Curriculum of 2011/2012
Here you will find all relevant information on this year’s curriculum.
- Lecture: American Literature (Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schloss)
- Lecture: Law (Cynthia Wilke, J.D.)
- Interdisciplinary Seminar I: Ethnic Studies/Religious History (Prof. Dr. Jan Stievermann/ Prof. Albert J. Raboteau)
- Interdisciplinary Seminar II: Political Science/Geography (Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gerhard/PD Dr. Martin Thunert)
- MAS Colloquium (Dr. Wilfried Mausbach)
- Methodology I (Daniel Silliman)
- Methodology II (Dr. Anja Schüler)
- Presentation Skills (Millie Baker)
- Berlin Excursion
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schloss/Styles Sass
Lecture: Wednesdays 11:15 – 12:45 (English Department, Kettengasse 12, room 108)
Tutorial: Mondays 14:15 – 15:45 (HCA, Oculus)
For a long time, the fiction writers of the American Renaissance, in particular Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville, were regarded as the 'founders' of a native American prose tradition. This tradition, associated with the term "American romance", was contrasted to the realist tradition of the European novel. While European novelists of the nineteenth century seemed preoccupied with the social universe, the romance writers of the United States appeared to focus on the single individual and the inner drama of the soul. To many critics, the romance tradition exemplified core values of the United States such as democracy, individualism, and dissent; it was also considered to have prepared the path for literary Modernism. Recently, however, the centrality of the American romance writers has been challenged. Critics have drawn attention of the existence of other novelistic traditions such as the sentimental novels of the founding era and the domestic novels of the ante-bellum period. Extremely successful commercially, these sentimental and domestic novels were written mostly by women, for a female readership. Didactic in approach and retaining a societal outlook, they stood in sharp contrast to the non-conformist aesthetics and individualistic vision of the American Renaissance fiction and prepared the way for the novels of the latter decades of the nineteenth century.
This lecture course will acquaint students with a variety of novelistic traditions in the United States from the founding era to the end of the nineteenth century. We will examine the relevant literary philosophies, interpret representative novels, and assess the 'cultural work' they perform. The following works will be discussed in detail: Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette (1797), Charles Brockden Brown, Arthur Mervyn (1799), James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers (1823), Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850), Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (1881); Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1884), and Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1898).
The following novels are required reading: Webster Foster, The Coquette (Norton Anthology of American Literature, ed. Nina Baym, vol. A); Cooper, The Pioneers (Library of America); Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (Norton Anthology, vol. B); Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Norton Critical Edition); Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Norton Critical Edition); Twain, Huck Finn (Norton Anthology, vol. C); Chopin, The Awakening (Norton Anthology, vol. C). Background reading: relevant chapters in Emory Elliott, ed., Columbia Literary History of the United States.
Lecture: "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"
(in cooperation with the Faculty of Law)
Cynthia Wilke, J.D.
Introductory Session on Friday April 20, 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00 (HCA, Stucco)
Lecture: Fridays 11:00-13:00, starting on April 27 (Grabengasse 3-5, Neue Uni / HS 10)
Tutorial: Fridays 14:00-16:00, starting on April 27 (HCA, Stucco)
The goal of this course is for students to acquire a basic understanding of the traditions and concepts fundamental to the U.S. legal system. This will include studying the origins and development of the common law in the United States, as well as comparing and contrasting it with the civil law systems of Western Europe and Latin America. Additional topics will include the importance of case law, the principle of stare decisis in U.S. legal analysis, and the structure and role of the federal and state court systems. Special attention will be paid to the unique procedural aspects of the U.S. legal system, such as the role of the jury and the adversary system of trial. Students will also be provided an overview of legal education and the practice of law in the United States. Several hours will be devoted to an introduction to the U.S. Constitution and to selected topics in U.S. substantive law.
Literature will be provided throughout the course. A complete syllabus will be available in March.
Prof. Dr. Jan Stievermann/ Prof. Albert J. Raboteau (Princeton University)
Organizational meeting on April 20, 10:00 (HCA, Oculus)
Regular seminar sessions from Mai 4 to June 22
Mondays 10:00 -13:00 (HCA, Oculus)
This compact seminar gives students the opportunity to engage with one of the leading experts on African American History who comes to Heidelberg as the first recipient of the James W.C. Pennington Award: Albert J. Raboteau is Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion at Princeton University and has written seminal works on the emergence and development of the black churches and African-derived forms of Christian spirituality in the US. Over the course of this seminar we will cover the crucial moments and central issues in the history of African American religion from the colonial period to the present. Students will be familiarized both with key primary documents and important scholarly approaches in the field.
