American Literary and Cultural Studies in Erlangen:
The American Studies Department of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg was the first to be created in Germany; it dates back to 1946, when a Chair for American Cultural History was established. It is now united with English Studies in the Department of English and American Studies.
From the beginning the American Studies Department has been interdisciplinarily oriented: it cooperates with English Studies and a large number of other fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Together with the departments of History, Political Science, Economics, and Theater and Media Studies it offers the interdisciplinary course program "North America Studies."
The department is also part of the North America division of the Central Institute for Area Studies, which promotes research on regional and interregional topics. In cooperation with the other fields it offers an interdisciplinary lecture and conference program (FAUNAC) which featured Homi K. Bhabha, Nancy Fraser, and Nathan Glazer, among others. The American Studies department is linked to the Bavarian American Academy (BAA), which provides a context for cooperation on an inter-university level and supports research on or related to the USA, Canada, and inter-American issues. Members of the department actively participate in the doctoral program (Graduiertenkolleg) "Cultural Hermeneutics: Reflections on Difference and Transdifference," which was established in 2001 by the German Federal Research Fund.
The Department of American Studies deals with North American literatures and cultures from the early colonial period to the present. American Studies in Erlangen encompasses literary history, literary criticism, literary theory, and cultural studies, which includes cultural theory and the analysis of the cultural area of North America (comprising the US, anglophone Canada, and the English-speaking Caribbean). In addition to this regional orientation the department also covers literatures and cultures of the multilingual Caribbean and the Spanish-speaking population in the US, Anglo- and French-Canadian (Québec) interactions, and relations between Latin America and North America.
Special attention is given to the discussion of literary texts and theories within the context of aesthetic, social, political, and cultural developments in American society. The study of ethnic minorities – in particular African-American, Native American, and Latino literatures and cultures – figures prominently in the American Studies program. Other major areas of interest are 19th- and 20th-century American fiction, contemporary poetry, popular culture, intermedia and transatlantic studies.
The American Studies Department offers programs of study leading to B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) degrees in American Literature and Cultural Studies and to the state teacher's examination in American and English Literatures and Language. Apart from the approximately 800 students going for this degree in the winter semester 2002/03, the department counted 373 students (M.A. and B.A.) majoring and minoring in either American Literature or Cultural Studies.
A number of distinguished scholars have taught at the American Studies department in Erlangen through the Fulbright exchange program. The department has also established faculty exchange programs with the Universities of California at Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Irvine.
Exchange programs for students are offered by the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) and the University of Georgia (Athens, GA), among others.
Faculty and Interests:
Dr. des. Alexandra Ganser -
Cultural studies, gender studies, space & mobility studies, ethnic & Native American studies, ecocriticism.
Prof. Dr. Antje Kley -
Contemporary multi-ethnic biography, history & theory of British and American fiction, literary & cultural theory (esp. ethics and aesthetics, poststructuralism and postcolonial theory, feminist theory, gender studies), media history and theory, Caribbean and Canadian literature.
Dr. Klaus Lösch -
Ethnic literatures (especially Native American literature), cultural theory, cultural hermeneutics, multi- and intercultural studies, American Renaissance, 20th-century American fiction.
Prof. Dr. Heike Paul -
Gender studies, African-American studies, American immigrant literature and postcolonial studies, America in German literature and German-American texts, popular culture and Americanization, transatlantic studies and mobility studies.
Dr. Harald Zapf -
Minority studies (especially African-American literature and music), postmodern literature, contemporary American film, popular culture, literary and cultural theory, hybridity, performativity, poetic cultures of the 20th century.
The American Studies Department is located in the center of Erlangen, not far from the train station. You can easily get there by public transport (bus stop "Hindenburgstrasse" of line 288 is right by the main entrance) or on foot (15 minute-walk).