Department Xmas


Information on the Department of North American Studies

The Department of North American Studies at the University of Mannheim examines literature, culture and media of the United States.

The thematic range in teaching and research includes the entire American history of literature and culture, the history of mind and culture of the early modern period, the English colonies, especially those of New England, the Enlightenment and the Early Republic throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The focus lies on a future-oriented range of topics, theories and questions, mainly of the 20th and 21st century. Historical texts and processes are put into perspective with regards to changes and continuities in American cultural and literary history. While the United States of America is at the center of the department’s research and teaching, other Anglophone areas in the Americas, particularly the Caribbean and Canada, are also taken into consideration. The transnational scope of the department is complemented by research on the U.S. in relation to Canadian culture and literature.

Another of the department’s focuses lies on the theoretical reflection of literary, cultural, and socio-political processes, including the study of specifically “American” figures of thought and aesthetic positions. The goal is to draw on other fields of research, e.g. in the context of globalization and, on the other hand, basic questions about the position and orientation of the humanities in the context of an increasing scientific explanation of the world. Theoretical models, such as systems theory or cultural studies approaches allow us to put different areas of activity such as economics, law, religion, aesthetics, among others, into relation. One major research project at the moment focuses on the concept of self within the digital age.

Our teaching strives to be inter- and transdisciplinary. On top of more traditional degrees such as Lehramt, B.A. and M.A. programs in English, programs such as "Wirtschaftspädagogik" (business pedagogy) and "Kultur und Wirtschaft" (culture and business / economics) offer new combinations of disciplines. Our department puts great emphasis on the connection between research and teaching; our teaching is informed by our current research and students are encouraged to become involved in ongoing research questions.



The department provides lectures, seminars, and colloquia on American literary and cultural history, literary, cultural and media theory as well as interdisciplinary courses. Classes focus on the study of the American novel, poetry and film from their very beginnings to their most current forms. Special emphasis is given to American cultural history and its status within the development of a 'world culture' in the context of the processes of globalization. Furthermore, the department offers courses on processes of modernization and individualization, on different ethnic formations, their literature and culture, and on media transformations - from the increasing dominance of visual communication to recent phenomena in digital culture. Areas of interest also comprise intersecting dynamics of immigration, art, urbanity, economy and globalization in investigations of local developments, for example in the metropolitan areas of New York City or Los Angeles.


Research Project

Research Areas

-         Posthumanism

-          Transnational American Studies

-          Post/Individuality - American Culture in a Global Context

-          Transformations of Subjectivity in Contemporary Culture

-          Towards a Global Aesthetics

-           Transformations of American 'Knowledge Cultures' and Theories (esp.
            Transcendentalism, Pragmatism, Complexity and Network Theory)

-            Ecocriticism/Ecofeminism

-            Adaptation Studies

-            Popular Culture (TV series, Music, Comics, Video Games)



Tue: 09:00 - 11:30

Wed: 09:00 - 11:30

Thu: 09:00 - 11:30

Graduate Program
Formations of the Global: Globalization and Cultural Studies
(School of the Humanities at the University of Mannheim)


Laboring Bodies & the Quantified Self Conference 2018

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