Courses

Course Registration

Course Registration for the summer term 2018 will start on 12 March 2018.

Check LSF for details on individual times/classes.


Summer Term 2018

In the summer term 2018 NamLitCult is offering the following courses:

Prof. Fellner will be on sabbatical in the summer term 2018.

"Blockkolloquium" for oral state exam candidates: April 5, 2018.  All topics can be presented and discussed. Please bring handouts for your brief presentations. Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via email by March 29, 2018 (amerikanistik[at]mx.uni-saarland.de).

together with Svetlana Seibel, M.A.
VL "Fan, Fantasy, Fantastic: The Fantastic in Contemporary Popular Culture"

Wednesday, 18.30 - 20
Filmhaus

Anrechenbar für Zertifikat "Angewandte Pop Studien"
Pflichtmodul 2: Pop in der Praxis

It can be said without exaggeration that Fantasy is currently one of the most popular genres in contemporary literature and popular culture. In the collective imagination of the twenty-first century as well as in literary and cultural theory, however, the fantastic means much more than simply the category of Fantasy. Used in its broadest sense, the term has come to embrace all manifestations of speculative thinking, including the technology and natural sciences based genre of science fiction with all its subcategories; the Gothic and other forms of dark storytelling in various media, including music; urban superhero tales in print and on screen; the list goes on. The fantastic narrative impulse has also produced an extensive transmedial landscape capable of accommodating different fan cultures whose membership is often vast and very engaged, as well as a great number of cultural institutions which support and cater to the desire for embodied experience and world-building which the fantastic often triggers. Accordingly, this lecture series will explore the theme of the fantastic from different points of view, from theoretical to practical. It seeks to illuminate the multifaceted fascination the fantastic produces and its diverse manifestations in various parts of the contemporary popular cultural landscape. The lecture series thus offers contributions from both academics and practitioners of the fantastic in popular culture, exploring both its theoretical aspects as well as its lived experience.

All the necessary readings will be made available in the form of a course reader.

 

HS "North American Borderlands: Histories and Cultural Practices"
HS Advanced Topics im Kernfachmaster "American Studies / British Studies / English Linguistics"
Advanced Module C 2: Border Cultures im Master “Border Studies”

Blockseminar:
Friday, May 18: 12.00-18.30
Saturday, May 19: 9.30-15.15
Friday, May 25: 12.00-18.30
Saturday, May 26: 9.30-15.15

This seminar will explore a series of literary representations that focus on border territories, border crossings, and intercultural spaces of in-betweenness. Taking our cue from Chicana border theory, we will look at different border experiences, comparing texts from the U.S.-Mexican border and the U.S.-Canadian border within a transhemispheric paradigm. Focusing on the multiple interdependencies between the United States, Canada, and their neighbors in the Americas, we will talk about a great variety of texts which deal with borders, ranging from literary texts that deal with or are set in borderlands spaces (e.g. Chicano/a literature, Native American/First Nations literature) to films (e.g. Frozen River), and other cultural productions and border performances (e.g. the artwork of Guillermo Peña).

Readings:
° Rodolfo Gonzales. I am Joaquín/Yo Soy Joaquín (1972)
° Sandra Cisneros’s short story “Woman Hollering Creek” (1991)
° Guillermo Verdecchia’s Fronteras Americanas/American Borders (1997)
° Thomas King’s short story “Borders” (1993)
° Courtney Hunt, dir. Frozen River (2008)

Course requirements: oral presentation, term paper.
Course texts and other materials will be made available via our on-line platform.


Visiting Professor from Université de Saint-Boniface

HS "Writing History, Reading the Nation: Contemporary Canadian Historical Fiction"
Blockseminar
:
Tuesday, 05 June 2018, 17.15-18.00 (C 5 3, room U 13)
Friday, 08 June 2018, 13-16.30 (C 5 3, room 120)
Saturday, 09 June 2018, 10-13.30 (C 5 3, room 120)
Monday, 11 June 2018, 16-19.30 (C 5 3, room 408)
Friday, 15 June 2018, 10-13.30 (C 5 3, room 120)
Saturday, 16 June 2018, 10-13.30 (C 5 3, room U 13)
Monday, 18 June 2018, 16-19.30 (C 5 3, room 408)
Friday, 22 June 2018, 13-16.30 (C 5 3, room 120)
Saturday, 23 June 2018, 10-13.30 (C 5 3, room 120)
Monday, 25 June 2018, 16-19.30 (C 5 3, room 408)

William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's longest serving Prime Minister, once famously claimed that "while other countries have too much history, Canada has too much geography." If – as King's remark would suggest – Canada is not burdened by a surfeit of history, there is certainly no dearth of narratives of historical fiction re-examining the country's past. Indeed, it might well be argued that, in the absence of a long-established historical narrative, it has been Canadian writers who have been called upon to shape the national imaginary. In this Hauptseminar (offered as a block seminar), we will examine a selection of contemporary works of historical fiction from Canada. Our goal will be to analyse these texts in the attempt to discern the ways in which history, narrative and nation interconnect. In reading these texts, we will be sensitive to the functions served by historical fiction, in particular the ways in which the representation of past historical events may serve contemporary understanding of the nation. To the extent that these texts offer alternate visions of Canadian history and the nation, we will observe how historical fiction may at once challenge and reconstitute understandings of the nation.

