. national parks, I taught a course on that subject, and I published an article about Abbey in National Parks magazine.   

    Cahalan: Double Visions book cover thumbnailMost of my other publications since 1976, including five of my seven books, are about Irish authors, particularly fiction writers beyond James Joyce. My article "Mercier’s Irish Comic Tradition as a Touchstone of Irish Studies" appeared in 2004; an earlier one was about the reader in Finnegans Wake . My last of five books in the field was DoubleVisions: Women and Men in Modern and Contemporary Irish Fiction (1999). I spent four months in Ireland in 1973 and have been in love with the country ever since then, returning more than a dozen times for visits ranging in length from two weeks to a year-and-a-half. I taught courses on Irish literature and the Irish language beginning in 1978, and I directed an Irish studies undergraduate degree program in the early 1980s and a summer-study abroad program in Dublin in the late 1980s. I was a long-time member of the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) and the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL). In summer 2006 I attended the IASIL Conference in Sydney and took a lot of photos of Australia and New Zealand. In 2009 I traveled to Argentina, where I took some more photos. During 1996–99 I lectured in many places on the Great Irish Famine or Hunger of more than 150 years ago. A lot of my work was concerned with Irish history, folklore, language, and gender issues. I am a big fan of traditional Irish and other Celtic music. Cahalan: Home picture 

    A Quaker concerned about peace, social justice, and environmental issues, I enjoy tennis, biking, and golden doodles.

    Course Specialties


    At IUP (an incomplete list--not updated in the last few years): 

    ENGL 581 Literary and Cultural Dublin (in Dublin Program) 

    ENGL 673 Seminar in British Drama 

    ENGL 674 Bibliographical Methods in English 

    ENGL 671 The Novel 

    ENGL 676 Critical Approaches to Literature 

    ENGL 685 Criticism: Contemporary Approaches to Literature 

    ENGL 752 Literary Theory for the Teacher and Scholarly Writer 

    ENGL 753/853 Literature as a Profession

    ENGL 760/860 Teaching College Literature                                                                             

    ENGL 762 Topics in American Lit. since 1870:  Appalachian Literature 

    ENGL 764 Topics in British Literature since 1660: Modern Irish Lit. 

    ENGL 764/864  Irish Writers of Nature and Place

    ENGL 764 Top. in Brit. Lit. since 1660: Mod. British and Irish Fiction 

    ENGL 764 Top. in Brit. Lit. since 1660: Modern British and Irish Drama 

    ENGL 764 Top. in Brit. Lit. since 1660: 20th-Century Irish Poetry 

    ENGL 764 Top. in Brit. Lit. since 1660: Irish Comic Writers 

    ENGL 765 Topics in Literature as Genre:  Hometown Literature      

    ENGL 765 Top. in Literature as Genre: The 20th-Century Bildungsroman 

    ENGL 765 Topics in Literature as Genre:  Nature Writing and Biography 

    ENGL 766 Topics in Comparative Literature: Modernism 

    ENGL 766/866 Topics in Comparative Literature:  Pairs of Irish and U. S. Texts

    ENGL 784 Literary Theory Applied to Major Author: Joyce 

    ENGL 784 Literary Theory Applied to Major Author: Yeats 

    ENGL 784 Literary Theory Applied to Major Theme:  Bildungsromans 

    ENGL 784 Literary Theory, Gender, and History in Irish Fiction  

    ENGL 785 Biography 

    ENGL 785 Coming of Age in 20th-Century Irish Fiction and U. S. Nature Writing 

    ENGL 785 Ecocriticism applied to Irish and U. S. Writers 

    ENGL 785 Hometown Literature   

    ENGL 984 Literature from the Irish Diaspora

    ENGL 984 Joyce's Ulysses

    ENGL 985 Ecocriticism, Place Studies, Environmental Writing, and Hometown Literature

    The Irish Short Story (University of Massachusetts--Boston [UMB])


    AT IUP: 

    ENGL 101 College Writing 

    ENGL 121 Humanities Literature 

    ENGL 202 Research Writing 

    ENGL 306 Modern British Literature 

    ENGL 352 Symbol and Allegory                                                                                            

    ENGL 353 The Oral Dimension                                                                                              

    ENGL 386 Regional, Hometown Literature                                                                              

    ENGL 386 Regional Literature in English:  Appalachian Literature                                                 

    ENGL 387 Irish Literature                                                                                                     

    PS 481 Modern Ireland:  Literature and History (in Dublin Program)                                            

    HNRC 499 Honors Synthesis:  Appalachian Culture                                                                    

    HNRC 499 Honors Synthesis:  National Parks                                                                            

    LBST 499 Senior Synthesis:  Appalachian Culture                                                                    

    HNRC 499 Honors Synthesis:  Appalachian Culture 

    LBST 499 Senior Synthesis:  Modern Ireland 

    LBST 499 Senior Synthesis:  National Parks

    Yeats (UMB)
    Joyce (UMB)
    Irish Literature (UMB)
    The Study of Folklore (Northeastern University)
    Masterpieces of Twentieth-Century Literature (UMB)
    Practical Criticism (UMB)
    World Literature (University of Cincinnati [UC])
    Great Themes in Literature: Crime (Northeastern)
    Introduction of Modern Irish (UC)
    Intermediate Composition (UMB)
    Writing about Literature (UC)
    Writing about Film (UC)
    Freshman English I (UC, UMB, and Northeastern)
    Freshman English II (UC, UMB, and Northeastern)
    Developmental Composition (UMB and Northeastern)

    Programs Developed at IUP and Taken Through Senate Approval:

    PhD in Literature and Criticism (1989), with 15 new courses

    MA  in Literature (1990), with 11 new courses

    MA/Generalist (1990), with 11 new courses

    • Oversaw Senate approval, as a package, of these two M.A. tracks as well as the ones in Teaching English and TESOL

    BA in Literature (1997), with 27 new courses

    Earlier Courses Developed at IUP:                                                           

    EN 581/681 Topics in Irish Lit. and Studies (for Dublin Program)
    EN 480 Senior Seminar
    EN 382 War in Literature
    EN 280 Country Life/City Life
    EN 373 Concepts of Character in Drama and Novel
    EN 372 Alienation in Literature                                                                                     

    EN 352 Symbol and Allegory
    EN 350 The Metaphoric Perspective
    EN 217 Drama
    EN 216 Short Fiction
    PS 581/481 Modern Ireland: Lit. and History (for Dublin Program)