The course discusses key concepts of literary and cultural analysis that have been crucial in understanding the specific dynamics of American culture and have been used as paradigms in interdisciplinary American cultural and literary studies. Following an introductory discussion of the concept of culture, the first part will focus on models of American culture and the dialectics between unity and diversity (dimensions of cultural difference): regionalism, melting pot/ethnicity, race/black culture, popular culture/mass culture. The second part will address questions of inter-/transdisciplinary culture studies: American Studies, Women’s Studies/Gender Studies, Multiculturalism/Border Discourses/Postcolonialism. The seminar will be based on a reader of selected texts which will be deposited in our library and can be bought at Copy-Haus, Georgenstrasse/corner Universitätsstrasse at the beginning of the semester.
Requirements: Regular attendance, in-class presentation, short essay.