Winter Term 2016/17

In the winter term 2016/17 NamLitCult is offering the following courses:

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. FELLNER

VL Transnational North American Literatures
Tuesday, 12 - 2 p.m.

This lecture course will explore the transnational turn in American Studies, focusing on how transnational perspectives enrich and complicate our understanding of American literatures, literary and cultural histories. Considering such topics as the relationship between the local and the global, border identities, and (trans-)hemispheric networks, the main concern of this course will be to think about American literature within a global, transnational frame. Introducing you to the theories and methodologies of Transnational Studies, Border Studies, Hemispheric Studies, Atlantic Studies, and African and Black Diaspora Studies, we will raise questions concerning vexed phenomena such as globalization, exile, diaspora, and migration-forced and voluntary. What roles do national borders and boundaries play in literary texts? How do contemporary writers engage issues such as the forced and voluntary movement of people (through migration, immigration, emigration, and trafficking)? What cultural work do American novels perform inside as well as outside the U.S.? Border-crossings contribute to the formation of transnational cultural identities and practices. Focusing on literary works that cross the borders of the nation-state, we will analyze the construction of identities and will engage topics such as global cities, the black Atlantic, the discourses of travel and tourism; global economy and trade; or international terrorism and war.

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

HS Queer Migrations
Thursday, 4-6 p.m.
C 5 3, Room 120

In this seminar, we will bring migration and queer studies into critical conversation with current theoretical literature in the area of gender, sexuality and human rights. Exploring the interface between queerness and migration, we will look at some selected literary texts which situate the constructions of sexual and queer identities within global processes of colonization, globalization, capitalism, and nationalism. The main focus will be placed on U.S. Latin@ literature, primarily on Cuban American, Chican@, and Chilean-American texts. We will deal with depictions of experiences of sexual migrants who cross the imagined physical, social, and cultural boundaries of normative sexuality, gender, and institutions of the state. Looking into how “queer complicities” with contemporary neoliberal migration politics uphold regimes of violence and inequality, we will also pay attention in our analyses and class discussions as to how migration regimes identify migrating individuals as "queer," "deviant," or "abnormal" within racial, gender, class, cultural, and geopolitical hierarchies.

Required Texts (please buy)
Achy Obejas: We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? (1994) (ISBN: 093941693X)
Guillermo Reyes: Madre and I: A Memoir of Our Immigrant Lives (2010) (ISBN: 0299236242)
Daisy Hernández: A Cup Of Water Under My Bed (2014) (ISBN: 0807062928)

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

Please note: first session Nov. 10, 2016!

Exam Colloquium/Examenskolloquium
Tuesday, 4-6 p.m.
C 5 3, Room 1.19

This workshop-like colloquium allows written- and oral-exam candidates (BA-students, MA-students and Stex-students) to talk about the topics of their theses and the topics for their oral and written 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 presentation. This colloquium will meet on Tuesday, October 11, 2016. 5.30 pm C 53 R 120.

Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via email by October 4, 2016 (amerikanistik[at]

2)  Workshop
for those students who will write/or are working on their BA-, MA- or Staatsexamensarbeit or those who will take a written or oral exam. A major goal of this course is also to guide students through the process of writing a research paper. All exam candidates are therefore encouraged to attend regularly.
This colloquium starts on October 25, 2016. The exact dates will be published on our website and on the notice board of the department.

Research Colloquium
Tuesday, 6-8 p.m.
C 5 3, Room 1.19

This research colloquium offers writers of Ph.D. dissertations a forum for presentation of their work-in-progress. It will start on October 25, 2016.


PS Mysteries and Secrets: American Crime Fiction
Thursday, 12 - 2 p.m.
C 5 3, Room 120

This seminar will introduce students to the genre of American crime and mystery fiction and look at the reasons for the fascination of American literature and culture with crime, mystery and violence. Previous to the discussion of our primary texts, students become familiar with terms and theoretical concepts important for the analysis of crime fiction. Through reading/analyzing a series of short stories and two novels, this seminar will investigate traditions and developments of the genre and look at some of its sub-genres like detective story or noir. We will start with short stories from the 19th century by Edgar Allan Poe, who is often seen as the "founding father" of American crime/mystery fiction. After these early examples, we will look at developments like the emergence of hard-boiled narratives in the twentieth century, for example in stories by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, before we explore recent trends in late 20th century texts, especially innovations to the genre by female writers. Questions for class discussion will be for example: Is crime fiction conservative because of its tendency to restore the status-quo by solving the crime and punishing the perpetrator or is there potential for subversion? How is violence represented in the texts? How are sex/gender and race/ethnicity represented in the texts?

Please buy the following novels:
McCarthy, Cormac. No Country for Old Men. New York: Vintage, 2006. (ISBN: 9780307277039)
Auster, Paul. City of Glass. London: Penguin, 1987. (ISBN: 9780140097313)

The short stories as well as a selection of secondary literature will be made available in form of a reader.

