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Critical Regionalism

Edited by Klaus Lösch, Heike Paul, and Meike Zwingenberger

Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2016, 216 pp., ISBN 978-3-8253-6679-7, € 32

Series:  Publikationen der Bayerischen Amerika-Akademie / Publications of the Bavarian American Academy 18

This volumecritical-regionalism presents analyses of cultural practices and literary/visual representations in the larger field of American Studies that apply a critical regionalist approach. Loosely defined as a set of anti-foundational perspectives in the wake of the spatial turn, critical regionalism seeks to investigate apparent regional specificities against the backdrop of local/global trajectories. Taking their cue from urban studies, the essays in this volume inquire about the region as a category of difference (alongside race, gender, class) and as a possibly subversive point of view from which to critique hegemonic spatial (and capitalist) formations.

Topics include an ecocritical analysis of the commodification of bees in the United States (Cheryl Herr), a discussion of multifarious border cultures in the Southwest (Silvia Spitta), an exploration of the role of the regional and the global in the modern women’s movement (Katharina Gerund), a critique of region and class with regard to “rednexploitation” in television culture (Tanja Aho) as well as a critical regionalist account of ruin photography in the United States (Miles Orvell), to name but a few contributions to this volume. All of them seek to re-appraise questions of region(alism) focusing on patterns of affiliation, economic structures, political protest, and/or aesthetic practices.


Amerikanische Fernsehserien der Gegenwart

Edited by Christoph Ernst and Heike Paul

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2015, 348 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-1989-8, € 39,99

Series: Film      Amerikanische Fernsehserien der Gegenwart

“Lost”, “The Wire”, “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “True Blood” usw. – die amerikanischen Fernsehserien der Gegenwart sind thematisch und formal-ästhetisch facettenreich – und haben z.T. geradezu ikonischen Status. Doch was ist wirklich “neu” an den sogenannten “neuen Serien”? Inwiefern sind sie spezifischen kulturellen Schemata (cultural scripts) verpflichtet – und welche kulturelle Arbeit leisten sie bei der Bewältigung von gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen und Krisenerfahrungen?
Dieser Band versammelt deutsch- und englischsprachige Beiträge aus Medienwissenschaft und American Studies, die das Format anhand ausgewählter Beispiele einer medientheoretischen und kulturwissenschaftlichen Reflexion unterziehen.


Rural America

Ed. by Antje Kley and Heike Paul

Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2015, 510 pp., ISBN 978-3-8253-6383-3, € 70

Rural_America“The United States was born in the country”, Richard Hofstadter once wrote, “and remained emotionally attached to it long after it had moved away”, David B. Danbom added in his ‘History of Rural America’. Thus it may be argued that the study of American culture and civilization, first and foremost, needs to make sense of the rural. This multidisciplinary volume focuses on rural America, on areas seemingly apart from the political, economic, and cultural centers of the nation. Despite this apparent marginality, the rural often proves to be constitutive not only of regional but also of other subnational and even national American identities. Putting rurality at the center thus problematizes the well-established dichotomous models of city vs. country. The contributors to this volume address the rural as a mythic construction (e.g. as the American “Heartland” and as the centerpiece of a US pastoral tradition), as a (socio-)economic sector, as an imaginary time-space within American culture, and as the site of specific political, social, and cultural practices with, at times, transnational/global implications. The various perspectives on rural America are drawn from the fields of history, sociology, cultural studies, literary studies, environmental studies, and journalism.


Die amerikanische Reeducation-Politik nach 1945: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf “America’s Germany”

Ed. by Katharina Gerund and Heike Paul

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2015, 306 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-2632-2, € 29,99

Series: Histoire 55

Gerund_Paul_ReeducationDieser Band beleuchtet die amerikanischen Pläne zur Zukunft Deutschlands nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Maßnahmen der Reeducation-Politik, u.a. Amerika-Häuser, Dokumentarfilme, CARE und Schulreformen.
Wissenschaftler_innen aus verschiedenen Disziplinen analysieren amerikanische Perspektiven auf die Deutschen und die Strategien der USA zur Positionierung Deutschlands als junge Demokratie am Beginn einer neuen Zeitrechnung (“Stunde Null”), als Teil einer größeren geopolitischen Konstellation (Europa) und als zunehmend eigenständige Nation im transatlantischen Bündnis (“Kalter Krieg”).
Mit einem Nachwort von Winfried Fluck.


