Master's Program in Border Studies

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Winter Term 2019/2020

Course Registration

Course Registration for the winter term 2019/20 will start on 23 September 2019.

Check LSF for details on individual times/classes.



Courses Winter 2019/2020

In the winter term 2019/20 NamLitCult is offering the following classes:

For additional information and detailed descriptions, look up the winter term course pages. All departmental courses are also listed in the course directory (LSF) maintained by the university.


Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner

VL Doing American Studies
Tue, 12-14
B 3 2, lecture hall 003
First Session: Oct. 22, 2019

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of American Studies and engages the prevailing theoretical approaches to the study of American literatures and cultures. Emphasizing key texts and methods for critically understanding the term “American,” this class offers an interdisciplinary investigation into North American literature, history, culture, and identity. On the one hand, we will follow a “classic” American Studies approach and identify a series of foundational myths and scenarios that have contributed to the making of the nation and we will trace them through the centuries. On the other hand, we will also show how a focus on such foundational myths is limiting, as it is dictated by a national and nationalist narrative of the US. Addressing the important shift in its focus and method of analysis of American literature and culture from a nation-state based type of area studies to a transnational American Studies, we will show how recent re-conceptualizations of the field of American Studies have contributed to a remapping of American literature that pays attention to the multi- and transcultural realities of the United States.

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


HS Refugee Writings and Stories of Migration
C 5 3, Raum 1.20
Lehrveranstaltung teilweise geblockt:
Wednesday, 10-12
Zusätzlich zwei Blocktermine:
Friday, January 17, 2020, 13-18h and Saturday, January 18, 2020, 9-13h
First Session: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019

This course examines texts written by and about refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants and will afford students the opportunity to reflect on current discussions in politics and media on refugees, migrants and stateless people. Focusing on the representations of migrant trajectories and refugee experiences in literary texts by transcultural Anglophone writers of different origins (Latinx, Asian, and African) who now reside in the U.S., we will look at the different representational and narrative strategies which are employed in order to situate the constructions of diasporic and transnational identities within global processes of colonization, globalization, capitalism, and nationalism. We will deal with depictions of experiences of migrants and asylum seekers who also cross social, and cultural boundaries of normative gender, and institutions of the state. We will focus on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees (2017), Moshin Hamid’s Exit West (2017), and Patricia Engel’s The Veins of the Ocean (2016), and the short stories “The Asylum Seeker” by Suketu Mehta and “America” by Chinelo Okparanta.
This course also provides students with a foundational understanding of and critical engagement with key theories, concepts, issues, and debates in critical refugee, diaspora, and transnational studies.

UE CS II North America: Race, Class, Gender in Borderlands Films and Music
together with Mag. Klaus Heissenberger
MA Border Studies:
Specialization Module C1: Interculturality and Diversity
Crossgelistet für Masterstudiengang Lateinamerika
Freitag, 18.10.19: 14.30-19.30
Samstag, 19.10.19: 10.00-12.30
Freitag, 13.12.19: 14.30-19.30
Samstag, 14.12.19: 10.00-12.30
Freitag, 31.01.20: 14.30-19.30
Samstag, 01.02.20: 10.00-12.30
C 5 3, room 1.20

Anrechenbar für Zertifikat Gender Studies (Aufbaumodul 2: Aktuelle Fragestellungen der Genderforschung)
Anrechenbar für Zertifikat Angewandte Pop Studien (Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur)

Using multiple theoretical and historical lenses, this course examines past and present issues pertaining to border music and film. Focusing on representations of border conflicts, smuggling and (illegal) border crossings, this course will, for instance, look into the rich tradition of the corrido and Mexican American music. We will explore such issues as representational exclusion from and inclusion from mainstream U.S. popular culture, various forms of appropriation of dominant hegemonic culture, transnational identifications and cultural flows, ethnoracial stereotyping and resistance to such, and intersections of Chicano/a identities with aspects of class, race, sexuality, and gender. This will entail investigations of diverse cultural arenas and media, among them music, film, television, and everyday lived experience. Students will be assessed on their participation in classroom discussions, group work and a portfolio. 

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 October 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 Friday, October 18, 2019.
Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium (amerikanistik[at]

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 October 22, 2019. The exact dates of when these workshops will meet 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 October 22, 2019.


Dr. Svetlana Seibel

Introduction to Cultural Studies I: North America
Fri, 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.


