Winter Term 2020/2021

Course Registration

Course Registration for the winter term 2020/2021 will start on 29 September 2020.

Check LSF for details on individual classes.



Courses Winter Semester 2020/2021

In the winter term 2020/21 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.

Most of NamLitCult's classes will take place completely online. For those classes which are planned with on-site activities, the sessions with in-classroom activities are indicated (subject to change in case of changing parameter by the university etc.).

Bock and Seip (the book store on campus) has copies of the books for our seminars available.

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner
VL "Classics of North American Literatures"
Wed, 10-12

This course provides a survey of North American literatures, presenting classic novels, plays, and poems. The word “classics” in the title of this lecture indicates the stature and prominence these works have achieved. Illuminating a series of influential works, we will try to grasp the intellectual power (emotional and artistic) of these famous works and the cultural work (including their social and political dimensions) they perform. At the same time, we will also look into the relations of classics and the processes of canon formation. Importantly, we will see that there are different traditions of “classics” and that various bodies of literature have their own classics. Our survey of U.S. American and Canadian literatures then includes classics of African American literature, U.S. Latinx literature, feminist literature, Gay and Lesbian literature, showing that each body of literature has its own definitions of what constitutes a classic.

Course Readings:
There will be a course reader, which will be made available on Moodle.

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner, Mag. Klaus Heissenberger
UE CS II North America: Race, Class, Gender in Borderlands Films and Music

MA Border Studies: Specialization Module C1: Interculturality and Diversity
Crossgelistet für Masterstudiengang Lateinamerika

Geöffnet für Gender-Zertifikat: Aufbaumodul 2: Aktuelle Fragestellungen der Genderforschung
Geöffnet für Zertifikat Angewandte Pop-Studien: Pflichtmodul 1: Interdisziplinäre Einführung in die Popkultur
Blockseminar (on-line and on-site)

Fri, 27 Nov. 2020: 14-18 (on-site/hybrid: B 3 1, lecture hall 1)
Sat, 12 Dec. 2020: 10-14 (online)
Fri, 22 Jan. 2021: 18-20 (online)
Fri, 05. Feb. 2021: 14-18 (on-site/hybrid: B 3 1, lecture hall 1)
Sat, 06 Feb. 2021: 14-18 (on-site/hybrid: B 3 1, lecture hall 1)

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.


Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner
BA/MA/STEX Colloquium
Tue, 16-18

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 Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. This Blockkolloquium will take place online.
Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via 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 November 3, 2020. The exact dates of when these workshops will meet will be published on our website.
Please sign up via LSF.

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner
Research Colloquium
Tue, 18-20

This research colloquium offers writers of Ph.D. dissertations a forum for presentations of their work-in-progress. It will start on November 10, 2020.

Prof. Dr. Paul D. Morris

Guest Professor from Université de Saint-Boniface

HS "Twentieth-Century American Theatre"

This seminar is conducted online on the following dates/times:
Friday, November 13: 17.00 – 19.00 (Introduction)
Friday, November 20: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, November 27: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, December 4: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, December 11: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, January 15: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, January 22: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, January 29: 17.00 – 19.30
Friday, February 5: 17.00 – 19.30

Beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, the course will unfold chronologically to trace several of the century’s major formal and thematic developments in American theatre. Key texts of American drama will be analysed with regard to their position and role in the formation of an historically evolving tradition. The influence on theatrical expression of broader historical events, intellectual trends and changing tastes in the socio-political and socio-cultural realms will also be considered.
    Students are required to read the assigned texts in advance of the relevant classes and to come to discussions prepared to express their own ideas and insights. The approach taken in this course also assumes the primordial role played by the American theatre in “enacting” broader social and aesthetic trends within the United States. Attention will be given to the diverse ways American drama has both shaped and reflected its surrounding society and culture.

List of Required Reading:

Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot (1908)
Eugene O’Neill, The Hairy Ape (1922)
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)
Arthur Miller, The Crucible (1953)
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959)
Wendy Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles (1988)
Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1991)

N.B.     Course Requirements: Course readings / Zoom discussions
                    Presentation on a relevant topic of the student’s choice
                    Final essay of approximately 15 - 20 pp.

Dr. Svetlana Seibel

PS "Sing, Goddess: Feminist Reimaginings of Classical Narrative Tradition"
Mon, 14-16
Geöffnet für Gender-Zertifikat: Aufbaumodul 2: Aktuelle Fragestellungen der Genderforschung

In a Guardian article dedicated to the publication of Natalie Haynes’ novel A Thousand Ships (April 29, 2019), Charlotte Higgins poses the question ”why women are lining up to reboot the classics?” The article addresses the recent upsurge of literary texts by women authors who reinterpret the literary tradition of Greek and Roman antiquity, particularly the works of Homer and Virgil. In the last decade and a half only, authors such as Natalie Haynes, Pat Barker, Madeline Miller, Nikita Gill, but also Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin have undertaken such reinterpretations. All these authors not only offer creative rewritings of stories that are considered foundational for the development of Western literature, but also adopt a critical feminist stance in order to expose the ideological biases of these stories in a revisionist way. This revision is achieved by various means, most notably by foregrounding the perspectives of women characters whose silences permeate classical texts; in Higgins’ words, ”[t]hey want to hear old stories told afresh, and they want to hear about women; and they want to do it because it might help us think about our own moment” (n.p.). This critical move connects to the tradition of feminist literary criticism which seeks to re-center women’s voices where they are relegated to the margins of literary expression—a move especially powerfully articulated by Hélène Cixous’ appropriately classicist symbolic image of a laughing Medusa, an image that the classics never offer. In this class, we will trace the development of feminist classicist fiction by North American authors, from Margaret Atwood to Madeline Miller, reading them through the lens of feminist theory and literary criticism.           

