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    American Studies

    Raphael-Hernandez, Heike, and Pia Wiegmink (eds.).

    German Entanglements in Transatlantic Slavery.

    Routledge 2018.

    Germany has long entertained the notion that the transatlantic slave trade and New World slavery involved only other European players. Countering this premise, this collection re-charts various routes of German participation in, profiteering from, and resistance to transatlantic slavery and its cultural, political, and intellectual reverberations. Exploring how German financiers, missionaries, and immigrant writers made profit from, morally responded to, and fictionalized their encounters with New World slavery, the contributors demonstrate that these various German entanglements with New World slavery revise preconceived ideas that erase German involvements from the history of slavery and the Black Atlantic. Moreover, the collection brings together these German perspectives on slavery with an investigation of German colonial endeavors in Africa, thereby seeking to interrogate historical processes (or fantasies) of empire-building, colonialism, and slavery which, according to public memory, seem to have taken place in isolation from each other. The collection demonstrates that they should be regarded as part and parcel of a narrative that ingrained colonialism and slavery in the German cultural memory and identity to a much larger extent than has been illustrated and admitted so far in general discourses in contemporary Germany.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Atlantic Studies.

    For more information see:

    Blazan, Sladja, and Nigel Hatton (eds.).

    Refugees and/in Literature.

    Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2018.

    LWU Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 2/3.2016. XLIX. Doppelheft.

    S. Blazan / N. Hatton: Introduction: Refugees and / in Literature – K. Neumann: Abandoned in Limbo: The Predicament of Refugees in Renée Brand’s Niemandsland [Short Days Ago] and Herz Bergner’s Zwishn himl un waser [Between Sky and Sea] – N. Hatton: Post-Homeric Odysseys: Reimagining the Fictional Space Between Human Rights Advocates and the Poor, Dehumanized and Uprooted – S. Udayan: Negotiating Home and Belonging: Experiences of Displacement in Paola Pigani’s Venus d’Ailleurs – A. Ganser: Territorialities of Flight: The Refugee Narrative in Edwidge Danticat and Madeleine Thien – C. Deetjen: Growing up Displaced: Refugee Experiences in Anglophone Young Adult Literature about Flight from Afghanistan – S. Blazan: Literature and the Agency of the Refugee – An Analysis of Narrative Structures Employed in Elfriede Jelinek’s Die Schutzbefohlenen and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees – S. Klaas: “We Will Give Him a Family”: Economies of Race and Rescue in the Autobiographies of Young African Refugees – Appenidix: Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees – Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees

    For more information see:

    Balestrini, Nassim Winnie (Universität Graz & CIMIG), and Ina Bergmann (eds.).

    Intermediality, Life Writing, and American Studies. Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

    Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 2018.

    Buchreihe der Anglia / Anglia Book Series 61

    This collection of essays gathers innovative and compelling research on intermedial forms of life writing by an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars. Among their subjects of scrutiny are biographies, memoirs, graphic novels, performances, paratheatricals, musicals, silent films, movies, documentary films, and social media. The volume covers a time frame ranging from the nineteenth century to the immediate present. In addition to a shared focus on theories of intermediality and life writing, the authors apply to their subjects both firmly established and cutting-edge theoretical approaches from Cultural Narratology, Cultural History, Biographical Studies, Social Media Studies, Performance Studies, and Visual Culture Studies. The collection also features interviews with practitioners in biography who have produced monographs, films, and novels.

    For more information see:

    Bergmann, Ina (ed.)

    Special Cluster: Nature, Liminality, and the Short Story

    ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 24:3 (Summer 2017), pp. 477-560.

    Oxford University Press

    From the beginnings of the genre in the United States, nature and liminality have been inextricably linked with the short story. To explore the particularly close intersections of nature, liminality, and the American short story is therefore a productive project. The special cluster “Nature, Liminality, and the Short Story” unravels the usefulness of interdisciplinary approaches for the understanding of literature. The contributions to the cluster probe into the particularly close intersections of the concepts of nature and liminality in the American short story.

    For more information see:

    Bergmann, Ina, and Stefan Hippler (eds.).

    Cultures of Solitude: Loneliness – Limitation – Liberation.

    Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2017.

    This collection of essays comprises cultural analyses of practices of eremitism and reclusiveness in the USA, which are inseparably linked to the American ideals of individualism and freedom. Covering a time frame from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, the essays study cultural products such as novels, poems, plays, songs, paintings, television shows, films, and social media, which represent the costs and benefits of deliberate withdrawal and involuntary isolation from society. Thus, this book offers valuable contributions to contemporary cultural discourses on privacy, surveillance, new technology, pathology, anti-consumerism, simplification, and environmentalism. Solitaries can be read as trailblazers for an alternative future or as symptoms of a pathological society.

    Open access:

    Review in Amerikastudien/American Studies 63.4 (2018)

    Raiford, Leigh (UC Berkeley), and Heike Raphael-Hernandez (eds.).

    Migrating the Black Body. The African Diaspora and Visual Culture.

    University of Washington Press 2017.

    Migrating the Black Body explores how visual media-from painting to photography, from global independent cinema to Hollywood movies, from posters and broadsides to digital media, from public art to graphic novels-has shaped diasporic imaginings of the individual and collective self. How is the travel of black bodies reflected in reciprocal black images? How is blackness forged and remade through diasporic visual encounters and reimagined through revisitations with the past? And how do visual technologies structure the way we see African subjects and subjectivity? This volume brings together an international group of scholars and artists who explore these questions in visual culture for the historical and contemporary African diaspora. Examining subjects as wide-ranging as the appearance of blackamoors in Russian and Swedish imperialist paintings, the appropriation of African and African American liberation images for Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and the role of YouTube videos in establishing connections between Ghana and its international diaspora, these essays investigate routes of migration, both voluntary and forced, stretching across space, place, and time.

    For more information see:

    Gersdorf, Catrin, and Juliane Braun (eds.).

    America After Nature. Democracy, Culture, Environment.

    Heidelberg: Winter Verlag 2016.

    In ‘Democratic Vistas’, a text that responds to the United States’s devastating experiences of the Civil War, Walt Whitman reminds his readers that the nation should continue to find its political ideals and cultural purposes in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” His concept of nature was anchored in the ideas of eighteenth-century natural rights philosophy, but also in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition of nature “in the common sense” as a totality of essences unaltered by human labor and industry.

    Whitman’s contention that nature provides the concepts and ideas at the core of America’s political, cultural, and social structure, and the current critical contention that nature's massive restructuring will not remain without consequences for modern culture(s), offer the conceptual and historical frame for the essays collected in this volume. They all investigate the social, political, ethical and aesthetic questions and controversies that are raised in the study of America in a so-called postnatural world.

    For more information see: https://www.winter-verlag.de/en/detail/978-3-8253-6605-6/Gersdorf_Braun_Eds_America_After_Nature/

    Review in Journal of American Studies 7 (2018)

    Achilles, Jochen, and Ina Bergmann (eds.).

    Liminality and the Short Story: Boundary Crossings in American, Canadian, and British Writing.

    New York: Routledge, 2015.

    Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature.

    This book is a study of the short story, one of the widest taught genres in English literature, from an innovative methodological perspective. Both liminality and the short story are well-researched phenomena, but the combination of both is not frequent. This book discusses the relevance of the concept of liminality for the short story genre and for short story cycles, emphasizing theoretical perspectives, methodological relevance and applicability.

    For more information see:

    Review in Amerikastudien/American Studies 62:2 (2017)

    Review in Journal of the Short Story in English 69 (2017)