News and Events

JGU American Studies News

Winter Term 2014
11.12.2014: Dietz Memorial Lecture with Prof. Gerd Hurm
Gerd HurmThursday, 11.12.2014, 12.15-13.15, Room 00 151, Audi Max 

The Institute for Transnational American Studies (ITAS) and IANAS host this year’s Dietz Memorial lecture. The lecture is given by Prof. Gerd Hurm working for the Center for American Studies at the University of Trier. His lecture is entitled “Transnational American Studies: Rethinking Edward Steichen’s Epochal Photography Exhibition ‘The Family of Man’.”The flyer of the lecture can be downloaded here.

04.12.2014: Guest Lecture Eric J. Sandeen
ericsandeen.medThursday, 04.12.2014, 12.15-13.45, Room 00 161, Audi Max
“The Heart Mountain Relocation Center.”

Between 1942 and 1945 more than 10,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were confined in the Heart Montain Relocation Center in north central Wyoming, the result of Executive Order 9066, authorizing the establishment of military zones along the west coast from which citizens could be excluded for any reason. This Order was applied only to those who wore the face of the Asian enemy; more than 11,000 people, two-thirds of them American citizens, were thus relocated in one of the most egregious (but, at that time, legal) abrogations of civil liberties in U.S. history. Their Wyoming settlement, the third largest town in the state, consisted of more than 450 barracks which, at the end of the war, became the building blocks for homesteading schemes in the area. Barrack fragments still dot this transformed landscape: homes, at different times, to two very different populations of settlers. This talk looks at the history of Heart Mountain, traces the barracks as they become part of a familiar, Western landscape, and discusses the importance of these structures in the interpretation of this nationally significant site.

Flyer (PDF)

19.11.-22.11.2014: International Conference “Religious Press and Print Culture”RelPressConference
Fakultätssaal, Philosophicum (Jakob-Welder Weg 18)
 

Religion has played a pivotal role in the development of information and print cultures in the United States from the colonial period to the present. Print matter in form of books, pamphlets, tracts, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines disseminated different positions and thus contributed to the formation of communities as well as to the demarcation between competing worldviews. While current scholarship focuses on both, the use of public media by religious actors and the portrayal of religion in public media, relatively little attention has been paid to the religious press itself. This conference explores the relationship between religion, the press, and print culture across a wide disciplinary spectrum. It seeks to open new perspectives on religious print matter in the context of colonialism, nationalism, and globalization.The conference is part of the project “Pluralism, Boundary-Making, and Community-Building in North-American Religious Periodicals,” part of the DFG research Group 1939 Un/doing Differences.The conference program can be downloaded here.For more information, please visit the conference homepage:
www.religiouspressconference.uni-mainz.de

03.11.2014: Prof. Axel Schäfer Appointed Professor of American Studies at JGUSchaefer_AxelProf. Dr. Axel R. Schäfer has been appointed to a new professorship in American Studies with a focus on history. Professor Schäfer comes to Johannes Gutenberg University from Keele University in the UK, where he was Professor of American History and Director of the David Bruce Centre for American Studies. In his research, he focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century US intellectual and cultural history, with a particular emphasis on religion and politics, transatlantic social thought, and public policy. He is the author of three monographs: Piety and Public Funding: Evangelicals and the State in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012); Countercultural Conservatives: American Evangelicalism from the Postwar Revival to the New Christian Right (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011); and American Progressives and German Social Reform, 1875-1920: Social Ethics, Moral Control, and the Regulatory State in a Transatlantic Context (Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000). Professor Schäfer has also published numerous journal articles and essays in edited volumes, including a prize-winning essay on W. E. B. Du Bois in the Journal of American History. In his current research he examines the nexus between immigration and welfare state-building in the United States, Britain, and Germany in the decade after World War I.
He is also working on studies that explore the international engagement of American evangelicals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and review the binaries of isolationism/internationalism and realism/idealism that are often ill-suited to describe the range of U.S. foreign policy positions in the period after World War II.
Opening of the International Conference “Obama and Transnational American Studies”
October Auma Obama16, 2014, 3 p.m.
Jakob-Welder-Weg 9 (Rechtswissenschaften), Lecture Hall RW 1

Dr. Auma Obama will be opening the conference on “Obama and Transnational American Studies” with her lecture entitled “You Are Your Future.”
The poster of the lecture can be downloaded here.
For more information, please visit the conference homepage.

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. 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.

A preliminary program of the conference can be downloaded here.

For more informartion, please visit the conference homepage.

