Peter Conn is Professor of English and Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds the Vartan Gregorian Chair in English and is also an affiliated member of the Center for East Asian Studies. Among his publications, Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (Cambridge, 1996; Paperback 1998), was chosen as a “New York Times Notable Book,” was listed among the best 25 books of 1996 by Publishers Weekly and among the best books of the year by Library Journal, was included among the five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle award in biography, and received the Athenaeum Award.

Conn's books and chapters have been translated into eight foreign languages and he has lectured at numerous universities in America and internationally. He has written on international adoption, the job market in the humanities, and American universities' relationships with China. A John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Conn has directed National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminars for college and high school teachers and was the recipient of an NEH Humanities Focus grant. He has received several awards for distinguished teaching. Conn has served as literary consultant on numerous television projects, including as principal literary advisor to “Oprah's Book Club” for The Good Earth. In 2009, The Teaching Company released Conn's video course on “American Best Sellers.” Since 1993, Conn has served as visiting professor at the University of Nanjing, in the People's Republic of China. He has been appointed a Fulbright Specialist scholar. In 2011, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Conn lectured for several weeks in West China on topics in American studies.

Last Updated: May 2, 2014

Out of School


The Rehabilitation of Pearl Buck

Peter Conn
In the summer of 1934, Pearl Buck boarded a ship in Shanghai that was bound for America. She was forty-two years old, and had lived for thirty-four of those years in China, mostly in cities along the Yangzi River. Pearl and her first husband, John...