Recent conferences and book events at the RAI have covered writers and topics including:
- ‘Alain Locke in the 21st Century’, an international conference which featured lectures from Kenneth Warren (Chicago), Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale), Paul Gilroy (KCL), Sarah Meer (Cambridge).
- A five-day interdisciplinary masterclass on Sylvia Plath, with a special focus on her manuscripts and landscape poems.
- The conference of the Emily Dickinson International Society.
- A one-day symposium on ‘American Work’, with a keynote from Kasia Boddy (Cambridge) and postgraduate and early career faculty speakers from across the UK.
- An ‘Enchanted Critique’ round table, including lectures from Nancy Bentley (Pennsylvania), Elizabeth Dillon (Northeastern), and Emily Ogden (Virginia).
The regular American Literature Research Seminar brings scholars and critics from across the world to the RAI to present groundbreaking and influential work. Recent and scheduled speakers include Sarah Rivett (Princeton), Elisa Tamarkin (Berkeley), Jonathan Elmer (Indiana), Cindy Weinstein (Cal Tech), Fiona Green (Cambridge), Shirley Samuels (Cornell), Bryan Wagner (Berkeley), and Barbara Ladd (Emory).
The annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters – the centrepiece of the university’s American literary calendar – has been delivered by some of America’s most eminent writers, including Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates and Marilynne Robinson.
The ALRS also co-sponsored a successful one-day colloquium on the topic of "American Work" in 2014, with a keynote from Kasia Boddy (Cambridge) and postgraduate and early career faculty speakers from across the UK. .
On May 30th and 31st 2014, the RAI and Ertegun House co-sponsored a conference entitled 'Alt-American: Implausible History, Geography, Science, and Literature of Nineteenth-Century America'. Speakers included Hester Blum (Penn State), Jared Hickman (Johns Hopkins), Michelle Coughlan (Manchester), Hsuan Hsu (UC Irvine), María del Pilar Blanco (Oxford), and Edward Sugden (KCL). The conference was sponsored by The Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities and the Rothermere American Institute.