Courses

Winter Term 2013/14

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. FELLNER

Prof. Fellner will be on sabbatical in the winter term 2013/14. However, she will be available for both oral (Stex, Magister) and written exams (Fachaufsatz Stex, Magisterklausur).

Examenskolloquium Prof. Fellner
Block für StexkandidatInnen

Di, 8. Oktober und Mi, 9. Oktober 2013
jeweils 16-20 Uhr
Room to be announced

Das Examenskolloquium von Prof. Fellner besteht im WS nur aus einem Block im Oktober für KandidatInnen, die im November zur mündlichen Staatsprüfung antreten wollen.

Anmeldung per E-Mail bis spätestens 30.09.2013 an
amerikanistik(at]mx.uni-saarland.de

Studierende haben die Möglichkeit ihr Thema im Rahmen dieses Examenskolloquiums zu präsentieren und Probleme zu diskutieren.

KandidatInnen für die mündliche Staatsexamensprüfung werden gebeten ihre Leselisten bis spätestens 2 Wochen vor der Prüfung bei Frau Lau abzugeben. Die formalen Anforderungen der Leseliste können bei Frau Lau oder auf der NamLitCult-Webseite eingesehen werden (siehe Your Studies).


Jennifer J* MOOS, M.A.

PS "The Poetics of Sleep(lessness): Walt Whitman to Edward Hirsch"

Wed 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Room to be announced

In this class, we will read a variety of American poems from different literary epochs including works by Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Muriel Rukeyser, Sylvia Plath, John Updike, Charles Simic, and Edward Hirsch. What all these poems have in common is their thematic focus on sleep phenomena: deep sleep, insomnia, and sleepwalking.
Some of the questions we will be asking ourselves during the course of this seminar are: In which ways do our poems portray and 'use' sleep? What do they tell us about sleep? Which images and metaphors are used in connection to sleep? In a first step, we will discuss what it means to read poetry and we will examine some introductory texts on 'how to read poetry.' We will further make ourselves familiar with the field of 'critical sleep studies' and see what contemporary literary critics have written on the relation between sleep and poetry/sleep and the poet.
This class features a guest lecture by Dr. René Dietrich (Mainz), author of a book-length study on American post-apocalyptic poetry since 1945.

Readings:
A course reader including the poems and theoretical texts which we will read in class will be made available for purchase.

Course Requirements:
Regular attendance, active participation, reading and writing assignments, short oral presentation, graded term paper / final written exam (depending on your Studienordnung).

 

PS "Queer Documentaries: Introduction to Film and Queer Studies"
(auch anrechenbar als Ü "Introduction to Media Studies")

Tue 4 - 6 p.m.

Room to be announced

This seminar serves two purposes: On the one hand it will make you familiar with the genre of documentary film, allowing you to apply some of the technical terms used in film studies. On the other hand it will introduce you to concepts and theories recently developed in gender, queer, and trans* studies.
In order to discuss a range of 'queer documentaries' from the late 1990s until the present, we will first establish a theoretical framework based in social constructivism. Challenging the essentialist notion of sex and gender as 'natural' categories ('biology is destiny'), we will examine in how far the various performances of sex and gender pictured in the films intersect with the categories of race, class, ethnicity, and age thereby troubling our normative understandings of what sexed and gendered bodies should look like and how they should interact with other bodies.

Important:
This seminar is accompanied by the screening of four 'queer documentaries' at Kino 8 1/2 (Nauwieserstraße 19, 66111 Saarbrücken) on Tuesday evenings. Students MUST attend the film screenings in order to qualify for a 'Schein.'

Dates:
26 November 2013, 03 December 2013, 10 December 2013, 14 January 2014.

Readings:
A course reader including texts on the genre of the documentary film as well as on gender, queer, and trans* studies will be made available for purchase.

Course Requirements:
Regular attendance of the seminar AND the film screenings, active participation, reading and writing assignments, graded term paper / final written exam (depending on your Studienordnung).


Dr. Simone PUFF

HS "Memories, Histories, Identities: The Fiction of Toni Morrison"

N.B.: This Hauptseminar will start in November and will be taught in a semi-block format on Thursday mornings.

Thu, Nov. 14:      9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Thu, Nov. 28:      9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Thu, Dec. 5:       9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Thu, Dec. 12:     9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Thu, Jan. 16:      9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Thu, Jan. 23:      9 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Fri, Jan. 31:       9 a.m. - 15 p.m. (Mini-Symposium and Writing Workshop)
Please note that all sessions start s.t. due to the format.

