This lecture introduces important developments in US-American literature and popular culture over the past 60 years. Based on a number of selected primary readings, we will cover established literary periods and movements such as the Beat Generation, New Journalism, the Black Arts Movement and the way in which Postmodernism continues and breaks with Modernism in literature; at the same time, we will examine the rise of television, the Civil Rights Movement, the movements of the Counterculture, Feminism, Popular Music, Film and other developments that have shaped American culture since the end of World War II. The lecture is accompanied by an optional but highly recommended discussion class (Übung), in which we will primarily talk about the required readings.

Module: MAIAS A1, other MA programs upon request

This class is an advanced introduction to the theories of culture and literature that are the backbone of textual analysis and reading in literary and cultural studies, including Psychoanalysis, Feminist theory, Queer theory, New Historicism, Postcolonial Theory, and Ecocriticism. We will explore how these theories become productive in a reading of a classic American novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). Please read the novel before the beginning of the semester. Based on the student's needs and expectations, we will select an appropriate textbook as a point of reference throughout the semester. 

Moby-Dick: Literature and Cultural Contact

Modules: AS LIT

In this course, we will read the classic American novel Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851) from a variety of perspectives such as transnational American studies, post-humanist theory, animal studies, and queer theory. Based on close readings, we will move through the novel slowly, chapter by chapter, looking at how the narrative puts pressure on some of the core issues of its cultural moment, including race, national identity, cultural contact, gender, and sexuality. The main objective of the course is to be able to combine theoretically informed close reading skills (textual analysis) with an understanding of the issues that shaped American culture in tension or contact with other cultures. Please purchase a copy of Moby-Dick (Norton Critical Edition, 2nd ed. ISBN 978-0393972832) before our first session.