PS Dracula in America, America in Dracula: The Transatlantic (Un)life of a Legend
Mon, 14-16
C 5 3, room E 20

Count Dracula, the imaginative creation of a nineteenth-century Irishman, has long since penetrated cultural archives outside the UK and Ireland and became, for all intents and purposes, a global phenomenon. The United States is not only no exception, but in fact one of the most diligent suppliers for the global brand Dracula. This comes as no surprise, considering that America has been encoded into Bram Stocker’s text from the start: if the figure of Count Dracula, a Transylvanian lord, is drenched in exoticism of marked foreignness and difference, so is the figure of the Texan Quincy Morris. Apart from feeding the general vampire hype in the US popular culture, in recent decades Bram Stocker’s Dracula underwent a number of narrative revisions and reinterpretations in American popular fiction. In this class, we will focus on these explicit reinterpretations, tracing the cultural energies and significance of Dracula’s transatlantic connections.    

Please note that all three novels on our reading list are of considerable length. Therefore, please make sure to start reading well in advance of the class. 

Primary Texts
Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
Fred Saberhagen, The Dracula Tape (1975)
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (2005)

Please buy the primary texts in the following editions:
Bram Stoker, Dracula: A Norton Critical Edition, edited by Nina Auerbach and David J. Skal, 1997. ISBN 978-0393970128
Fred Saberhagen, The Dracula Tape. Any edition you can find, including Kindle edition.
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian. Back Bay Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0316057882


Dr. Arlette Warken

PS 20th Century American Drama
Thu, 14-16
C 5 3, room 120

At the beginning of this course we will consider the genesis and historical development of the American theatrical tradition. The main emphasis, however, will be on 20th century texts. We will explore the various dramatic techniques and recurring themes as well as the political and cultural developments that inform the texts. Plays to be discussed will include Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. The texts will be made available before the beginning of classes.


Magdalena Pfalzgraf

PS NamLitCult and PS TAS: Southern Africa's Literary Urbanities: Fiction from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia
Wed, 16-18
C 5 3, room U13

With the arrival of the bus
the city was brought to the village
and we began to yearn for the place behind the horizons.
(Musaemura Zimunya: Country Dawns and City Lights, p 31)

In this seminar course, we will explore the ways in which Southern African authors from different periods and backgrounds engage with urban space. We will read our way from the early twentieth century to the present day, from colonial depictions of emerging industrial urbanities in Douglas Blackburn’s Leaven (1908) to the conflict between rural tradition and urban modernity captured in the classic “Jim Comes to Joburg” stories, to the South African postapartheid city novel and contemporary urban crime fiction from Zambia. We will conclude with a novel which transports the Zimbabwean capital to Europe: Harare North (2015) by Brian Chikwava.
This course aims at developing an understanding of selected textual traditions important to the Southern African region. Acknowledging the vast diversity and complexity of this subregion, we will shed light on shared literary traditions, enduring narratives, and motifs which have shaped Southern Africa’s rich literary heritage.  In our discussions, we will also encounter selected aspects of the recent 'world literature debate' and discuss the potentials and limits of taking a regional perspective.  Furthermore, we will develop a critical understanding of the primary texts’ engagement with the political contexts and ideological of their time.

Students are advised to buy the following editions:
Blackburn, Douglas. Leaven. A Black and White Story. 1908. Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press, 1991. 
Chikwava, Brian. Harare North. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009.
Bush, Tanvi. Witch Girl. Lusaka: Modjaji Books, 2015.
Mpe, Phaswane. Welcome to our Hillbrow: A Novel of Postapartheid South Africa. Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2011.

Further material, including poems from Musaemura Zimunya’s poetry collection Country Dawns and City Lights (which has unfortunately gone out of print) and the short story "Rhodesia Road" by Alfred Mbeba, will be provided in a digital format or, upon request, in the form of a reader.


Bärbel Schlimbach, M.A.

Introduction to Media Studies
Wed, 14-16
C 5 3, room 4.08

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

This course introduces students to the study of media with particular emphasis on visual mass mediated forms like film and TV series. Students will be introduced to various aspects of media history, media theory, and media analysis with a special focus on film studies and on representations of gender in media. The seminar will provide students with a tool kit to critically analyze different media productions and investigate how media productions are shaped by current discourses in society while they at the same time add to these discourses. Students will be introduced to foundations of film and TV studies, for example film narrative, cinematique techniques, serial narration, approaches to contextual interpretation, genre analysis as well as analysis of different modes of production for different media channels like cinema, TV or digital platforms. Furthermore, we will explore how media productions are shaped by historical and social contexts on the one hand, while they contribute to and influence discourses in society at the same time.

