Peter Conn is the Andrea Mitchell Term Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Divided Mind: Ideology and Imagination in America, 1898-1917 (Cambridge University Press, 1983; paperback edition, 1988), and Literature in America (Cambridge University Press, 1989), which was a main selection of Associated Book Clubs (UK). Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (Cambridge, 1996; Paperback 1998), was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book for that year, was included among the five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle award in biography, and received the Athenaeum Award. Conn's books have been translated into eight languages, including Chinese, Spanish, and Korean. He has lectured on a number of American artists, including Edward Hopper, William Christenberry, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Maxfield Parrish, Charles Sheeler, and The Eight.
A John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Conn has also directed National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminars for college and high school teachers. He has received several awards for distinguished teaching, and has served as literary consultant on numerous television projects, including "The American Short Story" series, and adaptations of novels by James Baldwin and Saul Bellow.
In 1993, Conn was named visiting professor at the University of Nanjing, in the People's Republic of China.
Conn has served as Dean of the College, chair of the graduate groups in American Civilization and English, and Faculty Master of Robert Hill College House and Community House. Currently, Conn serves as Interim Provost of the University. He is also Board Chairman Emeritus of Pearl S. Buck International.
Peter and his wife Terry have four children: Steven, David, Alison, and Jennifer. Jennifer was adopted through Welcome House, the international adoption agency founded in 1949 by Pearl S. Buck.