Founded In    1956
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English, German

Fields of Interest


literature, cultural studies, history, political science, linguistics, critical theory, teaching of American Studies

ISSN   0340-2827
Editorial Board

General Editor:
Oliver Scheiding

Editorial Board:
Christa Buschendorf
Andreas Falke
Hans-Jürgen Grabbe
Alfred Hornung
Sabine Sielke

Assistant Editors:
Damien Schlarb
Timothy Walker

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Manuscripts and books for review should be submitted to the editorial office in Mainz. There is no obligation to review unsolicited books.
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheiding
FB 05 Dept. of English and Linguistics Amerikanistik
Johannes Gutenberg - Universität Mainz
Jakob Welder Weg 18 (Philosophicum), Zi 02-579
55128 Mainz, Germany
Phone: +49 6131 39 22 357
Fax: +49 6131 39 20 356
In view of the computerized production of the journal, manuscripts of articles and reviews can only be accepted if submitted as computer files (preferably MS Word) and accompanied by a printout. Please note the following formal requirements:
– Article manuscripts - manuscript text, abstract, notes, list of works cited - should not exceed 60,000 to 70,000 characters (including spaces).
– All articles must be preceded by an abstract in English of no more than 200 words.
– Since Amerikastudien / American Studies follows a blind-review system, articles should contain no references to the author.
– An Amerikastudien / American Studies style sheet is available under
The editorial team gladly provides a MS Word document template file (DOT) that is used for pre-typesetting (preflighting).


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.
Editor: Oliver Scheiding
Address: Amerikastudien/American Studies
FB 05 Dept. of English and Linguistics Amerikanistik
Johannes Gutenberg - Universitaet Mainz
Jakob Welder Weg 18 (Philosophicum), Zi 02-579
55128 Mainz, Germany
Phone: +49 6131 39 22 357
Fax: +49 6131 39 20 356


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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

Other Issues

Network Theory and American Studies, Vol. 60, No.1
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 - 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