Please buy and read:
Albert J. Raboteau. Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-19-514585-2.
Interdisciplinary Seminar II: "Creative Cities and Urban Politics in North America: The New Urban Condition for Growth and Shrinkage in Cities"
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gerhard/PD Dr. Martin Thunert
Thursdays 14:15 – 15:45 (HCA, Oculus)
Throughout the last century, cities in North America and elsewhere have experienced different phases of development. After a long and strong growth period due to industrialization, extensive suburbanization processes profoundly changed the urban fabric. This trend still continues, it is superimposed, however, by a trend “back to the city”, the so-called re-urbanization trend described by gentrification, downtown revitalization or waterfront development. A whole lot of scientific and/or popular literature has analyzed these trends, often relating it to the “rise of the creative class” by Richard Florida (2003). Creative people such as artists, designer, journalists but also students and other professionals seem to be the most important group of actors to raise the attractiveness of urban sites. With them, even decaying inner urban areas in US-American cities can gain new strength and will be upgraded to a new shine.
In this interdisciplinary seminar combining insights from the disciplines of urban geography, political studies and sociology , we will discuss re-urbanization trends and their possible consequences for the structure of political power in the U.S., for ethnic and class relations, for the role of large U.S. metropolitan areas as so-called “global cities” etc. from different perspectives. After a brief introductory section on the rise and decline of urban and suburban America in the 20th century, we will look at the creative class in more detail trying to understand, who they are, what they have been and what they can do to the urban composition. Are they really that powerful in changing the urban condition or what other actors can be found? What role do planers, politicians as well as investors play for recent urban developments? Furthermore, the consequences of the observed re-urbanization trends will be discussed. What parts of the city are profiting, which ones are losing grounds, intensifying fragmentation and segregation within the city? These reflections will be embedded in the theoretical debate on urban development, questioning or supporting the myth of creativity as the new urban condition for growth and shrinkage in cities.
Chaired by Dr. Wilfried Mausbach
Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00 (HCA/Oculus – Atrium)
A detailed schedule will be available in early April.
The Interdisciplinary Colloquium provides a venue for MAS students to meet with renowned experts from various fields, such as politics, economics, journalism, or academia. Most of them will be Americans who will share with us their current interests or most recent scholarship. The Interdisciplinary Colloquium will also serve as a forum for the presentation and discussion of state-of-the-art research in academic disciplines that are not otherwise represented in this year’s curriculum. In addition, field trips will acquaint students with political and business leaders from the Rhein-Neckar region.
Thursdays 11:00 - 13:00 (HCA/Oculus)
Thinking about culture - if done with any sophistication, any depth or complexity - also calls for thinking about thinking. American Studies, along with cultural studies and the humanities more generally, is marked by this self-reflexive move, where the study itself is taken as the object of study. In this class, we refocus on the frames for and structures of thinking about culture, rather than on culture itself.
Surveying contemporary critical theory, this class will consider and explore the ideas of the Frankfurt school, deconstruction, post colonialism, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and social constructionism, paying special attention to how that thinking about thinking can be used methodologically in the study of American culture.
A course reader will be made available.
Dr. Anja Schüler
Thursdays 10:00 - 11:00 (HCA/Oculus)
This course offers students practice in writing and evaluating several types of English texts. In particular, it will be dedicated to the process of academic writing, including planning, drafting, editing, and proofreading your class papers and eventually your M.A. thesis. The format of the seminar consists of both whole-class and small-group discussions. I will expect you to share your writings as well as your opinion of the writings of others, students and non-students. At the end of the semester, you should be ready to start conceptualizing, researching and drafting your M.A. thesis. Students are welcome to discuss any questions related to the academic writing process in class.
Block seminar dates:
Group A Group B
Saturday, April 21, 09:00 - 17:00 Saturday, April 28, 09:00 - 17:00 (HCA/Oculus)
Saturday, May 12, 09:00 - 17:00 Saturday, May 19, 09:00 - 17:00 (HCA/Oculus)
This course is a 2 day seminar in which students are encouraged to gain an insight into the subtleties of verbal and non-verbal communication to help get their message across. Students learn how to assess their own presentation strengths and weaknesses and try out new communication strategies where appropriate. Furthermore, this course helps students to develop a critical awareness of their own and each other’s presentation styles; to build on and practice the English phrases of academic presentation; to develop strategies for dealing with unexpected or difficult situations, e.g. answering questions, technical problems, audience hostility; and to develop confidence and enjoyment in public speaking.
Please sign up for one of the groups at the MAS office.
From June 18 to June 22, 2012; detailed schedule to follow.