Master's Program in Border Studies

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You can find the official coversheets for all exams, seminar papers, presentations etc. via this link.

Student Handbooks

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Legal notice (Impressum; in German)

Course Registration

Course Registration for the winter term 2017/18 will start 18 September 2017.

Check LSF for details on individual times/classes.

Winter Term 2017/18

In the winter term 2017/18 NamLitCult is offering the following courses:

Prof. Dr. Astrid M. FELLNER

VL Writings from North America’s Many Cultures
Tue 12 - 2 p.m.

This lecture course attempts to capture the rich cultural diversity of U.S. American and Canadian writings. Reading a variety of genres, we will examine works by authors from various geographical regions and ethnic backgrounds. We will place the discussion of literary texts in specific historical and cultural contexts through units that focus on the experiences of North America’s many cultures, including Native Americans/First Nations, African Americans/Canadians, Asian Americans/Canadians, Latinos/as, and Jewish Americans/Canadian. Our readings will also explore cultural difference in contemporary U.S.-American as well as Canadian literature.

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


HS Performing Ethnicity, Performing Gender
Wed 10 - 12
C 5 3, Room 120

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

This course approaches performance not only as an object of study, but also as a method of research and a mode of analysis. Exploring the various intersections between theatrical production, ethnicity, and gender identity, we will read a broad range of contemporary American and Canadian plays and performances. Interrogating the shift between theater and performance, between textuality and embodiment, and between theory and practice, we will focus on key issues such as the construction of ethnicity, gender identities and gender norms, the politics of representation in theatrical performances and the ways in which identity and difference have shaped and continue to shape U.S.-American and Canadian cultures. Texts will include plays by David Henry Hwang, Cherríe Moraga, and Carmen Aguirre, and a performance by Monica Palacios.

Please buy the books by Hwang and Moraga in the following editions:
Hwang, David Henry. M. Butterfly. Central Books, 1995. ISBN: 9780822207122.
Moraga, Cherríe. Heroes and Saints and Other Plays. West End Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780931122743.

The other texts will be made available in form of a Reader.


BA/MA/STEX Colloquium
Tue, 4 - 6 p.m.
C5 3, room 119

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 Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

Please sign up for the Blockkolloquium via email by October 1, 2017 (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 also 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 24, 2017. 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 6-8 p.m.
C5 3, 119

This research colloquium offers writers of Ph.D. dissertations a forum for presentations of their work-in-progress. It will start on October 24, 2017.

Svetlana Seibel, M.A.

PS Writing California: John Steinbeck's California Fictions
Fri, 12 - 2 p.m.
C5 2, Room 1.10.1

"I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich."
                                                                               John Steinbeck, East of Eden

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) is considered not only one of the most canonical American writers of the twentieth century, but also one of the most productive ones. The scope of his writings encompasses novels, stories, traveling journals, reports and commentaries, theatre plays and screen plays. Born as he was in Salinas Valley in Northern California, much of Steinbeck's fiction is set in that region, making him one of the most important regional writers of the Golden State. In this class, we will read closely two of Steinbeck's California fictions—Tortilla Flat (1935) and East of Eden (1952)—and consider, among other aspects, their relation to the region of their setting and the part they play in California's image in the collective imagination. In order to obtain credit for this course, you will have to give an oral presentation and write a term paper at the end of the term. Participation in class discussions and regular attendance are expected.

You will need to purchase a copy of following editions of the two novels for this course:
Steinbeck, John. Tortilla Flat. Penguin Classics, 2000. (Penguin Modern Classics, New    Edition). ISBN 978-0141185118.
Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 978-0241980354.


PS Depicting Transgression: Representations of Violence in American Literature and Film
Thu, 12 - 2 p.m.
Room tba

In this seminar, we will analyze representations of violence in American literature and film in order to be able to understand the fascination with violence as well as the harsh critique of violence in film and fiction. The seminar will explore the influential role of representations of violence and the interconnectedness of these representations with American history and culture. It can be argued that violence lies at the core of American history, and the development and expansion of the U.S. territory and society has closely been interconnected to violence. Literary representations from captivity narratives, stories of Westward expansion to present day fiction often focus on representations of violence and fictionalize diverse conflicts: encounters between settlers and Native Americans, to racial conflicts and gender inequality, etc. Students will be introduced to theoretical concepts and key ideas which will help the discussion of representations of violence critically (for example Richard Slotkin’s argument of the development of the American nation as a form of “regeneration through violence”). Our primary material will include several short stories as well as Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian. Concerning filmic representations of violence, we will discuss the Coen brothers’ movie No Country for Old Men and David Milch’s TV series Deadwood.

