This course meets twice a week: once on Thursday (lecture) and once on Monday or Tuesday (seminar), depending on the group in which you are enrolled (max. 20 participants per group). The course provides fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for the study of American literature. It introduces critical concepts such as 'literature,' 'culture,' and 'text'; influential theoretical approaches and critical methods; problems of literary history, canonization, and periodization. The course covers a variety of literary texts, including representative examples of all major literary forms, and guides students in applying technical terms and concepts to the analysis of these texts. It also addresses strategies of research and writing. In the Lehramt programs, the course qualifies students for seminars in both British and American literature. Further course materials, mandatory readings and course requirements will be announced in the first session.
Required readings: Peter Barry, Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (Manchester UP); Michael Meyer, English and American Literature (Francke). Further readings and materials will be available on GRIPS.
IMPORTANT: Students of the BA Amerikanistik must register for Introduction courses listed here under American Studies. Students of the BA Anglistik must register for the lecture run by Dr. Decker. Students taking a Lehramt-degree or a BA in English Linguistics can register for either of these two lecture courses.
The lecture course surveys the academic discipline of American Studies and provides an overview of materials, resources, issues, areas of study, and theories in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Individual sessions will give introductory accounts of North American geography, demographic developments and U.S. immigration history, major issues and coordinates of North American and U.S. history, the political system of the U.S., American ideologies and identity constructions, the religious landscape of the U.S., multilingualism and language politics in North America.
Course texts: Hebel, Udo. Einführung in die Amerikanistik/American Studies. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2008. Print. Bronner, Simon J., ed. Encyclopedia of American Studies. Johns Hopkins UP, 2014. Web.
Feminists are ugly, angry women who do not shave their legs, hate men and who burn their bras in public, or are they? Not at all! This lecture will introduce students to feminist politics, theories, and cultures. It will trace the emergence and formation of the so-called ”three waves” of American feminist thought and politics ranging from the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848 and the early twentieth-century Women’s suffrage movement, the foundation of NOW in the 1960s and the writings Betty Friedan, Kate Millet, and Shulamith Firestone, to contemporary feminist theory by bell hooks, Judith Butler, Kimberly Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins, Gloria Anzaldua, Sara Ahmed, and many others. The lecture will look at feminist thought and politics, taking into account aspects like the intersection of race, class, and gender, as well as queer studies and recent political movements such as V-day, Code Pink or #metoo. Furthermore, the lecture will discuss a broad range of feminist cultural expressions ranging from abolitionist-feminist gift books, feminist utopias and dystopias, poetry and theater, to fanzines, punk music, LGBTQ ballroom culture, and activist performances.
Credit requirement: Final Exam. All course materials will be available on GRIPS.
Credit requirements for electives EAS-M7.2, EAS-M8.1 and EAS-M8.2: Final Exam. For Modulprüfung please also check the Modulbeschreibung: https://www.uni-regensburg.de/studium/modulbeschreibungen/medien/master/eas_master_ws1819.pdf. All course materials will be available on GRIPS.
This seminar explores the methodological impetus of two recent, important turns in American Studies: the performative turn and the transnational turn. After studying the theoretical foundations of these two turns, the seminar will explore diverse performances, among them theatrical performance, political enactments, commemorative events, festive activities, as well as protest events. We will examine specific performative cultural practices in their cultural, social and, political contexts and we will analyze transnational processes and transfers that shaped and continue to shape American culture. Students will thus deepen their understanding of theater and performance practices in the United States as well as of the performative character of American culture(s). Students will learn to analyze how particular performances located in places in- and outside the United States negotiate 'America' in global contexts. They will investigate the potential of particular performances to perpetuate, but also to challenge and counteract cultural, social, and political discourses and phenomena. Performances to be discussed will be of mostly contemporary nature but we will also examine some 19th and early 20th century examples. All course materials will be available on GRIPS.
Course requirement: oral presentation
In Souls of the Black Folks, W.E.B. DuBois famously observed that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line" (xxx). A few of years before the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Michelle Alexander observed that "more African American adults are under correctional control today - in prison or jail, on probation or parole - than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began" (The New Jim Crow, 2010, 224).
Taking its cues from W.E.B. DuBois' and Alexander's observations, this seminar will examine legal, political, and cultural concepts that have defined "race" in the U.S. in the past; it will explore how these concepts continue to impact American culture and African American identity in contemporary U.S. culture and politics.
In this seminar we will research famous court cases and their media reports (such as the Rhinelander case, 1925, or Loving v. Virginia, 1967, People v. OJ Simpson, 1994, State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, 2012). We will look at famous historical incidents of black and white relationships (such as Thomas Jefferson's relationship with his slave Sally Hemings), we will examine contemporary cultural (mis)representations of multiracial identity (e.g. The Rachel Divide, 2018). When put in an international perspective, legal principles for racial classifications like the "one drop rule" and social phenomena like passing (for white) draw attention to the fact that white America's preoccupation with "miscegenation" and the fear of blurring racial boundaries are almost unique U.S. phenomena. We will thus also look at American notions of "race" from a transnational perspective by examining works from South Africa (e.g. Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, 2016), Germany (e.g. Mo Asumang's Mo und die Arier, 2016), and Great Britain (e.g. David Olusoga's Black and British, 2016). All course materials will be available on GRIPS.
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