This course embarks on an in-depth exploration of the writings of Toni Morrison. As the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize (1988), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993) - the first and only ever awarded to an African American woman - and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012), she is a major contemporary Black woman writer in the United States. Weaving together discourses and themes of memory, history, and identity, her novels call attention to the importance of remembering, or - as she writes in the forward to Beloved - a "memory desperate to stay alive" (xix). Her novels have been alternately described as poetic, historic, folkloric, dream-like, and nightmarish, and are often labeled as demanding. She herself is quoted as having said, "My writing expects, demands participatory reading ... It's not just telling the story; it's about involving the reader" (qtd. in Wilentz 127). It is this act of participation that we will focus on in class as a means of coming to an appreciation of the complexity of her works. Texts discussed in class include The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1974), "Recitatif" (1983), Beloved (1987), Paradise (1997), and A Mercy (2008).
The goal of this course is to help students appreciate works by Toni Morrison in both their historical and contemporary contexts. Among other things, we will study discourses of identity (specifically race, class, gender, and sexuality), history, and memory which are expressed in the works under consideration. At the end of the semester, students should be able to identify common themes and concerns from the works studied as well as have learned to express a critical voice in literature studies.

Sources:
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Random House, 1987. Print.
Wilentz, Gay. "An African-Based Reading of Sula." Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Toni Morrison. Ed. Nellie McKay and Kathryn Earle. New York: MLA, 1997. 127-134. Print.

Please purchase the following novels in the Vintage paperback edition:


Prof. Bert HORNBACK

HS "Poets Together: Shared Lives. The Poetry of Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon"

Wed, 4 - 6 p.m.

Room to be announced

This course will examine the work of Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. Hall was born in 1928. He published his first book of poems in 1955, and has published fourteen books of poems since then, as well as more than twenty-five books of fiction and essays. Kenyon was born in 1948, and died in 1995. She published four collections of poems between 1978 and 1993. Otherwise and A Hundred White Daffodils were published after her death.
Hall's generation of American poets included James Wright, Galway Kinnell, Robert Bly, Adrienne Rich, Carolyn Kizer, Louis Simpson, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and a dozen others. His house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was an intellectual and creative focus - Hall's meeting hall, it could have been called - for those poets from 1958 until 1974.
Hall's 1964 Penguin anthology of New American Poetry, was the most important book of its kind and its time. It introduced his generation to a wide and appreciative audience. He was a brilliant teacher, and a wonderful mentor for numerous younger poets and fiction-writers during his years in Ann Arbor. Among them were Gregory Orr, Richard Ford, Joyce Pesserof, Lawrence Rabb, and Jane Kenyon.
In 1972 Hall and Kenyon married, and in 1994 they left Ann Arbor for New Hampshire, where Hall still lives - in his great-grandparents' house at Eagle Pond Farm.
We will begin with a few poems by Hall's 1950s and 1960s contemporaries, and then spend the first four weeks of the term reading Hall's poems from 1955 to 1995. Then we will spend eight weeks reading Kenyon's poems. Then we will finish with Hall's poems since 1995.

Expectations for the course are serious reading - and reading aloud. (Hall says poems are "a banquet in the mouth.") We will also listen to both Hall and Kenyon read their poems. You will write "scribbles" for the last ten of fifteen minutes of each class. And I will expect good, interesting, and well-written essays.

Our texts will be Donald Hall, White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006 (Mariner Books), and Jane Kenyon, Collected Poems (Graywolf Press).


Dr. Arlette WARKEN

PS "Portraits of the Canadian Artist: Künstlerromane by Canadian Women Writers"

Thu, 2 - 4 p.m.

Room to be announced

Literary texts frequently reflect on the role of art and their own artistic nature; many of them do so by portraying the artist's growth to personal and artistic maturity. Female writers have increasingly explored the genre of the Künstlerroman to include, among others, a discussion of female independence. In Canadian literature, gender- and art-related questions have frequently been linked to the search for a unique Canadian identity. Among the tests to be discussed are Margaret Laurence's The Diviners (1974), Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye (1988), and Jane Urquhart's The Underpainter (1997).


