When I first served as Fulbright Professor of American literature at the University of Vienna in 1991–92, I knew that I would have exciting opportunities to teach in one of the world's most engaging cities. I did not know, however, that my experience would lead to more than 25 years of collaboration, international programs, and scholarly work. I returned for a second Fulbright in 1995–96 and then, working closely with my close friend and colleague, the late Professor Kurt Mayer, developed an international web-based site, "Easy Riders," devoted to American literature and film "on the road." Kurt and I exchanged visits to our home countries and then led a travel course along the Mississippi River with students from the University of Vienna and my own Bradley University. Kurt's untimely death prevented us from offering the program a second time, but Professor Astrid Fellner, Mag. Klaus Heissenbeger, and I returned to the Mississippi with students from Vienna, the University of Saarland, and Bradley.
My Fulbright experience also led to the development of Bradley's Study Abroad program in Vienna, which I have directed since 2006 and in which hundreds of Bradley students have worked closely with students in Vienna, exploring the presence of American culture in Austria. Vienna called to me again as the source of my research in English-language cinematic versions of the city, research which led to the publication in 2016 of "Screening Vienna," a 450-page study of films from the 1920s to 2015. In 1991, I could not have anticipated all the benefits to myself and so many students and colleagues of that first Fulbright experience. Let's hope that other scholars and students will have similar opportunities.
Prof. Dr. Timothy Conley is a professor at Bradley University, Illinois, and was a US Fulbright Scholar in 1991–92, as well as 1995–96.