literature, cultural studies, history, political science, linguistics, critical theory, teaching of American Studies
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Amerikastudien / American Studies is the journal of the German Association for American Studies. It started as the annual Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien in 1956 and has since developed into a quarterly with some 1200 subscriptions in Europe and the United States. The journal is dedicated to interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives and embraces the diversity and dynamics of a dialogic and comparatist understanding of American Studies. It covers all areas of American Studies from literary and cultural criticism, history, political science, and linguistics to the teaching of American Studies. Thematic issues alternate with regular ones. Reviews, forums, and annual bibliographies support the international circulation of German and European scholarship in American Studies.
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006 - Asian American Studies in Europe, Vol. 51, No. 3
Introduction: Asian American Studies in Europe
Orientalisms in Fin-de-Siècle America
In times of increasing migration to European countries, it is of particular interest to the European American Studies scholar to analyze mechanisms of Othering which are poignantly manifest in the history of Asian Americans in the U.S. Orientalism, as Edward Said has argued, as a Western term used to construct the East from a Western perspective and turn it into the Other, is one technology of Othering. Fictional texts about the Orient at the fin de siècle were frequently romances focusing on male-female love relationships, on one level, and on ethnic, gender, and national stereotypes, on another. Anti-Chinese immigration laws at the turn of the century testify to a nationwide white nativist fear of racial pollution through miscegenation and fear of increasing unemployment because of the "yellow peril," while Japan and the Japanese were exoticized and represented the attractive side of the Orient. Fictionalizing the Orient was a means of maintaining control over the Other. The Anglo-Saxon John Luther Long, the Chinese American Winnifred Eaton passing for Japanese as Onoto Watanna, and her sister Edith Eaton using the Chinese pseudonym Sui Sin Far speak through their characters and their respective Asian ethnicities to affirm the Orientalisms of their time, on the one hand, and to subtly criticize American society for its racism, sexism, and patriarchal ideologies, on the other. In their novels and short stories, the Chinese American sisters use a form of "double ventriloquism" (Cole) and create strong New (Chinese/Japanese/American) Women who represent an "Orientalism with a difference" (Ferens).
The Oriental/Occidental Dynamic in Chinese American Life Writing: Pardee Lowe and Jade Snow Wong
In this essay, I explore the uncertainties which stand in opposition to classic theories of American autobiography, yet are in agreement with the contemporary postmodern consensus that autobiographies, and ethnic autobiographies in particular, are always characterized by a multiple subject. In specific formal ways these Chinese American autobiographies can be seen to be riven through with competing racialized discourses of self that cannot allow an image of coherent, universal subjectivity to dominate. These formal strategies are deployed in such a way, as I hope to show, that we are invited to reconceptualize Chinese American life writing as a hybrid literary form. Through the device of narrative point of view, competing discourses of Orientalism and Occidentalism set up a dynamic that cannot be adequately resolved by the text alone. The dyad Orientalism/Occidentalism has not been extensively engaged in literary terms, but in anthropological and sociological theory the concept of Occidentalism has proved fruitful for exposing and offering analysis assumptions about the West. These analysis assumptions inform studies of colonial contact and Western influence in village or tribal societies or the ways in which non-Western communities imagine themselves in contrast to stylized images of the West. This dyad provides the focus for my discussion of Pardee Lowe's Father and Glorious Descendant and Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter.
National and Ethnic Affiliation in Internment Autobiographies of Childhood by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and George Takei
The number of autobiographies written about the Japanese internment experience illustrate the imperative of life writing in its intersection with the politics of identity formation. This essay examines the artistic project of two Japanese American writers -- Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's Farewell to Manzanar (1973), George Takei's To the Stars (1994) -- who deploy narratives of their childhood years in internment camps to represent their individual processes of self-identification and negotiation of cultural and/or national affiliation, offering important insights into this disruptive historical and cultural experience. Both texts reveal important parallels in connection with the changes in their families because of the war, their relationships with their fathers, and the central role of the experience internment in forging their sense of national and cultural identity. Specifically, Jeanne's negotiation with issues of invisibility contrasts with George's desire for public self-representation. The manner in which writers like Houston and Takei negotiate their positions as Japanese Americans during and after the Second World War obliges the reader to attend to crucial questions of self-representation, national affiliation, and citizenship.
Architect of the Cosmopolitan Dream: Salman Rushdie
This paper entertains the possibility of an 'Americanization' of Salman Rushdie. Both in his fictional and his critical writings Rushdie has turned to the United States as site of enunciation and site of cultural critique. As a regular commentator in the New York Times and a number of magazines, he has inserted himself, however provisionally and critically, into the multicultural mainstream of the United States. Such a move toward the U.S. has taken the trajectory of Rushdie, the voice from the margin, to a new domain. His subject position as individual and writer is no longer grounded in the postcolonial terrain organized around the center/margin-dichotomy; instead he has in significant and signifying ways written himself into the center. The consequences of this realignment are traced in readings of Rushdie's novels, from Midnight's Children via Satanic Verses to Fury.