Revealing Tacit Knowledge: Explication and Embodiment

Ed. by Frank Adloff, Katharina Gerund, and David Kaldewey

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2015, 308 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-2516-5, 39,99 €

Series: Präsenz und implizites Wissen

Gerund_Tacit_KnowledgeHow does tacit knowledge inscribe itself into cultural and social practices?
As the established distinction between tacit and explicit or discursive forms of knowledge does not explain this question, the contributions in this volume reconstruct, describe, and analyze the manifold processes by which the tacit reveals itself: They focus, for example, on metaphors, feelings, and visualizations as explications of the tacit as well as on processes of embodiment. Taken together, they demonstrate that the tacit does not constitute a single or unified knowledge complex, but has to be understood in its differentiated and fragmented forms. In addition to scholarly essays, the volume features interviews with Mark Johnson, Theodore Schatzki, and Loïc Wacquant.


The Myths That Made America: An Introduction to American Studies

by Heike Paul

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2014, 456 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-1485-5, € 24,99

Paul_MythsThis essential introduction to American studies examines the core foundational myths upon which the nation is based and which still determine discussions of US-American identities today. These myths include the myth of »discovery,« the Pocahontas myth, the myth of the Promised Land, the myth of the Founding Fathers, the melting pot myth, the myth of the West, and the myth of the self-made man.
The chapters provide extended analyses of each of these myths, using examples from popular culture, literature, memorial culture, school books, and every-day life. Including visual material as well as study questions, this book will be of interest to any student of American studies and will foster an understanding of the United States of America as an imagined community by analyzing the foundational role of myths in the process of nation building.


Präsenz und implizites Wissen: Zur Interdependenz zweier Schlüsselbegriffe der Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften

Ed. by Christoph Ernst and Heike Paul in cooperation with Katharina Gerund and David Kaldewey

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2013, 442 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-1939-3, € 38,80

Series: Präsenz und implizites Wissen

UMS1939PraesenzErnst.inddPräsenz – definiert als zeitliche und räumliche Gegenwart und Unmittelbarkeit – steht in einem Begründungszusammenhang mit implizitem Wissen. Innerhalb der Forschungsdiskussion um Präsenz etabliert der Band einen neuartigen Ansatz, indem er verschiedene Diskursivierungen von Präsenz in Religion, Kunst, Politik, Medien sowie Populärkultur aus dieser Interdependenz heraus zugänglich macht. Die Beiträge verfolgen dabei eine kulturvergleichende Perspektive, die speziell auf die Klärung der Kulturspezifik von Präsenzkonzepten abzielt und neue Möglichkeiten zur Analyse eines bisher wenig beachteten Themas eröffnet.


Transatlantic Cultural Exchange: African American Women’s Art and Activism in West Germany

by Katharina Gerund

Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2013, 316 pp., ISBN 978-3-8376-2273-7, 39,80 €

Series: American Studies

Gerund_TransatlanticFrom Josephine Baker’s performances in the 1920s to the 1970s solidarity campaigns for Angela Davis, from Audre Lorde as »mother« of the Afro-German movement in the 1980s to the literary stardom of 1993 Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Germans have actively engaged with African American women’s art and activism throughout the 20th century. The discursive strategies that have shaped the (West) German reactions to African American women’s social activism and cultural work are examined in this study, which proposes not only a nuanced understanding of “African Americanizations” as a form of cultural exchange but also sheds new light on the role of African American culture for (West) German society, culture, and national identity.


Pirates, Drifters, Fugitives: Figures of Mobility in the US and Beyond

Ed. by Heike Paul, Alexandra Ganser, and Katharina Gerund in cooperation with Stephen Koetzing and Sebastian Schneider

Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2012, 369 pp., ISBN 978-3-8253-6033-7, € 45

Series: American Studies – A Monograph Series 221

Paul_Ganser_Gerund_MobilityFigures of mobility appear prominently in US-foundational narratives of ‘discovery,’ the ‘Puritan errand,’ and westward expansion; the protagonists of these hegemonic tales of settlement and nation-building are (mostly) European travellers, pioneers, and colonists. By contrast, figures such as pirates, drifters, and fugitives are for the most part absent from canonical narratives of new world beginnings and may be considered as expressing/representing alternative mobilities. Their stories and their representations raise questions of legitimacy and legality – often from a transnational perspective – and imply a critique of the American empire and its concomitant domestic discourses of marginalization. Yet, pirates, drifters, and fugitives also appear as ambiguous figures with regard to US-exceptionalist rhetoric: they may tap their subversive potential, while they are also bound to and complicit with the ideologies they seek to expose.
In the context of the so-called New American Studies and the emergent field of Mobility Studies, this volume investigates these figures in a variety of cultural productions (pamphlets, song lyrics, autobiographies, novels, memorials, legal texts, video, television, and film) from the 17th century to the present.


Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto

by Stephen Greenblatt, Ines Zupanov, Reinhard Meyer-Kalkus, Heike Paul, Pal Nyiri, Frederike Pannewick

Cambridge: Cambridge UP,  2009
ISBN (Hb): 9780521863568 ($65), ISBN (Pb): 9780521682206 ($24,99)

Paul_CulturalMobilityCultural Mobility is a blueprint and a model for understanding the patterns of meaning that human societies create. Drawn from a wide range of disciplines, the essays collected here under the distinguished editorial guidance of Stephen Greenblatt share the conviction that cultures, even traditional cultures, are rarely stable or fixed. Radical mobility is not a phenomenon of the twenty-first century alone, but is a key constituent element of human life in virtually all periods. Yet academic accounts of culture tend to operate on exactly the opposite assumption and to celebrate what they imagine to be rooted or whole or undamaged. To grasp the shaping power of colonization, exile, emigration, wandering, contamination, and unexpected, random events, along with the fierce compulsions of greed, longing, and restlessness, cultural analysis needs to operate with a new set of principles. An international group of authors spells out these principles and puts them into practice.


Roads of Her Own: Gendered Space and Mobility in American Women’s Road Narratives, 1970-2000

by Alexandra Ganser

Amsterdam/New York, NY: Rodopi, 2009, 339 pp., ISBN 978-90-420-2552-3, € 68 / US$ 88

Reihe: Spatial Practices 8

Ganser-RoadsReading Jack Kerouac’s classic On the Road through Virginia Woolf’s canonical A Room of One’s Own, the author of this book examines a genre in North American literature which, despite its popularity, has received little attention in literary and cultural criticism: women’s road narratives. The study shows how women’s literature has inscribed itself into the American discourse of the Whitmanesque “open road,” or, more generally, the “freedom of the road.” Women writers have participated in this powerful American myth, yet at the same time also have rejected that myth as fundamentally based on gendered and racial/ethnic hierarchies and power structures, and modified it in the process of writing back to it. The book analyzes stories about female runaways, outlaws, questers, adventurers, kidnappees, biker chicks, travelling saleswomen, and picaras and makes theoretical observations on the debates regarding discourses of spatiality and mobility—debates which have defined the so-called spatial turn in the humanities.
The analytical concept of transdifference is introduced to theorize the dissonant plurality of social and cultural affiliations as well as the narrative tensions produced by such pluralities in order to better understand the textual worlds of women’s multiple belongings as they are present in these writings. Roads of Her Own is thus not only situated in the broader context of a constructivist cultural studies, but also, by discussing narrative mobility under the sign of gender, combines insights from social theory and philosophy, feminist cultural geography, and literary studies.


Screening Gender: Geschlechterszenarien in der gegenwärtigen US-amerikanischen Populärkultur

Ed. by Heike Paul und Alexandra Ganser

Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2008, 256 pp., ISBN 978-3-8258-0598-2, € 29.90

Series: Erlanger Studien zur Anglistik und Amerikanistik 9

PaulGanser-ScreeningGeschlechterrollen und Geschlechterbeziehungen in der gegenwärtigen US-amerikanischen Populärkultur – in Fernsehserien, Filmen, Computerwelten und Literatur – stehen im Mittelpunkt dieses Bandes. Wie haben Dekaden feministischer und gesellschaftspolitischer Debatten das Männer- und Frauenbild in der Populärkultur verändert? Welches Spektrum männlicher und weiblicher Identitätsentwürfe lässt sich in gegenwärtigen populärkulturellen Diskursen ausmachen, und welche Vorstellungen von Partnerschaft, Gemeinschaft und Familie leiten sich davon ab? Sind populärkulturelle Repräsentationen von Geschlecht und Geschlechterdifferenz in ihrer ästhetischen und politischen Dimension als tendenziell subversiv oder affirmativ im Hinblick auf bestehende Strukturen und aktuelle Diskussionen zu bewerten?
Anhand einer Vielzahl von Fallbeispielen, die sich von der Fernsehserie Sex and the City bis hin zu virtuellen Schönheitswettbewerben erstrecken, gehen die Autoren und Autorinnen des Bandes diesen und ähnlichen Fragestellungen nach.