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, Vol. 51, No. 4
"Marked Severities": The Debate over Torture during America's Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1902
This essay examines the American debate over torture by U.S. soldiers during the Philippine-American War. The bitter home-front controversy about the violation of the laws of war during the military conquest of the Philippine Islands began in 1900 and reached its climax during a congressional investigation in the spring of 1902. Prompted by the investigative work of a small group of journalists, military dissenters, and empire critics, the hearings revealed that U.S. troops had systematically employed so-called 'water cure' torture as an interrogation technique during counterinsurgency operations against the Filipino independence movement. Although prohibited by the army's field regulations, the torture of prisoners and suspected guerillas was widespread and fostered by deep-seated racism, the escalatory nature of warfare, the deregulation of control over military operations, and a strong sense of frustration and alienation experienced by American soldiers during the campaign. Although the disclosure of the torture cases prompted a national outcry and substantial military dissent, perpetrators were rarely prosecuted and often received only symbolic sentencing. The war critics ultimately failed to sustain the debate's anti-imperial momentum and public outrage was soon contained by a mixture of patriotic nationalism, emotional fatigue, and the belief in the nation's exceptional moral superiority.
Vom Askari zum New Negro: Alain Locke und Walter von Ruckteschell
In his search for a new aesthetic paradigm for the representation of African Americans in American art and culture, the African American philosopher Alain Locke praised the exemplary sensibility and strength of the portrait art of Winold Reiss and Walter von Ruckteschell, two German artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While Reiss has become a rather well-researched figure in the scholarship focusing on the Harlem Renaissance and its particular visual aesthetics, Ruckteschell has been almost completely ignored -- even though it was a drawing by the latter that Locke placed rather prominently in the original edition of the New Negro anthology in the magazine Graphic Survey (1925) as an ideal representation of "Young Africa." Locke's idealistic appropriation, if unwittingly also rather effectively, concealed the racist implications and obvious colonial context of the original drawing which von Ruckteschell made in 1918 for a commemorative sampler of artwork in honor of one of the most rigorous of German colonialists, General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. In the context of the New Negro, however, Ruckteschell's drawing turns from an idealization of German colonial ideology into an ideal representation of a 'new African American' informed by Locke's pan-Africanist nationalism. The paper will discuss this peculiar instance of transatlantic and cross-cultural iconographic transfer and the irritating persistence of colonial vision it suggests.
Enigmatic Circles: Approaching the Ethics of Myth through N. Scott Momaday
From a Western perspective, a mythic worldview has traditionally been considered not only as "unscientific" and less effective than a scientific approach; it has also usually been judged morally questionable, if not "immoral." The essay addresses the ethics of myth through a reading of N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and tries to unwrap the differences and misunderstandings that have barred an ethical approach to myth. In doing so, it argues for the acknowledgment of the openness of a work of literature that should not be reduced to an ethnic-political reading informed by identity politics.
"The Ward is a Factory": Macht und Normalisierung in Ken Keseys One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The essay examines Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) by making use of Michel Foucault's analysis of disciplinary power. Besides a number of differences in the two authors' approaches toward sexuality and resistance, one finds some striking resemblances in Kesey's literary work and Foucault's theoretical analysis concerning the subjects of power and normalization, madness and society, punishment and surveillance. Taking into account that One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest appeared only one year after Foucault's first important work, Madness and Civilization, -- and deals with quite similar topics -- it can be argued that both authors participated in a transnational discourse critical of normalization, which, during the second half of the twentieth century, became a major challenge to traditional forms of class analysis. After an historical account of these theoretical transformations, the essay explores One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the writings of Foucault in order to highlight the analogies and differences between the two authors' thoughts on power and normalization. Finally, the essay confronts Foucault's (and Kesey's) model of "disciplinary society" with Gilles Deleuze's concept of "control society." Thus, rather than being merely concerned with literary analysis, the essay also intends to present a Cultural-Studies-based discussion of power and normalization in the light of recent historical and theoretical developments.
"The clutter of the unkempt forest": John Cage, Music and American Environmental Thought
John Cage's artistic development showed an increasingly explicit awareness of environmental issues and of their relationship to his music. In breaking away from the linear, teleological structures of Western classical music, which emphasized a sense of forward movement culminating in a single climax, he criticized the destructiveness of a Western society committed to Faustian notions of historical progress. Cage was influenced by the idea that music in Indian cultures served 'to quiet the mind and thus make it susceptible to divine influences.' Also central to his naturalistic aesthetics was the Indian art critic Ananda Coomaraswamy, who wrote that the intention of Indian art was 'to imitate Nature in her manner of operation.' In his 1960s writings, Cage became interested in the work of R. Buckminster Fuller on how contemporary electronic technologies were producing opportunities for a new 'post-scarcity' society which would be less ecologically damaging than in the past. By the 1970s, Cage came to apply such explicitly ecological ideas to his processes of musical composition. In pieces such as "Inlets" and "Child of Tree," music became for him a model of benign ecological relations between human beings and the natural world.
Making a Home away from Home: Traveling Diasporas in María Escandón's Esperanza's Box of Saints
The novel Esperanza's Box of Saints (1999) exemplifies the representation and production of transcultural practices in the border zone between Southern California and Northern Mexico. It fictionalizes human and cultural mobility in "transnational social spaces" by employing themes and motifs often associated with diasporic narratives: travel, transculturation, memory, home. This essay analyzes the narrative construction of real and imagined diasporas that span across two nation-states, physically and culturally. Escandón's text can be read as a departure from earlier Chicana feminist and Mexican immigrant novels because it suggests alternative cultural formations, for women and men, in transnational circuits between Mexico and the United States.
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 - Asian American Studies in Europe, Vol. 51, No. 3
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