Interpreters of Transnationalism: South Asian American Women Writers
The emergence of so-called South Asian Americans as the third largest Asian American group in the U.S. has been accompanied by their increased cultural and academic visibility as well as a renewed Western interest in the consumption of 'Indo Chic.' Although highly stratified along cultural, class, and religious lines, the post-1965 generation of South Asian Americans has developed from one of the least-studied communities into a subfield within Asian American Studies in less than a decade. This essay attempts to trace the complex subject positions and institutional discourses behind this development with a particular focus on the experiences of South Asian American women. In its exploration of the transnational perspectives in the work of the South Asian American women writers Talat Abbasi, Meena Alexander, Anita Rau Badami, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ameena Meer, Tahira Naqvi, and Bapsi Sidhwa it emphasizes the need for an internationally comparative approach which critically addresses essentialized concepts of identity politics and pan-ethnic ideologies. It further stresses the constructed and context-specific nature of categories such as 'South Asian American' and the importance of the globalized material conditions they are situated in.
Vikrams of Change: The Suspended Transnational Presence of the Indian on Friends
This paper proposes to read an episode of the popular U.S. sitcom Friends against the grain by deconstructing the "Indian" who does not appear on the show but is instead being impersonated by a Jewish American character who is part of the sitcom's core cast. This impersonation, it will be proposed, can be traced back to the theatrical tradition of blackface minstrelsy. Ethnic impersonation thus continues to be a key ritual in the consolidation of a given community's Americanness. It is also predicated on a complex politics of cultural exchange. The confirmation of one ethnic group's Americanness is achieved at the expense of the exclusion of another. At the same time, popular culture can be seen as a containment of national anxieties about the influx of Asian immigrants.
Beyond a Postmodern Denial of Reference: Forms of Resistance in Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters
In her discussion of Jessica Hagedorn's first novel, Dogeaters, Caroline S. Hau criticizes the celebrated Filipina American writer for employing a postmodern version of the "Other," or an "Other Othered as exotica" (125). According to Hau and other Filipino critics, this staged orientalism works hand in hand with a capitalist system which supports this kind of representation through writers' grants. By undermining the "hermeneutics of truth," Hau argues, Dogeaters avoids an open discussion of Philippine American relations (121). The "jungle chronicle" takes the place of a historical analysis (cf. Hau 116, 119). The following essay provides a more optimistic perspective by reading Hagedorn's project as a confrontation with her own "demons of identity" (Bonetti) and as an exploration into the possibilities for political agency that goes beyond a postmodernist critique of representation. An examination of Dogeaters, and in particular the different uses of the movie metaphor within the novel, reveals that cultural performativity is not the ultimate solution for Hagedorn. Instead, as evident in the "Joey" episode, Hagedorn attempts to distinguish between "American" and "native" perspectives on the social and political realities in the Philippines. The changes in narrative voice signal clearly both the author's acknowledgement of her own cultural limitations and the narrative's refusal to "colonize" the possibilities of Filipino resistance.
South Africa and the United States in Transnational American Studies,
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 3,
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 1
Iconographies of the Calamitous in American Visual Culture, Vol. 58, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 3
Pragmatism's Promise, Vol. 58, No. 2
Amerika Studien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 1
Tocqueville's Legacy: Towards a Cultural History of Recognition in American Studies , Vol. 57, No.4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, 57.3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012 - Conceptions of Collectivity in Contemporary American Literature, Vol. 57, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, Vol. 57, Vol. 1
American Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Vol. 56, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, Vol. 56, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 1
African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges , Vol. 55, No. 4
Trauma's Continuum -- September 11th Reconsidered, Vol. 55, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010, Vol. 55, No. 2
Poverty and the Culturalization of Class , Vol. 55, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 4
American History/ies in Germany: Assessments, Transformations, Perspectives, Vol. 54, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 2
Appropriating Vision(s): Visual Practices in American Women's Writing, Vol. 54, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008, Vol. 53, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 - Die Bush-Administration: Eine erste Bilanz, Vol. 53, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008, Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 Vol. 53, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 - Inter-American Studies and Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 53, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007, Vol. 52, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007 - Teaching American Studies in the Twenty-First Century, Vol. 52, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007, Vol. 52, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007 - Transatlantic Perspectives on American Visual Culture, Vol. 52, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006, Vol. 51, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006, Vol. 51, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006 - Multilingualism and American Studies , Vol. 51, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005, Vol. 50, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005 - Early American Visual Culture, Vol. 50, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005 - American Studies at 50, Vol. 50, Nos. 1/2