Please purchase and read the following novels:

Atwood, Margaret. The Penelopiad. Canongate Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1786892485 (please make sure to get the novel, not the play!)

Le Guin, Ursula K. Lavinia. W&N, 2010. ISBN 978-0753827840

Miller, Madeline. Circe. Back Bay Books, 2019. ISBN 978-0316423885

Magdalena Pfalzgraf

PS "The Black Atlantic across the Arts: Poetry, Narrative Fiction, Music"
North American Literary and Cultural Studies, British Literary and Cultural Studies, Transanglophone Studies
Wed, 10-12

This seminar course introduces students to the Black Atlantic via a broad range of diverse artistic expressions, histories, and recorded experiences. This course will include an introduction to relevant theoretical approaches and criticism, including selected chapters from Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic and Tsitsi Ella Jaji’s award-winning study of transatlantic musical traditions Africa in Stereo, as well as discussions and group work on selected works of narrative fiction, poetry, and music. Students are advised to buy the following texts: Grace Nichols. The Fat Black Woman’s Poems. London, Virago: 1984. Olaudah Equiano. The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African Written by Himself: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. 1815. New York, London: Norton, 2001. (Alternatively: Olaudah Equiano. The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. New York, Dover Thrift: 1999.). Mary Prince. The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave. 1831. London, New York: Penguin, 2004. Dabydeen, David. A Harlot's Progress. London: Vintage, 2010.

Dr. Arlette Warken

PS "Canadian Short Fiction by Women Writers"
Thu, 14-16
Geöffnet für Zertifikat Gender Studies: Aufbaumodul 1: Gender in historischer Perspektive

According to Reingard M. Nischik, the short story has become the “flagship genre of Canadian literature,” and women writers play a prominent role in the genre tradition. In order to understand the particular appeal of the genre for Canadian (women) writers, we will explore general aspects of the short story genre and the history of Canadian short fiction before turning to a variety of texts by authors such as E. Pauline Johnson, Eden Robinson, Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, and Margaret Atwood. Emphasis will also be put on the Canadian short story cycle. Most texts will be made available on Moodle.

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


Dr. Hank Rademacher

"Introduction to Cultural Studies: North America"
Thu, 12-14

This lecture deals with many aspects of contemporary life in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada. Among the many items on our agenda are family life, religion, education, the relationships between (non-)citizens and the state, class, gender, ethnicity, (im)migration, and culinary delights. In several cases, music and film will be used to help illustrate important points. Some of the major themes in cultural studies will be touched upon so that students might begin to consider what analysis, explanation, and research can include when “peoples,” “cultures,” and “states” are considered, and this knowledge will provide a foundation for the myriad courses one might subsequently take in our department. Students will be urged to take a much more critical look at some German/European stereotypes ― some fairly accurate, some of them woefully inaccurate ― of the U.S., Canada, and their populations. In so doing, it is hoped that students will come to see their own homes/cultures in a different light.

Bärbel Schlimbach, M.A.

"Introduction to Media Studies: American Crime on Screen"
Wed, 14-16
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 introduces students to the study of media with particular emphasis on film/TV studies and representations of crime in film and on TV. Crime drama & thrillers are among the most popular film and TV genres and we will critically investigate audiences’ fascination with violence, mystery and crime. Our examples will come (among others) from the film Fargo (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996) and the TV series Fargo (since 2014) and True Detective (since 2014). 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 add to these discourses. Students will be introduced to foundations of film and TV studies, for example film narrative, cinematique techniques, serial narration, adaptations, 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 materials will be made available via moodle.

Course requirements: Completion of reading assignments, a short (oral) presentation and a written assignment at the end of the course. Regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions is expected. Students are expected to watch (excerpts) from films and series before we discuss them, screenings are planned (details to be announced).

Lisa Johnson, M.A.

UE CS II North America "Motown Soul: Black America's Musical Pioneers"
Thu, 14-16
Plus one session on-site: details tba.

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

In the early 1960s, Detroit, Michigan became a landmark of soul music in the United States. The term "soul" was common among Afro-American musicians to emphasize their feelings about "being Black" in the United States. Highly inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, luminaries like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Al Green or Aretha Franklin, etc. shaped the spirit of their era and beyond. Rooted in traditional Afro-American gospel and rhythm and blues, soul music is a hybrid of its respective religious and secular styles – in both lyrical content and instrumentation. This course investigates Motown`s soul music classics and offers an overview of historical, cultural, and societal factors that gave rise to its distinctive aesthetic.

Readings/materials: A selection of relevant essays and book excerpts will be made available via Moodle. The course will include listening comprehension and music video screenings.

Course requirements: Completion of reading assignments, a short (oral) presentation, and an essay at the end of the course. Regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions is expected.