Courses

Course Registration

Course Registration for the summer term 2019 will start on 11 March 2019.

Check LSF for details on individual times/classes.


Summer Term 2019

In the summer term 2019 NamLitCult is offering the following courses:

VL "Centuries of Struggle: North American Women's Literatures"
Tue, 12-14
Building A 2 2, room 2.02


Geöffnet für Zertifikat Gender Studies (Aufbaumodul 1: Gender in historischer Perspektive)

This lecture course examines the tradition of women’s writing in North America, introducing the ways in which the study of sex/gender and sexuality as social categories have transformed our 
understandings of culture, history and society. Topics of analysis include the social construction of gender, 
the gendered division of labor, production and reproduction, intersections of gender, race, class and ethnicity, 
and the varieties of sexual experience. Looking at diverse bodies of women’s writings, ranging from Anglo-American and Anglo-Canadian women writers to women of color writers, and covering a long tradition from colonial times to the present period, we will look at the ways in which women have used their voices in order to launch their criticism against gender subordination and define their experiences.

Course Readings:
There will be a course reader, which you can order through NamLitCult and pick up at our offices.


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

Blockseminar
Dates: April 26-27 and May 3-4
Friday, April 26: 12.00-18.30 h, C 5 3, room 1.20
Saturday, April 27: 9.30-15.30 h, C 5 3, room 1.20
Friday, May 3: 12.00-18.30 h, C 5 3, room 1.20
Saturday, May 4: 9.30-15.30 h, C 5 3, room 1.20


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.


BA/MA/STEX Colloquium
Tue, 16-18
A 5 3, room 2.03

This workshop-like colloquium allows candidates (BA-students, MA-students and Stex-students) to talk about the topics of their theses and the topics for their oral exams.

This colloquium consists of two parts:
1) "Blockkolloquium" in April for those students who will participate in the oral state exam (LAG, LAR, LAB). All topics can be presented and discussed. Please bring handouts for your brief presentations. This "Blockkolloquium" will take place on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. 4-6 p.m. (Building A 5 3, room 203).
Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via email by April 5, 2019 (amerikanistik[at]mx.uni-saarland.de).

2) Workshop for those students who will write/or are working on their BA, MA or Staatsexamensarbeit. A major goal of this course is to guide students through the process of writing a research paper. All candidates in NamLitCult who are working on a written thesis are therefore encouraged to attend regularly.
This colloquium starts on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The exact dates will be published on our website and on the notice board of the department.
Please sign up via LSF.

Research Colloquium
Tue, 18-20
A 5 3, room 2.03

This research colloquium offers writers of Ph.D. dissertations a forum for presentations of their work-in-progress. It will start on April 9, 2019.


Visiting Professor from Université de Saint-Boniface

HS "Canadian Literature: A Historical Survey of Feminine Voices"

Geöffnet für Zertifikat Gender Studies (Aufbaumodul 1: Gender in historischer Perspektive)

Blockseminar:
Tuesday, June 11 (Introduction): 17-18 (C 5 3, room 4.08)
Friday, June 14: 16.00-18.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)
Saturday, June 15: 10.00-12.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)
Monday, June 17: 16.00-18.45 (B 4 1, room 0.02.1 / SAP room)
Friday, June 21: 16.00-18.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)
Saturday, June 22: 10.00-12.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)
Monday, June 24: 16.00-18.45 (B 4 1, room 0.02.1 / SAP room)
Friday, June 28: no class
Saturday, June 29: no class
Monday, July 1: 16.00-18.45 (B 4 1, room 0.02.1 / SAP room)
Friday, July 5: 16.00-18.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)
Saturday, July 6: 10.00-12.45 (C 5 3, room 1.20)


The Canadian literary institution is distinguished by, among other things, a preponderance of feminine voices. Few national literatures can claim the relative prevalence of canonic female writers, extending from Francis Brooke (the author of the first novel written in North America) in the 18th century to such contemporaries as Alice Munro (winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature) and Esi Edugyan (winner of the 2018 Giller Prize). Throughout its history and across a diverse spectrum of literary genres, Canadian literature has seen the emergence of women writers who have indelibly shaped the Canadian imaginary.
In this Hauptseminar (offered as a block seminar), we will examine an historically-based selection of women writers from the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In reading representative works by these authors, our goal will be three-fold: to examine each text according to those qualities that have secured it a place in the Canadian literary canon, to inquire into the ways in which each text has informed understanding of the evolving Canadian imaginary and, finally, to explore possible links between the texts and their authors which, in the aggregate, might offer insight into why the Canadian literary institution has produced so many canonic feminine voices.

Tentative List of Required Reading:
Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908
Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel, 1964
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing, 1972
Jeannette Armstrong, Slash, 1985
Esi Edugyan, Washington Black, 2018

N.B. Course Requirements: Presentation on a relevant topic of the student’s choice and Final essay (Hausarbeit).


