JGU American Studies News
International Conference on “Obama and Transnational American Studies”
October 16 – 19, 2014
The American Studies division is organizing an international conference on “Obama and Transnational American Studies” from October 16 to 19, 2014. This conference is in conjunction with the foundation of the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. At this conference we would like to look at the concept of Transnational American Studies in light of changes brought about during the Obama presidency from the perspective of the areas of concentration in Mainz American Studies: Early American Studies, Comparative Indigenous Studies, and Transcultural Life Writing. Besides referring to the president, the name of Obama also refers to Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move Campaign” as well as African and Asian siblings, such as Auma Obama and Mark Ndesandjo, and their respective areas of expertise.
“Imagining Community? Über die Formierung von Gemeinschaft(en) auf christlichen Webplattformen”Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 2-4p.m., Fakultätssaal, PhilosophicumAs last station in our lecture series on “Media and Religion” we will turn to a more traditional understanding of “media” and look at the internet as a means of community-building. Anna Neumaier, research assistant at the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) at the Ruhr-University Bochum, just finished her dissertation on religious online platforms. In her presentation, she will discuss figures and functions of chat-rooms as they pertain to the religious communities that congregate there.
“Marginalized Groups in Contemporary American Media”Thursday, July 10, 6p.m., P 203
In order to get a first impression of how Academic Conferences and Symposiums work, students of the American Studies Graduate Program got introduced into the writing of papers for panels, the way to present those papers, and the course of events at academic conferences by Ian Afflerbach. Now, they will present short papers written by them in a mock conference to practice. Visitors are welcome and appreciated.Flyer (PDF)
“’No Sex, no Drugs, but Rock’n’Roll’: Evangelicals, Pop Music, and Identity”Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 2-4p.m., Hörsaal 11, Alte Mensa
Bärbel Harju, lecturer at the America Institute at the University of Munich, presented with her book Rock & Religion (transcript 2012) a cultural history of Christian rock- and pop-music in the United States. Working at the intersection of faith, artistic creativity, and commerce, Harju provides insights into new forms of popular religiosity. In her talk, Harju will introduce us to an evangelical subculture formed around and through Christian pop-music.Flyer (PDF)
“‘I was a stranger’: The Evangelical Campaign for Immigration Reform in the United States”Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 2-4p.m., Fakultätssaal, Philosophicum (01-185)Ulrike Stedtnitz, doctoral student in the cluster of excellence at the University of Münster, researches “Political Identities and (Civil) Religious Discourse in Latino/a Faith Communities” between the 1980s-2000s. In our lecture series “Religion and Media” she will look at the practice of fasting as a religio-political tool for differentiation and community-building.
Conference at Mainz University, November 19-22
Keynote Speakers: David A. Copeland (Elon University, NC), David Paul Nord (Indiana University,Bloomington, IN), Gisela Mettele (Universität Jena), Candy Gunther Brown (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN)Religion has played a pivotal role in the development of information and print cultures. However, despite the recent rediscovery of religion, relatively few academic studies have focused on religious media themselves. With this conference, we want to address this shortcoming by bringing together scholars working on topics dealing with the religious press and print culture throughout US history. Print matter in form of books, pamphlets, tracts, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines disseminate different positions and thus contribute to the formation of communities as well as to the demarcation between competing worldviews. Print journalism, as a powerful form of communication, has been an influential Instrument in defining news, shaping opinions, and unifying and dividing people. The conference will explore how the study of the religious press can contribute to our understanding of both religions and religious actors, as well as the shaping of culture, politics, and society.We invite scholars working on topics relating to religion, the press, and print culture from across the disciplinary spectrum and at all stages of their careers. The conference is situated within the framework of a project on “Early American Religious Periodicals” led by Professor Oliver Scheiding. It is part of the research project “Un/Doing Differences” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Conference at Mainz University, October 10-12We are happy to announce that the annual young scholars’ conference of the German Association for American Studies, the Postgraduate Forum (PGF), will take place in Mainz this fall, from October 10 to 12, 2014. The conference will at the same time celebrate the PGF’s 25th anniversary! This will be a great opportunity for young scholars working in the field of American Studies who have completed their MA (or equivalent) to meet their peers and/or present their current research projects. Please read the Call for Papers on the PGF Mainz website: http://www.blogs.uni-mainz.de/Pgf2014/
Registration is now open and can be accessed through the website where all additional information will be posted soon.”
“To End Violence against Children: An International Human Rights Imperative”
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 6:15 pm, Georg Forster Gebäude, Room 02-701
Prof. Gertrud Lenzer is professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, and the director of the Children’s Studies Program.