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

Dr. Arlette WARKEN

PS American Short Fiction
Thursdays, 2-4 p.m.
C5 2, Room 128

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, let us explore the 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 canonical texts by authors such as Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Bret Harte, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Shirley Jackson and Sandra Cisneros.  All the relevant texts listed on our departmental reading list will be included.

Readings will be made available in Moodle.

Course requirements:
Regular attendance, active participation, reading and writing assignments, short oral or written assignment, graded term paper.

Svetlana Seibel, M.A.

PS "A Native Vampire! That is so cool!": Contemporary Indigenous Genre Fiction in North America
Wednesday, 2-4-pm
C 5 3, Room U13

Indigenous popular culture is currently one of the fastest-growing fields of cultural production both in Canada and the United States. Indigenous artists, writers, filmmakers, animators, comic book authors, designers, musicians—the list goes on—intervene powerfully into the archive and discourse of the popular, producing cultural products which not only participate in contemporary sensibilities on their own terms, but in fact redefine them to include Indigenous presences as well as non-Eurocentric symbolic and epistemological systems. In this course, we will look specifically at Indigenous genre fiction, with examples such as vampire fiction, futuristic fiction (science fiction, dystopian, post-apocalypse), fantasy, etc. We will identify the ways in which these texts play with Euroamerican genre conventions in order to, effectively, decolonize and indigenize the canon. In our discussions, we will also embed works of Indigenous genre fiction in the cultural context of Indigenous resistance and resurgence.

Primary Texts:   
Drew Hayden Taylor, The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel. 2007. Toronto:    Annick Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-55451-099-3
Richard van Camp, "On the Wings of this Prayer." Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction. Ed. Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Holstein: Exile Editions, 2013. 164-173. ISBN 978-1-55096-355-7
Eden Robinson, "Terminal Avenue." Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction. Ed. Grace L. Dillon. Tucson: Arizona UP, 2012.    205-214. ISBN 978-0-8165-2982-7   
Daniel Heath Justice, The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles    (excerpts). Albuquerque: New Mexico UP, 2011. ISBN 978-0-8263-5012-1

Note: You will only have to purchase Drew Hayden Taylor’s novel and Daniel Heath Justice’s trilogy (the single volume edition cited above), the rest of the texts will be made available to you.

Dr. Sebastian WEIER

UE CS II: The North American Atlantic: Slavers, Whalers and Pirates
Monday, 2-4pm
C5 2, U2

The North Atlantic plays a defining role in the history of the North American continent, from colonization, through the Triangle Trade to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In looking at slavers, whalers and pirates, the seminar will consider the role of seafaring trades and oceanic outlaws in the formation of 18th and 19th century North America. It will look at maritime commerce and crime both from a historical perspective (What happened?) and as important vantage points from which to understand North American society, culture and politics (e.g. What were the on-deck political arrangements on whaling ships? How were pirates involved in the colonial policies of the Early Republic and its fear of slave revolts?). Students will thus be introduced to North American History, as well as Cultural Studies methods and concepts.

Course material will be drawn from but not limited to:
American Experience. Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World. Dir. Ric Burns. PBS. 2010. DVD.  
Bailyn, Bernard & Patricia L. Benault (Eds.) Soundings in Atlantic History: Latent Structures and Intellectual Currents. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2009. Print.  
Baucom, Ian. Specters of the Atlantic. Finance Capital, Slavery and the Philosophy of History. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. Print.  
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic. Modernity and Double Consciousness. London & New York: Verso, 1993. Print.  
Horn, Gerald. The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. New York: New York UP, 2014. Print.  
Kilmeade, Brian & Don Yaeger. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The forgotten War that changed American History. New York: Sentinel, 2015. Print.  
Linebaugh, Peter & Markus Reddiker (Eds.). The Many-Headed Hydra. Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000 Print.  
Paul, Heike; Alexandra Ganser & Katharina Gerund (Eds.). Pirates, Drifters, Fugitives: Figures of Mobility in the U.S. and Beyond. Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2012. Print.  
Reddiker, Markus. Outlaws of the Atlantic. Sailors, Pirates and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. Print.  
Smallwood, Stephanie E. Saltwater Slavery. A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007. Print.

Mag. Payman Rezwan

UE CS II: "They Have All Come To Look For America": Representations of American History, Politics and Society in Pop Culture

Thursday, 8 December 2016, 4-8 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)
Friday, 9 December 2016, 12-7 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)
Saturday, 10 December 2016, 8.30 a.m. - 3.30 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)
Saturday, 21 January 2017, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (C 5 3, room 120)

"Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth."           Simone de Beauvoir

This course 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 or Boardwalk Empire. Furthermore, we will look at current American politics, especially in the light of the 2016 presidential election, and how events in the recent past, like 9/11, were dealt with by Hollywood, but also the American music industry. 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.