Summer Term 2020

Course Registration

Course Registration for the summer term 2020 will start on 09 March 2020.

Check LSF for details on individual times/classes.



Courses Summer 2020

In the summer term 2020 NamLitCult is offering the following classes:

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

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner and Dr. Svetlana Seibel

VL "Westward We Go! The Literatures of the American and Canadian Wests"
Tue, 12-14

First Session: April 21, 2020
The North American West is an extremely powerful concept that has evolved over several centuries in the imaginations of countless people in the US, Canada and abroad. It is an idea (re)produced in books, movies, and paintings which invokes a whole array of abstractions such as frontier, adventure, manifest destiny, opportunity, honor, individualism, and justice. It is often recognized by visual cues such as the cowboy, the horse, the gun, vast stretches of open range, the prairies, and desert mesas. "Going west" usually refers to the act of transcending boundaries and is associated with hopes of self-realization and fulfillment. It is also connected to the urge of expansion and the reaching of one’s limits, which, as Fredrick Jackson Turner has maintained in his famous "frontier thesis," is a key dominant of the American imagination.
This lecture course will offer a broad overview over the American and Canadian West from a variety of perspectives, relying on literature, art, film, and history in order to raise a series of key questions concerning the development of the idea of the West and the concept of "going west." It will focus on the different myths and representations which have played a significant part in the formation of national identities. Our course readings will not only focus on renowned writers of the American West (Bret Harte, Hamlin Garland, Mark Twain, and Larry McMurtry), but will also include literatures of the Canadian West, Native American and First Nations voices, Chicano/a writers, and women writers. It will also present the work of painters (George Caleb Bingham, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Remington), look at popular culture ("cowboy" movies) as well as present figures of the popular mythology (Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Buffalo Bill). Last but not least, our course will be informed by an understanding that the West is not a monolithic concept or space, but one that encompasses diverse regional cultures, some of them quite different from each other. This understanding will be reflected in the topics to be discussed as part of this lecture course.

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


Prof. Astrid M. Fellner
UE/VL "Foundations of Cultural Studies"
Wed, 10-12h

This course is intended to make students familiar with the various theoretical approaches and practices common to the study of culture. It should introduce students to the intellectual roots and contemporary applications of Cultural Studies, focusing on the theoretical bases for the analyses of meaning and power in the production and reception of texts. While this class will offer various approaches to the study of cultures in the English-speaking world, it should also provide students with an opportunity to do Cultural Studies. In our analyses we will therefore draw on a wide range of cultural material (literature, television, films, and commercials) and explore the ways in which questions of representation are interrelated with issues of identity, in particular racial/ethnic, sexual, class, and regional differences.

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

Geöffnet für Gender-Zertifikat: Basismodul
Geöffnet für Zertifikat Angewandte Pop-Studien: Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur

“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”
Master "Lateinamerika"

Dates: April 6-7 and May 22-23, 2020
Monday, April 6: 12.00-18.30 h
Tuesday, April 7: 12.00-18.00 h
Friday, May 22: 12.00-18.30h
Saturday, May 23: 9.30-15.30h

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. Chicanx 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).

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)


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 Friday, April 3.
Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via email by March 30, 2020 (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 Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Further meetings will be announced in the first session.
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 21, 2020.

Prof. Dr. Paul Morris

Guest Professor from Université de Saint-Boniface

HS "Canadian Literature and the Representation of Animals"

Blockseminar: in May (exact dates/times to be announced asap)

One of the curious features of Canadian literature is the prevalence of animals. A feature previously observed in the national literary tradition, it was Margaret Atwood who in Survival, her handbook of 1972, claimed the "‘realistic’ animal story" as "a genre which provides a key to an important facet of the Canadian psyche." While Atwood’s observations undoubtedly raised critical awareness of an intriguing quality of Canadian literature since the 19th century, subsequent generations of readers and critics have not always followed her lead in interpreting the animal as symbolic representation of the national character.
    In the present course, we will examine a series of Canadian novels about animals published since Atwood’s influential claims. Our goal will be to read each novel with regard to its particular thematic and formal qualities, while also considering the manner in which the depicted animals are both symbolic representations of human concerns and also real contextualised beings whose very "animalness" makes of them a fascinating "other."

Tentative List of Required Reading:
Marian Engel, Bear, 1976
Barbara Gowdy, The White Bone, 1999
Colin McAdam, A Beautiful Truth, 2014
André Alexis, Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue, 2015

N.B.     Course Requirements: Presentation on a relevant topic of the student’s choice
                                             Final essay of approximately 15 pp.