978080479080211.07.2014: New Publication: Worlding America, ed. Oliver Scheiding and Martin SeidlWorlding America explores the circulation of short narratives in the early Americas through a combination of neglected primary materials and scholarly commentary. Building on recent reconsiderations of American literature in light of transnational and hemispheric approaches, it follows the migration of stories from various backgrounds and demonstrates how forms and themes developed in a new literary market that spanned the Atlantic world.Flyer (PDF)
annaneumaier15.07.2014: Guest Lecture Anna Neumaier“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.Flyer (PDF)
Amerikanistik-Logo10.07.2014 1st Graduate Student Symposium“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)
Bärbel Harju doc08.07.2014 Guest Lecture Bärbel Harju“’No Sex, no Drugs, but Rock’n’Roll’: Evangelicals, Pop Music, and Identity”Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 2-4p.m., Hörsaal 11, Alte MensaBärbel 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)
Ulrike-Stedtnitz_Foto01.07.2014 Guest Lecture Ulrike Stedtnitz“‘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.Flyer (PDF)
Amerikanistik-LogoReligious Press and Print Culture

Conference at Mainz University, November 19-22

Conference HomepageKeynote 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).
pgf-logoPostgraduate ForumConference 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.”

lenzer25.06.2014: Guest Lecture Prof. Gertrud Lenzer – VORTRAG ENTFÄLLT!

“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.

Flyer

Schüler_Foto 24.06.2014: Guest Lecture Sebastian Schüler

“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.

Flyer (PDF)

Steven_Marcus24.06.2014: Guest Lecture Prof. Steven Marcus
“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!

Flyer

1Amerikanistik-Logo8.06.2014: Guest Lecture Katja Sarkowsky
“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)

Radermacher_Foto17.06.2014: Guest Lecture Martin Radermacher

“‘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.

Flyer (PDF)

bild_GRK17.06.2014: Auftaktveranstaltung DFG-Graduiertenkolleg“Life Sciences – Life Writing”Lesungen, Vorträge, Diskussion mit Siri Hustvedt & Carl DjerassiDienstag, 17. Juni, 18:00 Uhr, Großer Hörsaal Chirurgie (Flyer/Programm)(Gebäude 505, Campus der Universitätsmedizin, Langenbeckstr. 1)

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.

Weiss_Foto10.06.2014: Guest Lecture Jana Weiß“Faith in America: Civil Religion and Billy Graham’s Honor America Day Campaign of 1970″Tuesday, June 10, 2-4p.m., Fakultätssaal, PhilosophicumJana Weiß is the first speaker in our lecture series “Religion and Media: Evangelicalism in the United States”, in which we address the question how religious individuals and communities employ media to define themselves and their communities. Weiß has finished her dissertation on Civil Religion in the United States and is thus an expert when it comes to discussing how Civil Religion is used to create a sense of communal, religious and patriotic belonging.Flyer (PDF)

Nichols_publication04.06.2014: Guest Lecture Roger L. Nichols (Univ. of Arizona)

“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!

Amerikanistik-Logo04.06.2014: Guest Lecture Gwen Nell Westerman & Glenn Wasicuna

“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.

jose saldivar02.06.2014: Guest Lecture José David Saldívar, Stanford University

“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.

Flyer (PDF)

american-studies-association-large27.05.2014: Oliver Scheiding Appointed Member of ASA International Committee

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.

griffiths_pic27.05.2014: Lecture Dr. Michael R. Griffiths, Columbia University

“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.

Flyer (PDF)

longxi_zhang_small21.05.2014: ZIS Guest Professor Zhang Longxi

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

hornung01.04.2014: Research Professorship Awarded to Prof. Alfred Hornung

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.

Amerikanistik-LogoAdditional Seminar (B.A. American Studies, B.Ed. English, B.A.)

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)

Scheiding_neuFebruary 2014: Prof. Scheiding Declines W3 Appointment

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

Digital Humanities

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).

Flyer

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, “€œLeaves 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.

Flyer

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 “€œsymptom”€ of social problems, but as both its own poetic accomplishment as well as an historically-conscious text. 

Announcement Poster (PDF)

14.01.2014: 12 Doctoral Fellowships in Medicine and the HumanitiesAs part of the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded research training group “€œLife Sciences, Life Writing: Experiences at the Boundaries of Human Life between Biomedical Explanation and Lived Experience”€œ (GRK 2015/1), the University of Mainz and the Mainz University Clinic are jointly inviting applications for 12 doctoral fellowships. At the intersection of biomedicine, individual and society, experiences at the boundaries of human life arise which pertain to the entire human life span, from technologically assisted reproduction to end-of-life decisions accompanied by intensive care. These experiences at the boundaries of human life confront both biomedicine and the humanities with the necessity of reassessing their established approaches to problem solving and definitions of agency, and require an interdisciplinary dialogue. Our interdisciplinary research training group provides you with the opportunity to bring your skills and competences to a structured doctoral program based on interdisciplinary dialogue.Detailed Information (German | English)
13.01.2014: Guest Lecture Bernd Herzogenrath“Pluribus | Multitudes: Whitman’s Body | Politic”Monday, January 13, 2014, 6-8 pm, Fakultätssaal (above P4)The vicissitudes of American democracy in the second half of the 19th century are closely linked with the figure of Walt Whitman, the Bard of Democracy. Rather than tracing Whitman”€™s involvement in “€˜actual politics”€™, I will connect Whitman”€™s literary style to a “€˜political style,”€™ see how Whitman envisions a “€˜new democracy,”€™ deriving this concept from his experiments with language.Announcement Poster (PDF)