Please buy Cormac McCarthy’s novel in the following edition:
McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian. London: Picador, 2015. ISBN: 978-1447289456

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

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

Dr. Arlette WARKEN

PS "Zero Hour": Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy
Thu, 2 - 4 p.m.
C5 3, room E 26

Canadian author and environmental activist Margaret Atwood, who has just received the Friedenspreis des deutschen Buchhandels, has published more than 40 books of fiction and poetry to date, and is also a renowned literary critic. The so-called MaddAddam trilogy belongs to her more recent work of speculative fiction, which, according to Atwood, is different from Science Fiction because "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." (Unsurprisingly, this definition has been contested by many critics and writers.) Apart from discussing questions of genre and narratology, we will explore her near-future economic, political, and environmental depiction of American and global society by analyzing her novels Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013). We will learn about Snowman/Jimmy, who is sitting on a tree after a man-made global epidemic has eliminated the whole human species (or has it not?) but left alive a variety of newly created species—even a human one with blue skin and green eyes; we will encounter a religious group that is strictly vegetarian and tries to survive in this (post-)apocalyptic world, and in the end, there will be a showdown between humans and new, bioengineered species.

Please buy the following editions:
Oryx and Crake (Virago, 2013), The Year of the Flood (Virago, 2013), and MaddAddam (Virago, 2014).

Requirements: readings, active participation, abstract of paper project, research paper (10-12 pages)

Mag. Klaus Heissenberger

CS II US: Media / Images / Difference: Exploring Visuality and Gender in the Media
Thur, 04 Jan. 2018, 1-7 p.m. (C 5 3, 119)
Fri, 05 Jan. 2018, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (C 5 3, 119)
Fri, 12 Jan. 2018, 2-7 p.m. (C 5 3, 408)
Sat, 13 Jan. 2018, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (B 4 1, SAP, Room 0.02.1)
Fri, 02 Feb. 2018, 2-7 p.m. (C 5 3, 119)
Sat, 03 Feb. 2018, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (C 5 3, 119)

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

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

In this course, we will focus on visual media – mostly film, TV, music videos, and visual art – to investigate how these produce the meanings that their viewers find pleasurable, interesting, convincing, repulsive, compelling, etc.

We will explore concepts and theories about e.g. …

- Visuality, vision, watching, looking, ...
- Visuality and genre in film
- Visuality vs. narrative in film
- Visual language of film-making: framing, diegesis, shots, editing, etc.
- Gender: The (male?) gaze
- Other gazes: Plural differences
- Practices of looking: Similarities and differences across different media
- Gazes and looks in the new media

Examples in class will range from traditions of painting to classic Hollywood films to music videos. You will learn about and apply independently a selected range of critical theories & methods to analyze - or read critically - different forms and examples of visual media. You are invited to collect and present examples of your own choice in team presentations and discuss them with your colleagues. Specifically, you will examine the examples with regard to difference: What gender and sexual differences (and what ethnic, class or other differences) come into play in any given reading or interpretation? Our overall goal will be to investigate how different theoretical perspectives and approaches make possible different readings (and may exclude others) - and thus to see how difference and identity interact with media images.

Requirements: Attendance, team presentations, discussions, readings, a final written essay and/or exam and/or video/media production incl. analysis.

A selection of relevant essays and excerpts from books will be made available.

Mag. Payman Rezwan

CS II US: Alcohol, Adultry ... and Jesus? An Introduction to Country Music
Thur, 16 Nov. 2017, 1-7 p.m. (C 5 3, 119)
Fri, 17 Nov. 2017, 1-7 p.m. (C 5 3, U13)
Sat, 18 Nov. 2017, 1-7 p.m. (C 5 3, 120)
Sat, 20 Jan. 2018, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (C 5 3, U 13)

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

In his song "It's America," country singer Rodney Atkins delivers the following description of the U.S.: "It's cities and farms, it's open arms, one nation under God." This is a typical description, made by country artists about their homeland: an emphasis on the rural character of the country, positive American values and a degree of religious humility. These characteristics have made country music enormously popular amongst a working-class audience, and boosted record sales and concert attendances immensely.
In this course, we will take a look at the cultural phenomenon that is country music. From its roots in the Appalachian mountains, to becoming the trigger of Elvis Presley's successful career, all the way to dominating the American music scene in our day, we will chronicle the genre's history and investigate how it became the "music of a nation." Furthermore, we will discuss some of its most important artists and find out how they contributed to country music’s current status.
The focus of this course will be on how America is represented in country music, especially contemporary country music, with artists such as Garth Brooks, Toby Keith or Taylor Swift, offering a wide array of different topics and dealing with almost every aspect of American life and culture. You will be presented with these aspects, i.e. the American South and rural America, the struggles of the working class, politics, or the U.S. as a God-fearing nation, and we will analyze how country music deals with and represents these aspects in its lyrics and music videos.
Furthermore, there will be a collaboration of some sorts (details are still being discussed) with students from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN. The opportunity will be given to interact and work with them, as well as with Prof. James Akenson, who teaches courses in country music at Tennessee Tech.