Magdalena Pfalzgraf

PS "West African Women’s Writing in English"

North American Literary and Cultural Studies, Transanglophone Studies
Wed, 10-12

The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English (2008), Oyekan Owomoyela explains the gender imbalance of his approach as follows: "male writers predominate in the Guide because in real life they do in fact predominate in literary production" (1). This claim can be easily challenged by pointing to contemporary female authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, or Taiye Selasi, who are at the forefront of West Africa’s thriving literature today. Female writers, among them Flora Nwapa and Ama Atta Aidoo, also shaped the beginnings of West Africa’s Anglophone writing traditions. In this seminar course, we will read four novels by female West African writers from Ghana and Nigeria, two countries with an especially powerful literary heritage and a fascinating contemporary writing scene. Acknowledging the diversity and complexity each author’s work, we will explore shared motifs and concerns which connect these texts from different periods and contexts. Questions which will concern us throughout the semester are: the politics of the family, the rise of urban middle classes in postcolonial societies, the tension between modernity and tradition.     
Students are advised to buy the following editions:
Atta, Sefi. Everything Good Will Come. Adlestrop, Arris: 2005.
Aidoo, Ama Ata. Changes. A Love Story. Oxford, Heinemann: 1991.
Darko, Amma. The Housemaid. Oxford, Heinemann: 1998.
Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood. New York, Braziller: 1979.
Additional material will be made available via moodle or, upon request, email.

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

Dr. Arlette Warken

PS "American Short Fiction"

Thu, 14-16

According to Lorrie Moore, "a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film." In this seminar, we will explore this "love affair" of Americans with the short story and other forms of short fiction. We will focus on general aspects of the short story genre and the history of American short fiction by looking at a variety of texts by authors such as Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, E. Pauline Tekahionwake Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Cisneros, and Junot Diaz. All the relevant texts listed on our departmental reading list will be included. Readings will be made available in Moodle.

Bärbel Schlimbach, M.A.

"Introduction to Media Studies: Screening Eastwood"

Wed, 14-16
This course introduces students to the study of media with particular emphasis on film studies and representations of gender in media. On the occasion of Clint Eastwood’s 90th birthday in May 2020, our examples will come from the wide variety of Eastwood movies. During his long career, Eastwood acted in different roles in media productions: from actor (TV series and films) to director and producer, his oeuvre includes movies from diverse genres: Western, action movie, thriller, comedy, melodrama, war movie etc. This course 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 shape these discourses. Students will be introduced to foundations of film studies, for example film narrative, cinematique techniques, approaches to contextual interpretation, genre analysis etc. Furthermore, we will explore how Eastwood movies are shaped by historical and social contexts while they contribute to and influence discourses in society at the same time. We will critically investigate gender representations in his movies, especially representations of masculinities and discuss the relevance of these representations within the context of the respective movies.
Readings/materials: A selection of relevant essays and excerpts from books will be made available via moodle. The course will include obligatory film screenings, details to be announced.
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 attend obligatory film screenings and watch (excerpts) from movies in advance of the sessions in which we discuss them. Regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions is expected.

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

Mag. Payman Rezwan

UE CS II U.S. "Who Is America? Representation of U.S. History, Culture and Society in Music and on TV"

Thursday, 23 April 2020: 13.00-19.00
Friday, 24 April 2020: 13.00-19.00
Saturday, 25 April 2020: 9.00-15.00
Saturday, 20 June 2020: 9.00-15.00

"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."                                                                                                                         George Carlin

This course will discuss the principle of representation and apply it to several areas dealing with the USA. It will feature a survey of selected items from American history, such as slavery or prohibition, examine them and investigate how they have been translated to the TV screen, e.g. by looking at shows like Roots, Boardwalk Empire or Underground. Furthermore, we will look at current American politics, especially at the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. With Donald Trump as president, representations of the US have changed, both in national and international media, and we will try to explore those changes and analyze them. In addition, events that happened in the recent past, like 9/11, and were dealt with by Hollywood, and the American music industry are going to be targets of our discussion. Finally, significant aspects of American life and culture will be discussed, and their representation on TV and in music will be analyzed, the focus being on ethnicities and how they are represented in these two forms of mass media. All in all, general introductions to TV and music studies, as well as a look at key issues in American history and culture, will be offered.

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

Lisa Johnson, M.A.

UE CS II U.S. "Hip-Hop Music in the USA: History, Culture and Styles"

Thu, 14-16

The goal of this course is to trace the historical roots of the hip-hop movement in the USA with an outlook on its global trajectory. In the 1970s hip-hop culture officially started in New York but has now gained acceptance around the world. As a "voice of the people" rap music in particular has a strong political objective that is at once anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-imperial as well as against police brutality. Through listening comprehension, film and academic as well as popular reading the course aims at understanding how African-American culture in the USA utilizes rap and hip-hop music as an art form and as a tool for socio-political commentary. Both musical forms have highlighted inner city Afro-American struggles with identity, marginalization, criminalization and socio-cultural exclusion.

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