Mag. Klaus HEISSENBERGER

PS "Countercultures: Transatlantic Roots and Routes of Protest, Critique and Rebellion"

Blockseminar:
Oct. 17:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 2, room U 1)
Oct. 18:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)
Nov. 21:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 3, room U 1)
Nov. 22:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)
Jan. 16:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 2, room U 1): cancelled due to illness
Jan. 17:    4 - 9 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120): more info coming soon
Jan. 31:    3.30 - 8 p.m. (C 5 2, room 114)
Feb. 01:   1.15 - 4.30 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)

In this proseminar we will investigate the idea of a 'counterculture' and some of its historical and contemporary manifestations: What is a 'counter-culture,' how does it form, what are its limitations? And how did historical countercultures come into existence, thrive and blossom, to be then swallowed up by the mainstream, or to 'sell out' as the story sometimes goes?
1950s bebop jazz, the Beat poets, the Village, rock & roll and youth culture, 1960s hippie culture, British and American punk, hip hop, girrrl cultures, and a few other such manifestations will be our main examples. We will investigate their similarities and differences, paying particular attention to three important elements: The notion of 'cool', the importance of 'style', and the way in which each of these cultures adopted and adapted, mixed, blended and appropriated elements of preceding countercultures and of mainstream culture. We will examine how the 'cool' was important in establishing and demonstrating an emotional distance from dominant culture, but was soon incorporated into the world of branding and the marketplace; how style has been a key sign of difference and distinction that has traveled between mainstream and counter-cultures; and how transatlantic cultural exchanges have been significant as music, fashion, lifestyles, attitudes and ideologies that manifest countercultural practice have traveled back and forth across the Atlantic.
In the final part of the course, we will be able to discuss some recent and contemporary manifestations of countercultures, esp. also in Europe and Germany in particular. You will also have the opportunity to research such an example in detail (contemporary German Rockabilly culture? Occupy Wall Street? Hip Hop in the Saarland?), to present your own research and conclusions about the possibilities and limitations of counterculture(s).

Readings: A selection of relevant essays and excerpts from books will be made available either in a reader or on CLIX.

Course requirements: attendance, active participation, completion of reading and writing assignments, short oral presentation, and a term paper (Hausarbeit).


Mag. Payman REZWAN

UE CS II "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems: America Through the Eyes of Country Music"

Block:
Nov. 7:     3.30 - 8.30 p.m. (B 3 1, room 130)
Nov. 8:    12.30 - 7 p.m. (C 5 3, room U 13)
Nov. 9:     9 a.m. - 3.30 p.m. (C 5 3, room 408)
Jan. 18:   9 a.m. - 3.30 p.m. (C 5 3, room U 13)

In his song 'It's America', country singer Rodney Atkins delivers the following description of the U.S. 'It's cities and farms, it's open arms, one nation under God.' This is a typical description, made by country artists about their homeland. An emphasis on the rural character of the country, positive American values and a degree of religious humility. These characteristics have made country music enormously popular amongst a working-class audience, and boosted record sales and concert audiences immensely.
In this course, we will take a look at the cultural phenomenon that is country music. From its roots in the Appalachian mountains, to becoming the trigger of Elvis Presley's successful career, all the way to dominating the American music scene in our day, we will chronicle the genre's history and investigate how it became the 'music of a nation.' Furthermore, we will discuss some of its most important artists and find out how they contributed to country music's current status.
The focus of this course will be on how America is represented in country music. Especially contemporary country music, with artists such as Garth Brooks, Toby Keith or Taylor Swift, offers a wide array of different topics and deals with almost every aspect of American life and culture. You will be presented with these aspects, i.e. the American South and rural America, the struggles of the working class, politics, or the U.S. as a God-fearing nation, and we will analyze how country music deals with and represents these aspects in its lyrics and music videos.


Svetlana SEIBEL, M.A.

UE CS II "'If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?': (Self-)Representation of Native Peoples in North America"

Fri, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Room to be announced

"The truth about stories is that that's all we are," says Thomas King, one of North America's most influential contemporary Native writers. Stories create images, mythologies, understandings, but also, unfortunately, harmful stereotypes. Over the last several decades, the issue of the representation, and especially misrepresentation, of the Native peoples of North America has come forcefully to the forefront of artistic effort, political action, and academic research alike. The current heated debate over the new version of The Lone Ranger movie, released by Disney in the summer of 2013, illustrates the nature of this on-going controversy once again. In this class, we will take a look at the representation of North American Native peoples, tracing - and hopefully dismantling - the stereotypes that still to a very large extent determine the way non-aboriginal people of both United States and Canada, but also of Europe, view people of aboriginal descent. As a next step, we will look at how Native writers, filmmakers, and artists strive to counter those stereotypes and misrepresentations in their works, creating a corpus of modern cultural and fictional texts to which Native people can relate, and which serve to portray them and their struggles in a more insightful and authentic way.
Works Cited:
Chamberlin, Edward J. If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2004.
King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2005.

Primary texts: to be announced