Tentative List of Required Reading:
Sky Lee, Disappearing Moon Café, 1990
Daniel David Moses, Brébeuf's Ghost, 2000 (play)
Michael Crummy, River Thieves, 2001
Aimee Laberge, Where the River Narrows, 2003
Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes, 2007

N.B. Course Requirements: Oral presentation on a relevant topic of the student's choice and Hausarbeit.


Introduction to Media Studies / CS II North America: "Fantastic Metropolis: Urban Narratives in North American Television"
Friday, 12.15 - 13.45
Anrechenbar für Zertifikat "Angewandte Pop Studien"
Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur

There is no doubt that, in the contemporary popular imaginary, the urban and the fantastic have a special relationship to each other. The image of a metropolis, whether real or imagined, populated by superheroes and supervillains has long since become a familiar staple of comic books and movies. Out of this connection a new genre had been forged, the genre of urban fantasy, which in recent years has been increasingly proliferating on the contemporary popular cultural landscape in general, and in television in particular. Netflix's by now numerous adaptations of various narratives set in the Marvel universe have played an important part in this development, but the trend towards the urban fantastic in contemporary television is, of course, much larger than any one story verse. In this course, we will take a closer look at several recent North American TV shows which can be productively ascribed to the genre of urban fantasy or urban science fiction, set in such prominent metropolitan centers as Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. By doing so, we will examine the aesthetic and cultural significance of the unholy alliance of the urban and the fantastic. While this will be the overarching theme of the course, its main aim is to provide students with a set of tools for an informed analysis of television texts, as well as with an understanding of basic principles and dynamics which define television as a medium and a field of cultural production.

The following TV shows will serve as our primary material:
Angel (1999-2004, created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt)
Continuum (2012-2015, created by Simon Barry)
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (2016 – ongoing, created by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer)
Luke Cage (2016 – ongoing, created by Cheo Hodari Cocker)

Course Requirements: In order to receive credit for this course, you will have to present a case study of relevant aspect(s) of one of the TV shows. Familiarity with the TV shows in question, participation in class discussions and regular attendance will be expected.


PS "Narrating the Nation: The ‘Making of America’ in 18th- and 19th-Century American Literature"
Thursday, 12.15 – 13.45

In this seminar, we will critically investigate the construction of national narratives in texts ranging from the Revolutionary Period, the Early Republic to the 19th Century. Students will be introduced to selected seminal texts like Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer, which were influential for the construction of "American identities." This course will introduce and contextualize fundamental ingredients of America's self-understanding like the "Virgin land," "exceptionalism," "Manifest Destiny" or the "American dream," which we will identify and analyze in our primary texts. Students will learn to understand discourses about the importance of these cultural signifiers for the self-stylization of the U.S. as a nation as well as the importance of their utilization in literary texts for the process of nation-building. Our readings will include Charles Brockden Brown's novel Wieland, Or The Transformation: An American Tale and a selection of shorter fiction like Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."

Please buy Brockden Brown’s Wieland in the following edition:
Brockden Brown, Charles. Wieland, Or The Transformation: An American Tale. Oxford UP, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-199538775.

The shorter primary texts as well as a selection of secondary material will be made available in form of a reader.

Requirements: Class participation, including reading and writing assignments, active participation in class discussion, a short presentation in class and a seminar paper.


PS "'Tell all the truth but tell it slant': Emily Dickinson's Poetry"
Thursday, 14.15 - 15.45

Anrechenbar für Zertifikat Gender Studies
Aufbaumodul 1: Gender in historischer Perspektive

In this course, we will explore the oeuvre of one of the most eminent American poets: we will closely analyze individual poems and letters, and discuss various topics such as poetics, gender, nature, or death. We will also consider aspects of biography, historical context, editorial history, and the critical reception of her work. Apart from reading the primary texts, there will be numerous reading assignments of critical works and other material.

Most texts will be made available online or in class.

Course requirements: readings, active participation, oral and written assignments, abstract of paper project, graded research paper (10-12 pages).


Übung CS II North America: "Country, Rock and R&B: An Investigation Of The American Musical Landscape"
Blockveranstaltung

Anrechenbar für Zertifikat "Angewandte Pop Studien"
Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur

American music has always been more than just an acoustic experience. From the early days of hillbilly music—when musicians would travel from village to village in the Appalachian Mountains, singing songs that included the latest news and gossips that they had heard of—until the early 21st ct., when rock musicians try to raise awareness to the world's social issues, and hip-hop artists describe the hardships of life that come with growing up ghettos, music has always delivered comments on US history, society and culture.
In addition to an analysis of the main categories of music, this course also deals with issues of identity, gender, race and ethnicity in the United States. Showing how these issues are represented in contemporary music forms, there will be a strong focus on the three most popular genres in the U.S., those being R&B/Soul, Country and (modern) Rock. Based on a cultural studies "tool kit," students will have a closer look at the lyrics and will analyze music videos, in an attempt to find out how (and why) the United States are portrayed and negotiated in mainstream music.