Arvid F. Sponberg, Professor
College of Arts and Sciences 228
Professor Sponberg joined the Valparaiso University English faculty in 1972.
Professor Sponberg specializes in twentieth century drama and theater. His publications include two books: Broadway Talks: What Professionals Think About Commercial Theatre in America (Greenwood Press, 1991) , and A.R. Gurney: A Casebook (Routledge, 2003). With the help of a $10,000 Kapfer Research Award, he is researching the rise of nonprofit professional theater in Chicago. See his website www.chicagotheaterhistoryproject.org. This research has led to his joining with colleagues at Columbia College in Chicago to organize the first scholarly conference devoted solely to the history of Chicago theater. Sustaining Chicago Theatre: Past, Present, Future occurred May 18-22, 2011 at Columbia College. Planning for second symposium in 2013 is under way. For more information, visit the Symposium's website at www.colum.edu/Academics/School_of_Fine_and_Performing_Arts/theatresymposiumindex.php and www.facebook.com/groups/chitheatresymposium On sabbaticals in 2001-2002 and 2010, he researched British productions of American plays, comparative histories of public financing for the arts in the US and the UK, and the rise of departments of theatre in American universities.
Professor Sponberg has also taught courses in the theory and practice of adapting plays for the movies. Since 2009 he has taught a graduate course, New Ideas in Midwestern Literature, for which he started a blog at http://blogs.valpo.edu/midwestlit. He is a member of the Society for the Study of Midwest Literature.
His teaching philosophy is simple. He strives to be prepared, on time, audible, inquisitive, helpful, challenging, positive, and available. He enjoys working with students and colleagues from all academic areas and therefore enjoys teaching in the Valpo Core.
In addition to teaching, Professor Sponberg advises English majors and, with his colleagues Martin Buinicki and Sara Danger, the Kappa Phi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society. With his colleagues Edward Uehling and Miranda Heckler he also serves as Co-Chair of Books and Coffee, an annual series of public book reviews. See www.valpo.edu/english/news/bookscoffee2012.php
Professor Sponberg’s passions include theater, for its clarity and precision; the history of science, for its emotional and ambitious obsessions; politics, for its complicated rhythms and harmonies; music, for its democratic and inspirational vistas; football, for its graceful choreography; golf, for its brutal physicality; and religions, especially the Lutheran family, for their simple, heartbreaking mysteriousness.
Ph.D. - University of Michigan, M.A., University of Chicago, B.A., Augustana College (Illinois)