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 2005 - American Studies at 50, Vol. 50, Nos. 1/2
From the Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien to the Quarterly Amerikastudien / American Studies –1956-2005
The history of the journal of the German Association for American Studies forms part of the postwar process of democratizing and liberalizing academic education in Germany. The evolution from the fledgling days of the Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien in 1956 to the internationally accepted quarterly Amerikastudien / American Studies at the beginning of the twenty-first century describes the trajectory of three generations of American Studies scholars who projected, developed, and transformed the interdisciplinary concept of American Studies with respect to their different fields of language, literature, culture, politics, and history of the United States. This historical survey traces the seven stages of this development from the founding editor Walther Fischer and his editorial office in Marburg via the editorial offices in Tübingen (Hans-Joachim Lang), Berlin (Ursula Brumm), Frankfurt (Martin Christadler), Würzburg (Gerhard Hoffmann), and Mainz (Alfred Hornung) to the present editor Udo Hebel in Regensburg. The survey also includes a brief history of the Association's series of American Studies monographs. The success of both publication organs is based on the energy and dedication of editors, contributors, and readers, the competent cooperation of publishers, and the financial support received from the German Research Foundation and, above all, from the American Embassy. Today the journal represents and promulgates the quality of German American Studies scholarship in a transnational dialogue with scholars in the United States and other parts of the world where the presence of America is felt.
Theorizing American Studies: German Interventions into an Ongoing Debate
Partly due to the transdisciplinary agenda of the field, the development of American Studies has been accompanied by intensive debates about methods and theories. This essay relates a-necessarily reductive-narrative about how, throughout its history, German American Studies has intervened into and contributed to these debates; and how, with the emergence of parameters and politics of difference, on the one hand, and poststructuralist thought and notions of différance, on the other, the early debate on methods of American Studies transformed into discussions of theories of American literature, culture, history etc. In the light of what I perceive as the current division within German American Studies-a division between work that refocuses the theoretical discussion on literary studies and questions of aesthetics and analyses that engage other cultural practices and media by way of explicit theoretical perspectives, yet not necessarily in the frame of an American Studies agenda-my argument suggests that we take a more dialectical approach to the plurality of theories American Studies engages. While such an approach can no longer aim at syntheses and needs to allow for incoherencies and contradictions, it seems indispensable if we aim at futures for American Studies.
The Unknown Republic: American History at German Universities
Looking back over 50 years of the GAAS and the development of American History as an academic discipline at German universities, the essay shows an astonishing and continuous neglect by state and national authorities. It is suggested here that a better understanding of Anglo-Saxon democracy and political culture may have led to different world views of Germany's educated class and, in fact, prevented two world wars. In view of the present disarray of relations between Washington and the new Berlin, one may see a greater presence of American History in German university curricula as a way of informing both German leaders and public opinion about the American nation.
The End of German-American Relations … ‘as we know them’
The fifty years that the Amerikastudien / American Studies has been in existence have coincided with an unusually deep and stable political relationship between the United States and Germany, buttressed by strong cultural and business ties. This essay argues that German-American relations are at a crossroads, a point that might as well denote the end of American relations as we know them. Two basic factors account for this development: 1) the disappearance of the Soviet threat, which despite frequent conflicts tied both countries together in a strategic relationship; 2) the Europeanization of external policies in Europe, which is making Brussels-based actors much more important than the protagonist that used to define the bilateral relationship between Washington-Bonn/Berlin. These two factors were already at work in the 1990s, when incremental policy adjustment kept the relationship intact on the surface. The conflict over the American invasion of Iraq, where for the first time in 50 years a German government openly opposed a major strategic American policy objective, revealed the structural break with the past at the policy level. While it is possible to do superficial repairs, this essay argues that what is required is a new bargain that would consist of Germany becoming the chief advocate of transatlanticism and the United States acknowledging in word and deed that a strong and united Europe is in its own strategic interest. This in turn would require that Germany manages its severe economic and social problems that Americans perceive as signs of decline.
You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever: Popular Culture and the German Americanist
The essay presents a history of the explorations into U.S. popular culture by German Americanists since the 1950s, reading these developments in the context of larger transformations in the field of American Studies. In the last half-century German scholarly readings of Americana have changed profoundly, from a Frankfurt School approach highly critical of mass culture (discussed here with regard to Adorno's essay "The Stars Down to Earth") to diverse interpretations of the popular by contemporary scholars working in American Studies. Sketching the problems and the potential of such recent work, the essay analyzes approaches to popular culture by journalists and non-academic writers: discussions of the reception of the popular, especially with regard to contemporary political contexts in Germany. It also outlines similarly significant research on Americanization conducted by American Studies within the academy. In conclusion the essay calls for studies of American popular culture both abroad and 'at home' and for a combination of academic and non-academic perspectives on the popular.
American Studies and EFL-Teaching in Germany: A Troubled Relationship
A brief survey of the recent history and present problems of Fremdsprachendidaktik on the one hand and American Studies and Amerikanistik on the other shows that the tenuous relationship between university research and teaching in secondary schools is not the inevitable result of the difference between the academic quest for truth and the educational interest in meaning, but, as selected examples confirm, of a lack of interest and an unwillingness to cooperate. The relationship is then approached 'from the receiving end' and, after a sketch of the basic objectives of EFL-teaching and the resulting criteria for text selection, the historical sequence of critical approaches thought to be appropriate and the selection of American texts thought to be suitable for the EFL-classroom is traced with references to personal experiences. It is shown how the reform of the gymnasiale Oberstufe and the emergence of Rezeptionsästhetik fundamentally changed the relationship between Literatur and Landeskunde and gradually replaced the long dominant New Criticism, and how the abolition of the canon by an emancipatory Deutschdidaktik spilled over into EFL-teaching, where in theory it resulted in the concept of exemplarity and individual text selection, but in practice led to the establishment of a 'secret canon.' The few existing surveys of what is actually read in the EFLclassroom are adduced to demonstrate the inertia of the school system and to explain why the recent canon debate in the U.S. has hardly influenced the EFL-classroom. Narratological terminology is chosen to examine the controversial issue of how much Literaturwissenschaft should be transferred into Literaturunterricht, and it is argued that the hegemony of postmodern theories with their constructivist premises, their precedence of theory over text, and their specialized jargon has created a situation in which research and teaching have drifted further apart from each other than ever before. This situation is in need of correction, and since the contemporary state curricula offer room for new and innovative themes and techniques, Americanists are called upon to help educate their future students by providing the EFL-classroom with challenging materials and to test whether they can make their findings accessible to ordinary people and thus transcend the confines of their scholarly community and gain greater social relevance for their endeavors
Refigurations of American Studies: On Transnationalizing the United States
This essay is concerned with the project of transnationalizing the United States and with the important role of American Studies in this process. In the wake of our academic attempts at rethinking the nation, we have often tended to equate the transnational with processes of global Americanization but have been cautious in applying the lessons of national deconstruction to U.S. nationhood and to our discipline's own national foundations. The essay traces three trajectories of American Studies scholarship which have recently taken up this challenge: Atlantic studies (which provides a structure for re-thinking national boundaries and processes of 'mapping'), interdisciplinary collaborations between the humanities and social sciences in the area of trauma research and ways of writing about collective violence, and research on Arab American literature and culture (a field which addresses contemporary gaps between political and academic notions of nation and culture and poses the question of re-thinking our role as scholars in relation to political praxis).
Publications in American Studies from German Speaking Countries, 2004
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 - 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