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 - Multilingualism and American Studies , Vol. 51, No. 1
This issue of Amerikastudien/American Studies includes work by authors Claus Bernet, Ulf Schulenberg, Anne Dvinge, Mel van Elteren, Karsten Fitz, and Ingrid Gessner.
Introduction: Multilingualism and American Studies
Ethnicity and Performance: Bilingualism in Spanglish Verse Culture
This article is about contemporary Spanglish verse culture and one of its paradigmatic sites: the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. During the historical period that is covered here—1975 to 1994—ethnic nationalism became less important at the Cafe, and transethnic performance poetry rose to its peak. Nuyorican poetry is mainly a poetry of the self, where poetic voice is a complex issue connected with performance, ethnicity, and vocal/lingual diversity. All in all, it can be said that there was a shift of emphasis from monovocalism to multivocalism, from bilingualism to monolingualism, and from bilingualism as an ethnic feature to bilingualism as a matter of performance and genuinely free choice.
‘A Record of Life and a Poem of Sentiments’: Japanese Immigrant Senryu, 1929-1945
Japanese immigrants in the United States recorded their daily life and feelings in senryu poems of 17 syllables. This essay discusses the translation problems, a brief history of immigrant senryu, and examples of the poems to show how the immigrants personalized their life in the United States in the 1930s and during the Second World War.
The bicentennial of Humboldt’s visit to America has inspired a reappraisal of his multilinguistic example. Although research on Humboldt has been global and multilingual, it has remained linguistically and regionally fragmented. Humboldt’s scientific achievements greatly impressed prominent contemporary U.S. citizens and influenced both science and education in nineteenth-century America. His multilingualism, however, was hardly echoed by American contemporaries. Although Humboldt was considered “almost an American,” he criticized the lack of interest in the humanities, particularly history, linguistics, and ethnic studies in the U.S. Even before Humboldt’s American journey, contemporary mapping and cartography provided examples of multilingualism. His own legacy of multilingual geography was passed on to nineteenth-century German geographers in America such as Prince Maximilian von Wied and J.G. Kohl. Beyond geography, Humboldt’s example has been followed by some outstanding American libraries and writers such as Longfellow. Today, American multilingualism may be further encouraged by Humboldt’s example.
Reimagining Reinhold Solger’s Anton in America
Reinhold Solger’s Anton in Amerika: Novelle aus dem deutsch-amerikanischen Leben (Anton in America: A Novel from German-American Life), first published in 1862, recounts the American adventures of Antonio Wohlfahrt, the purported son of Anton Wohlfart in Gustav Freytag’s novel Soll und Haben (1855). This article presents the annotated English translation of the introduction and first two chapters of Solger’s novel as well as commentary; the translation, an excerpt from a forthcoming English edition of the novel, aims to make Solger’s literary work more accessible to the growing number of scholars interested in nineteenth-century German-American literature and multilingual writing in the United States. The novel reveals much about the process of how an immigrant writer took up German ideas and values and adapted them to an American context, thus producing a literary work that could comment upon German, American, and German-American life. Anton in America also reflects the acculturation process and the role played by Americans and their culture in the development of German-American ethnic identity.
America’s Multilingualism and the Problem of the Literary Representation of ‘Pidgin English’
The occurrence of nonstandard language in works of imaginative literature has traditionally provoked questions about its meaning, especially when such ‘deviant’ forms of English are recognizable as representations of ‘ethnic speech.’ As is perhaps most obvious in the history of the minstrel tradition in American culture, a nonstandard language often conjures up assumptions of racial inferiority. While it is beyond doubt that the reproduction of African American speech contributed significantly to the emergence and reinforcement of negative stereotypes, the work of Michael North, Eric Lott, and others has shown that it would be a misconception to regard all ethnicized forms of nonstandard language as instances of racism. By focusing on Charles G. Leland’s Pidgin-English Sing-Song (1876), a book which attempted to render a linguistic form extensively used in the seaport towns of China and among Chinese Americans, the present article shows the complexity of a publication which unites linguistic research data, folklore texts, and literary material covering a surprisingly wide thematic range. By doing so, it proposes the idea that an unprejudiced approach to a hybrid language can open possibilities for a new reading of previously ostracized materials and thus broaden the debate on multilingualism in American literature in the context of linguistic diversity.
Deutsch, Dutch, Double Dutch: Authentic and Artificial German-American Dialects
In the wake of the German Revolution of 1848, a massive number of immigrants poured into the United States. They brought with them not only a vision of a free democratic society beyond the Atlantic but also their traditions and dialects. Newcomers and nativists alike produced a rich body of literature celebrating linguistic diversity in the United States through a creative use of language. Among those who wanted to incorporate authentic dialect speech patterns in their poetry were the Pennsylvania Germans. They boasted proudly an American history of about three centuries going back to Francis Daniel Pastorius’s arrival in Pennsylvania in 1683. Nineteenth-century Pennsylvania German poetry competed with popular poetry labeled ‘Dutch’ dialect, which used an artificial lingua franca to mock certain characteristics of German immigrant culture. Aspects of inferiority, crudeness, or primitivity were not only detected in sentimental efforts of preserving German traditions but also in the immigrants’ lack of command of the dominant language. This article addresses continuities and changes regarding the perception of German immigrants through the use of dialect by comparing Henry Lee Fisher’s writings to those of Charles Follen Adams. The analysis reveals surprising patterns in the process of creating, recreating, and preserving dialect features. The boundaries between authentic and artificial languages, between the real and the fake become blurry. Beyond aspects of oral recitation and the faithful transcription of interlinguistic speech patterns, visual illustrations of dialect poetry need also to be taken into consideration as crucial elements in both documenting and stigmatizing immigrant traditions.
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, 57.3
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 - Asian American Studies in Europe, Vol. 51, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006, Vol. 51, No. 2
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