Readings/materials: A selection of relevant essays and excerpts from books will be made available via moodle. We will discuss how students can access (excerpts from) visual material in the first session.

Course requirements: Completion of reading assignments, a short (oral) presentation, and an essay and/or test at the end of the course. Students are required to watch (excerpts) from movies and TV series in advance of the sessions in which we discuss them. Regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions is expected.

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


Mag. Payman Rezwan

UE CS II North America: Headlock On Reality: How Professional Wrestling Reflects U.S. Culture
Thur, Oct. 17, 2019, 13:00-19:00 (C 5 3, room 1.19)
Fri, Oct. 18, 2019, 13:00-19:00 (C 5 3, room U13)
Sat, Oct. 19, 2019, 9:00-15:00 (C 5 3, room U13)
Sat, Dec. 14, 2019, 9:00-15:00 (C 5 3, room U13)

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

"Pro Wrestling has always been ingrained into American culture. It was one of the first things that was ever on television, so everybody watched it."                
                                    Phil Brooks, a.k.a. CM Punk

The roots of professional wrestling reach as far back as the early 20th ct. After being a very popular form of sports entertainment, as it defines itself these days, both on TV and especially in live venues in the South, the emergence of Hulk Hogan in the mid-80s turned it into a popular culture phenomenon. Soon, people from all other kinds of entertainment, from Cyndi Lauper and Alice Cooper to Mohammed Ali and current US president, Donald Trump, wanted to be a part of this 'soap opera for men'. In the 90s, the 'Attitude Era', led by characters like 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, gave voice to a frustrated American working class and achieved ratings records on TV. Nowadays, wrestling is a global sensation, has its own on-demand TV network, is watched by 15 million viewers on average a week in the United States and Monday Night Raw, the flagship show of World Wrestling Entertainment, is the longest-running episodic show in American TV history. Wrestling is more than just two oily men in shorts throwing their bodies around in the 'squared circle', with a predetermined result, it has become a mirror of American society and culture.
In this course, we will discuss instances from American history and politics, from slavery, the Gulf War against Iraq to the aftermath of 9/11 and the founding of the ultra-conservative Tea Party, and how they have been picked up in wrestling storylines. Furthermore, we will look at aspects of American culture and society, i.e. the struggle of ethnic minorities or the working class, aspects of gender studies , and see how they were used in wrestling programmes. In addition, we will also investigate the influence of professional wrestling on American pop culture and society, since wrestling has i.e. enriched the English dictionary, brought forth governors and senators, and gave Hollywood one of its biggest superstars in recent history and furthermore look at the role of professional wrestling in the global process of 'Americanization'. With the emergence of the new promotion, AEW, the impact and use of social media will be an issue as well. Finally, we will look at the history of wrestling, how it developed in the U.S., from its territorial beginnings to the current 'monopoly' of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Requirements: There will be an exam at the end of the course.

This course is (not exclusively) based on the following texts:
Beekman, Scott. Ringside: A History Of Professional Wrestling In America. ABC-Clio.2006.
Mazer, Sharon. Professional Wrestling. Sport And Spectacle. Performance Studies. 1998
Morton, Gerald W. Wrestling To 'Rasslin: Ancient Sport To American Spectacle. University of Wisconsin Press. 1985.
Sammond, Nicholas. Steel Chair To The Head: The Pleasure And Pain Of Professional Wrestling. Duke University Press. 2005.
Tyson Smith, R.. Fighting For Recognition: Identity, Masculinity and And The Act Of Violence In Professional Wrestling. Duke University Press. 2014.

Note: Texts do not have to be purchased, but will be provided.

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


Lisa Johnson

UE CS II North America: Reggae Music: From Jamaica to the World
Thu, 14-16
C 5 3, room U13

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

In 2018, the UNESCO added Reggae music to its list of intangible global cultural treasures. Having originated in the late 1960s within the cultural space of Kingston´s inner city communities, the Reggae music of Jamaica is a melting pot of various musical and cultural influences: Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm from North America incorporated into early Caribbean and Latin strains. Until today, the music plays a significant role in a wide cross section of society, including various genders, ethnic as well as religious groups. Its contribution to international discourses on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the genre as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.
This course seeks to examine the basic socio-cultural functions of the music as a vehicle for social commentary, Black Nationalism, anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism as well as a means of praising God (Jah). The seminar offers students an introduction to Reggae music, historical knowledge as well as conceptual and methodological tools necessary for researching cultural phenomena and their socio-political significance.

All relevant materials will be made available.

Course requirements: Active participation, reading assignments, lively discussion, oral presentation and short final seminar paper.

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


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