“The Emerging Church Movement and the Quest for a New Evangelical Identity” (German)
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 2-4p.m., Alte Mensa, Hörsaal 11
Sebastian Schüler is Juniorprofessor of religious studies at the University of Leipzig and the author of Religion, Kognition, Evolution: Eine religionswissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit der Cognitive Science of Religion. He has looked at global phenomena like evangelical prayer-rooms and prayer chains and the so-called “emerging church movement.” Highlighting the American stations and connections of the movement he will talk about the “emerging church” and evangelical identity-work.
“My Life as a Humanist: Reading Freud” – VORTRAG ENTFÄLLT!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 6:15 pm, Fakultätssaal
Prof. Steven Marcus is Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Columbia University, New York, USA, and holds an honorary degree awarded by Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. Everybody is welcome!
“Crazy Brave:Intersections of Poetry and Life Writing in Joy Harjo’s Work.”
Wednesday, June 18, 4-6 pm, SB II, 03-144
This talk investigates how Joy Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave (2012) does not only narratively present theautobiographical narrator as the poet to be by highlighting the crucialimportance of art as a means of survival. By incorporating poems as aconstitutive part of the life narrative, the memoir also explores the role of poetry as an archive (not: a reflection) of autobiographical knowledge.Flyer (PDF)
“‘Get Better Together’- Deviotionale Fitness als Medium religiöser Gemeinschaftsbildung.”
Tuesday, June 17, 2-4p.m., Fakultätssaal, Philosophicum
Martin Radermacher, our second speaker in the lecture series “Religion and Media: Evangelicalism in the United States”, is a researcher and doctoral student in the department of Religious Studies at the University of Münster. In his dissertation, he analyses Christian dieting and fitness programs in the United States. Martin gathered data as a participant-observer of various Christian health programs and will present a case study of devotional fitness as a medium for religious community-building.
Die US-amerikanische Bestseller-Autorin Siri Hustvedt setzt sich im Sinne des Life Writing mit ihrer eigenen Körperlichkeit und den biomedizinischen Zugängen zur eigenen Person auseinander und versucht damit, das eigene Schreiben auf biomedizinische Deutungssysteme zurückwirken zu lassen. Carl Djerassi, Biochemiker und Literat, bearbeitet durch das von ihm geprägte Genre “Science in Fiction” die Projektionsfläche, auf der sich Individuum, Lebenswissenschaften und Biomedizin begegnen und erschließt so einen neuen Zugang zum wechselseitigen Verhältnis zwischen dem Leben und den Lebenswissenschaften. Mit der Begegnung dieser beiden herausragenden Persönlichkeiten wird offiziell das neu eingerichtete DFG-Graduiertenkolleg “Life Sciences – Life Writing: Grenzerfahrungen menschlichen Lebens zwischen biomedizinischer Erklärung und lebensweltlicher Erfahrung” eröffnet. Die Sprecher des Kollegs, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Norbert W. Paul und Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee, laden Sie herzlich zu diesem – musikalisch durch den bekannten Cellisten Sonny Thet begleiteten – Abend mit Vorträgen, Lesungen und Gesprächen mit Siri Hustvedt und Carl Djerassi ein.
“Contemporary Native Issues in North America”
Wednesday, June 4, 10-12a.m., SB II, 03-152 (Flyer)
Roger L. Nichols is Emeritus Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. His talk will be part of the seminar “Multi-Ethnic America in Hollywood Film”.
All students and faculty welcome!
“Poetry Reading and Discussion”
Wednesday, June 4, 4-6p.m., SB II, 03-144
Dr. Gwen Nell Westerman (Dakota), poet, scholar and director of the Native American Literature Symposium, reads and talks about her book of poetry Follow the Blackbirds (Michigan State UP, 2013).
Dr. Westerman and Glenn Wasicuna, director of Dakota Studies at Tiospa Tzina Tribal School, also talk about the experience of teaching Dakota culture, language, and ways of life.
“Junot Díaz’s Dark America”
Monday, June 2, 12-2p.m., SR05 (BKM, Kantstraße 2)
Global south’s literature takes possession of what has been dispossessed: taking Quijano and Wallerstein’s idea of Americanity to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Saldívar sees the novel as a response to the planetary realities of of Americanity and suggests that it turns colonial difference into its favor.
At its recent meeting, the Executive Committee of the American Studies Association (ASA) appointed Professor Oliver Scheiding to the International Committee of the ASA until June 2017.
“Artifacts of Unsettlement: (Post)Colonial Liberalism, Biopolitics, and the Settler Imaginary in Australia”
Tuesday, May 27, 6-8pm, Senatssaal (Nat.Fak.)
