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 - Early American Visual Culture, Vol. 50, No. 3
Early American Visual Culture: Introduction
New-York Historical Society’s Unidentified Gentleman with a Violin (ca. 1720): A Re-Evaluation
Unidentified Gentleman with a Violin seems to be the first appearance of a violin in an Anglo-American painting. This paper discusses selected visual and musical aspects to unearth the complex iconography of a seemingly simple portrait. J[ohn?] Cooper’s picture is deeply imbedded in the cultural changes of the early eighteenth century both in Britain and its North American colonies, which are characterized by a growing independence of the colonies, an increasing social mobility, and a lessening of cultural restrictions, all of which also influence the histories of manners, portraiture, and music. The key features of the picture discussed here are the physical appearance of the sitter, his attire, and the function of the instrument. The findings suggest that the painting may be the self-portrait of an early immigrant cultural entrepreneur who united art and music in the newly popular profession of the colonial dancing master.
American Painting in the Federal Period: Charles Willson Peale between Popular Portraits and Political Portraiture
American art and American painting are usually regarded as coming of age in the twentieth century only; the origins of American artistic and aesthetic independence, however, were already perceivable in the days of political independence. Most reviews of Federal artists concentrate on the most famous painter of that era, Benjamin West. He was the first American painter to receive the applause of both the British King and European collectors—and he taught dozens of artistic colleagues from the American colonies. Most of these, however, decided to return and in turn brought back European styles and techniques which they then had to reconcile with American experiences and republican taste. One artist in particular can be regarded as the ‘founding father’ of an alternative tradition of American painting—Charles Willson Peale, the progenitor of a family of portrait painters. His artistic concepts and programmatic concerns shall be contextualized in the following pages.
Commemorating Crispus Attucks: Visual Memory and the Representations of the Boston Massacre, 1770-1857
This article examines visual representations of the ‘Boston Massacre’ in their historical contexts and their treatment of the African American patriot Crispus Attucks. As a case study of prominent images by Paul Revere, John Singleton Copley, William C. Nell, William Champney, and Alonzo Chappel, it tackles the erasure, the marginalization, and the re-emergence of the black presence in these illustrations. These images will be dealt with as history paintings that provide us with crucial interpretations of the event (which all, separately, reflect existing beliefs of their times). The fact that four differing versions of this event (excluding Copley’s) were circulated at the same time suggests how prominent visual images of the Boston Massacre had become (for the construction of American national and cultural identities) by the mid-nineteenth century, how highly contested these images were, and how deeply America was split on the eve of the Civil War over the question of slavery.
“The Vanity of Physiognomy”: Dissimulation and Discernment in Charles Brockden Brown’s Ormond
This article examines dissimulation, physiognomy, portraiture, and reading as they are depicted in Charles Brockden Brown’s novel Ormond and in the conventional post-Revolutionary seduction novel. The essay reads Ormond as a critique of the seduction novel genre, its didacticism, and its models for reading books and people. Brown modifies the structure of the didactic seduction novel by disaligning the threat of dissimulation from the mechanics of genteel social distinction and, as a result, Ormond exposes how the genre sustains the latter by regulating the former. Moreover, Ormond interrogates the same visual forms and discourses that seduction novelists and, more generally, the period promoted as strategies for counteracting dissimulation: portraiture and physiognomy. In contrast to the static, instantaneous, and permanent notion of character obtained by the physiognomic scrutiny of a face or portrait, Ormond proposes a more fluid, sequential, and revisable notion of character accumulated from the flow of multiple persons, times, and sources. Ormond suggests that the type of reflection encouraged by reading seduction novels—which was what distinguished them from the dangerous effects of romances and justified them in the eyes of its post-Revolutionary moral critics—should not be associated with the static visual arts (portraiture) and the kinds of discourses used to interpret them (physiognomy), but with the temporality and multiple perspectives of fiction.
Rape, Republicanism, and Representation: Founding the Nation in Early American Women’s Drama and Selected Visual Representations
Heeding W. J. T. Mitchell’s call for a “pictorial turn,” this article investigates how early American women playwrights dealt with the idea that the American Revolution was negotiated through the female body, particularly through images of rape, and refashioned images of femininity circulating in late eighteenth-century American culture. Written and visual representations cast the American Revolution as a sexualized narrative: a female-connoted, virtuous American liberty was encroached by an aggressive, male British power in order to stir nationalism. Women playwrights participate in the visual economy of republican aesthetics by investing the nation and its urge for liberty with a female body, but they are aware that while a symbolic focal point on the national stage, women were pushed to the distaff sides. The playwrights denounce the gendered constructions of patriotism and that women’s contributions to the American Revolution are being excised from public memory. While representations of (dead) white heroes abounded, women— except for the female allegories, captive women, weeping matrons, and ravished virgins—disappeared from public memory. In their counter-memories of the American Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren, Susanna Haswell Rowson, and an unknown female playwright reinscribe women into public memory and their plays evince that the American Revolution was not just a fight against patriarchy on the political level
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 - American Studies at 50, Vol. 50, Nos. 1/2