Charles S. Adams


Charles Adams

Professor Emeritus
Department of English Language & Literature

Academic History

B.A., University of California, Davis
M.A., Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle

Academic Focus

  • American Literature
  • American Studies
  • Literary Theory
  • Autobiography
  • Popular Culture


Professor Charles S. Adams came to Whittier College in 1984, following his undergraduate education at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of California, Davis and his post-graduate education at the University of Washington.

He taught in all the areas of American literature, but with a special interest in the work of the 19th Century. He also taught courses in literary theory, American intellectual history, British Romantic poetry, autobiographical writing, and a number of other things along the way. He was awarded the Harry Nerhood Teaching Excellence Award in 1994, and a special prize for teaching excellence from The Graves Foundation the following year. He has paired courses with faculty colleagues in religious studies, history, and sociology, and has taught College Writing Seminars and courses for the Whittier Scholars Program.

His recent scholarly interests have been primarily concerned with American “non-fictional writing,” especially autobiography and writing about baseball. He is interested in baseball as a cultural, social, spiritual phenomenon, manifested not only in the play of the game, but in the voluminous literature the game has produced. Most of his publications and conference presentations have been in this area.

Adams has held a number of significant administrative posts at the College. He directed the College Writing Center (for which he was given the Marilyn Veich Award by the associated student body), and has served as chair of the English department, chair of the faculty, associate academic dean, and director of the Whittier Scholars Program, and, finally, interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Professional Activity

"Baseballism: The Game, Personal Narrative, and Religious Experience," The Second International Conference on Sport and Religion: An Inquiry into Cultural Values, St. Olaf College, October 2005.

"Jackie Robinson, Curt Flood, Baseball, and African-American Spiritual Autobiography," The 18th Annual Cooperstown Symposium of Baseball and American Culture, Cooperstown, New York, June 2006. Selected for publication in The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 2005-2006, William M. Simons, ed., North Carolina: McFarland, 2007.

"The American Literary Scene, 1820-1860," in Dearinger, David B. and Grace, Trudie A., George Pope Morris: Defining American Culture. New York: Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry School Museum, in conjunction with The Boston Athenaeum, 2009.