Introduction to Cultural Studies I: North America
Thu, 12-14
B 3 1, Lecture Hall I


This course aims at providing an overview survey of the most important topics and themes pertinent to a Cultural Studies analysis of North American literature, cinema, television, and other areas of cultural production. As part of our course program, we will look at the historical development of the settler colonial states of the United States and Canada, their national and regional aspects and imaginaries, as well as historical events relevant for the processes of the formation of national identities and discourses in North America. By doing so, we will consider histories and cultures of diverse ethnic groups: First Peoples, African Americans, Hispano/a- Americans, Asian Americans. We will concern ourselves with issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, as well as with women’s history in North American societies. We will critically interrogate the myths and imaginaries that constitute "America" as a place of imagination, for, as Edward Ashbee puts it, "America is—to a greater extent than any other country—an idea." Finally, we will take a look at the processes of globalization and Americanization that to a great degree shape contemporary economic and cultural realities worldwide.


Introduction to Media Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and the Cis/Heteronormative Gaze
Mon, 14-16
B 3 2, Lecture hall III

Geöffnet für Zertifikat Gender Studies (Aufbaumodul 2: Aktuelle Fragestellungen der Genderforschung)

Geöffnet für Zertifikat Angewandte Pop-Studien (Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur)

This course aims to familiarize students with various approaches to the study of North American visual culture with a focus on movies and TV shows in their cultural and historical context. Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which these media narratives construct meaning, evoke specific responses, and guide, invite or obstruct the audience's gaze. Additionally, we will look at how these narratives reflect and potentially reinforce societal power relations and disparities. As the course title indicates, we will pay special attention to the analysis of the representation of gender and sexuality in the narratives under consideration. However, by exploring these categories through an intersectional lens we will also reflect on how the representations of gender and sexuality are always already influenced and impacted by other axes of power like race, class, (dis)ability, etc. In the process, students will be introduced to a diverse range of theoretical perspectives from media and cultural studies. Using these tools, they will conduct their own case studies of particular media narratives.
Students are required to have read or watched all assigned texts and videos prior to every class. Credits will be awarded on the basis of a case study (group work) that students have to develop throughout the semester and present in class.


PS "American Myths through the Centuries"
Wed, 14-16
C 5 3, room 4.08


In this seminar we will critically investigate a variety of myths as well as representations of (historical) figures which are important for the U.S. and its self-stylization as a nation. Students will be introduced to a selection of literary and visual sources which present myths and symbols which represent the U.S. or were influential for the construction of "American identities." We will follow these myths through the centuries to examine how they were presented in different times and consider which influences different media played for these representations. Students will be introduced to theoretical readings important for myths and national narratives before we delve into the analysis of changing representations of myths over time and the relevance these changes play in historical context (for the time of production as well as reception). We will read excerpts from a selection of seminal texts like Crèvecoeurs’ Letters from an American Farmer or Frederick Jackson Turner’s "Frontier Thesis" as well as a selection of (excerpts from) fictional texts, consider visual sources which feature allegorical or (historical) figures like Columbia, Uncle Sam, Annie Oakley, Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket and investigate "American myths" like freedom, Westward expansion, the myth of "discovery" or the melting pot. Students will be enabled to trace the origins of these myths and cultural icons, discuss the role they played for the self-stylization of the U.S. and their relevance for the process of nation-building as well as their importance for recent cultural productions.

All relevant materials will be made available via moodle.

Requirements:
Active class participation, including reading assignments and discussion, a short written assignment during the semester and a seminar paper.


PS "(Neo-) Slave Narratives: Representations of the (Reverse) Underground Railroad"
Thu, 14-16
C 5 3, room U13


The Underground Railroad refers to a pre-Civil War secret network of abolitionists who helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to British North America (Canada).  The term "Reverse Underground Railroad" is used to describe the abduction of free African Americans or fugitive slaves to sell them into slavery in the southern states.  In numerous slave narratives, these stories of enslavement and escape were told as autobiographical accounts.  In the 20th and 21st century, writers return to the subject matter, creating neo-slave narratives that, as Raquel Kennon suggests, "grapple with the brutality of transatlantic slavery’s history, cultural memory, representation, resistance, identity, race, gender, sexuality, and subjectivity."
We will explore the historical background as well as the representation of the resistance movement in North American culture. Our core texts will be Solomon Northup’s historical slave narrative Twelve Years a Slave (1853) and Colson Whitehead’s contemporary novel The Underground Railroad (2016).

Please buy the following editions:
Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.
Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. London, Fleet, 2017.
The shorter primary and secondary 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).


UE CS II U.S. "Big Bang Theories, Westworlds and Jerry Springer: American TV Studies 101"
Blockveranstaltung:
25.04.2019: 13:00-19:00 (Building A 2 2, room 2.09)
26.04.2019: 13:00-19:00 (Building C 5 3, room U13)
27.04.2019: 9:00-15:00 (Building C 5 3, room U13)
29.06.2019: 9:00-15:00 (Building C 5 3, room 1.20)


Geöffnet für Zertifikat Angewandte Pop-Studien (Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur)

This course will offer critical approaches to the analysis of television and television shows in the United States of America. In the first part of this course, we will survey the historical development of television in the U.S., from the invention of the TV to the first network stations all the way to the influence of internet streaming services on the traditional TV market. Afterwards, we will focus on the defining genres in the American TV landscape, such as sitcoms, drama shows or reality television, analyzing their structures and genre definitions, and investigate how the mechanisms of genre diversification function and how audiences make meaning from these programs. We will also look at some productions, past and present, in detail, such as Friends, Dallas, Oprah and many others, and look at their impact on popular culture.