Episodes of evaluation and adjudication over indigenous identity have a history and a genealogy in the technologies of settler colonial biopolitics. Analyzing the “artifactuality” of such biopolitical imaginaries this talk recounts how mainstream liberalism in the settler colony cannot account for the mode of temporality by which settler subjects imagine their putatively postcolonial nation-state, and how so-called “others” belong within and to it.
The American Studies division is honored to welcome Prof. Zhang Longxi, Chair and Professor of Comparative Literature and Translation at the City University of Hong Kong. Prof. Zhang will be Center for Intercultural Studies (ZIS) visiting professor in the Department of English and Linguistics in May and June 2014. Professor Zhang earned his MA degree from Peking University and his PhD degree from Harvard University. He will present lectures on diverse topics in Mainz and Germersheim. The list of lectures including date, time, and place can be downloaded here
Herrn Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alfred Hornung wurde von der Ministerin für Bildung, Wissenschaft, Weiterbildung und Kultur eine Forschungsprofessur für drei Jahre verliehen. Diese Professur wird sehr selten und nur an ausgewählte Forscherpersönlichkeiten vergeben, die damit für ihre herausragenden wissenschaftlichen Leistungen ausgezeichnet werden. Im Rahmen dieser Forschungsprofessur wird Herr Hornung am DFG-Graduiertenkolleg “Life Sciences, Life Writing: Grenzerfahrungen menschlichen Lebens zwischen biomedizinischer Erklärung und lebensweltlicher Erfahrung“ (GRK 2015/1) und am Aufbau des Obama-Institute for Transnational American Studies mitarbeiten sowie drei Buchprojekte (American Literary Culture, ChinAmerica, Biographie zu Jack London) zum Abschluss bringen.
Media in the 1960s: A Journalism History
The Department of Journalism, Prof. Dr. Karl N. Renner, is offering five places for B.A. American Studies/B.Ed. English Studies students in a block seminar taught by Prof. Thomas J. Hrach, University of Memphis. Credit will be trasnfered by Dr. Frank Obenland; please apply at the office of Prof. Scheiding’s assistant, Anette Vollrath (Email).Information Leaflet (PDF)
Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheiding has declined an offered appointment as W3 Professor of North American Literature and Cultural History at Eberhard-Karls-University, Tübingen.
31.01.2014: Lecture Prof. Paul Arthur, University of Western Sydney
Friday, January 31, 2014, 10.15 – 11.45 a.m., P15
Paul Arthur is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Western Sydney, where he leads the UWS Digital Humanities Research Group. His recent books include Virtual Voyages (2010) and the edited collections International Life Writing: Memory and Identity in Global Context (2013), Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 18 (2012, Deputy General Editor), Recovering Lives (2011) and, with Geoffrey Bolton, the award-winning Voices from the West End (2012).
21.01.2014: Lecture Prof. Shirley Geok-lin Lim, University of California, Santa Barbara
Life Writing and Troubling U.S. Ethnic Identity: Some Intersections of Genre, Gender, Genetics
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 4.15 – 5.45 p.m., P 207
The seminar will map out a few questions rising from readings of U.S. ethnic autobiographies and memoirs, chiefly Asian American and Native American, that bring into intersection issues of genre, gender and genetics (“blood,” natal bonds, race biologism-essentialism) for discussion. These questions will be read through selected passages, beginning with Frank Chin”s theory of autobiography as a Eurocentric genre, interpretations of Maxine Hong Kingston”s memoirs as feminist, and N. Scott Momaday”s The Way to Rainy Mountain as genetically indigenous, to how other ethnic memoirs continue to reproduce these constructions (David Mura, Turning Japanese) or turn away from them (Sui Sin Far, “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian,” Li-Young Lee”s The Winged Seed). Somewhere during this seminar we will address how the logic of transnational discourse has reframed U.S. ethnic life writing.
16.01.2014: Lecture Ian Afflerbach
“A Rose through Concrete: Reading Compton as a Field of Cultural Production in Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”
Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6-8pm, P 2The appointments of rappers 9th Wonder (a fellow at Harvard) or ?uestlove (at NYU) have opened the way for producers and rappers to teach their firsthand experience with rap music to a new generation of listeners and students.We need to get past crude moral judgments and treat it as seriously as we would any other form of cultural production. In other words, we need to learn to read hip-hop albums the way we read novels. This talk provides a model for what this kind of reading can look like. Our goal will be to read the album not just as a “symptom” of social problems, but as both its own poetic accomplishment as well as an historically-conscious text.