Approaches to American Cultural Studies provides an accessible yet comprehensive overview of the diverse range of subjects encompassed within American Studies, familiarising students with the history and shape of American Studies as an academic subject as well as its key theories, methods, and concepts.
Written and edited by an international team of authors based primarily in Europe, the book is divided into four thematically-organised sections. The first part delineates the evolution of American Studies over the course of the twentieth century, the second elaborates on how American Studies as a field is positioned within the wider humanities, and the third inspects and deconstructs popular tropes such as myths of the West, the self-made man, Manifest Destiny, and representations of the President of the United States. The fourth part introduces theories of society such as structuralism and deconstruction, queer and transgender theories, border and hemispheric studies, and critical race theory that are particularly influential within American Studies.
This book is supplemented by a companion website offering further material for study (www.routledge.com/cw/dallmann). Specifically designed for use on courses across Europe, it is a clear and engaging introductory text for students of American culture.
Table of Contents
List of contributors. Introduction Antje Dallmann, Eva Boesenberg, and Martin Klepper Part 1: American Studies as a Discipline 1. History of American Studies Matthias Oppermann 2. The Learning and Teaching American Studies Uwe Küchler Part 2: American Studies and Cultural Studies 3. Kulturwissenschaft, British Cultural Studies, American Cultural Studies Christina Wald 4. Visual Culture, Popular Culture Christina Meyer 5. American Studies and/as Cultural Studies Martin Klepper Part 3: Concepts of Nation-Building in American Studies 6. The Myth of the American West, "Manifest Destiny," and the Frontier Michael J. Prince 7. The City and the Country Dorothea Löbbermann 8. Religion and the American Difference Jan Stievermann 9. Politics and Political Institutions Marcel Hartwig 10. The Myth of the American Family Antje Dallmann 11. "From Rags to Riches" and the Self-Made Man Martin Klepper Part 4: Theories in American Studies 12. Post-Marxism, American Studies, and Post-Capitalist Futures Jodi Melamed 13. Structuralism/Deconstruction Simon Strick 14. Psychoanalysis and Beyond Katja Schmieder 15. Social Theories in Cultural Studies Georgina Banita 16. Justice, Ethics, Violence Zusanna Ladyga 17. Feminist Criticism Justine Tally 18. Gender Studies Eva Boesenberg 19. Queer and Transgender Studies Bart Eeckhout 20. Age Studies Philipp Kneis and Antje Dallmann 21. Postcolonialism and American Studies Mita Banerjee 22. Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies Eva Boesenberg 23. Border Studies and Hemispheric Studies Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez. Index.
Antje Dallmann teaches North American literature and culture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and at Leipzig University in Germany. She is the author of ConspiraCity New York (2009) and co-editor of Envisioning American Utopias (2011), Picturing America (2009, both with Reinhard Isensee and Philipp Kneis) and Toward a New Metropolitanism (2006, with Günter H. Lenz and Friedrich Ulfers).
Eva Boesenberg is the author of Money and Gender in the American Novel, 1850–2000 (2010) and Gender – Voice – Vernacular: The Formation of Female Subjectivity in Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker (1999), and co-editor of American Economies (2012, with Martin Klepper and Reinhard Isensee). She teaches North American literature and culture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She
Martin Klepper teaches North American literature and culture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is the author of Pynchon, Auster, DeLillo: Die amerikanische Postmoderne zwischen Spiel und Rekonstruktion (1996) and his latest books include The Discovery of Point of View: Observation and Narration in the American Novel 1790–1910 (2011) and Rethinking Narrative Identity: Persona and Perspective (2013, co-edited with Claudia Holler).
"This immensely readable compendium of essays provides a nuanced and rich introduction to American Studies. Written by European and US scholars with a broad range of literary and cultural expertise and first-hand experience in undergraduate and graduate-level teaching, Approaches to American Cultural Studies does an excellent job of showcasing the diverse themes, methodologies, and theoretical approaches relevant for an understanding of how US culture works, especially from a transnational perspective. It will be a helpful tool for students of American studies at all levels, both within and outside the United States."
Günter Leypoldt, University of Heidelberg, Germany
"The chapters in Approaches to American Cultural Studies range from the general history of American Studies and American Cultural Studies, focused readings through concepts such as religion, the West, and family, to explorations of various cultural expressions via paradigms of structuralism/deconstruction, feminist criticism, psychoanalysis, age studies, to mention some. The book is consequently a very welcome newcomer on the shelves of the discipline, and will contribute significantly to the learning and teaching of American Studies, especially in non-American classrooms."
Lene M. Johannessen, University of Bergen, Norway