Seminar für Englische Philologie

Welcome to the North American Studies Program!

NAS SEP Gö People 2017 web2_skaliert

International Conference The American Weird: Ecologies & Geographies, April 12-14, 2018 at the University of Göttingen

For H.P. Lovecraft, the weird conveys "a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe’s utmost rim." Taking its cue from Lovecraft’s enduringly influential conceptualization, this conference examines and broadens the notion of weirdness towards an ecology and geography of the weird as a new field of theoretical and practical resonances. What we call 'The American Weird' comprises not only an aesthetic experience evoked by literary works or films from the genres of the gothic or horror, but also by other forms of cultural expression, such as music, sculpture, photography, and performance art.
Against the backdrop of new ontologies and epistemologies of the weird, it is the goal of this conference to approach the following questions: How can we frame the ecologies and geographies of the weird? Which strands of contemporary critical theory and philosophy have engaged in a dialogue with the discourses of and on the weird, and what is specifically 'American' in 'The American Weird'? If weirdness is supposed to be more than a mere index of parody and/or subversion, how might one conceive of a politics or an ethics of the weird?
These and related questions on The American Weird will be explored in a three-day conference held at the University of Göttingen from April 12-14, 2018. The conference will take place at the Convention Center by the Observatory (Tagungszentrum an der Sternwarte), Geismar Landstr. 11, 37083 Goettingen. Please check this website for further updates.

Andrew Gross and Babette Tischleder at the March of Science in Berlin, April 2017

International Conference Cultures of US-American Conservatism, February 9-12, 2017, University of Göttingen

Conservatism in the United States can seem perplexing from a European perspective. It is also under-theorized in many branches of the humanities, including literary and cultural studies. The international conference Cultures of US-American Conservatism will address both of these problems by bringing together scholars from the social sciences and the humanities to explore US-American conservatism from a cultural perspective. The goal of the conference is to interrogate this orientation by placing the multiplicity of conservative politics in relation to conservative lifestyles, beliefs, attitudes, discourses, markers of taste, media outlets, and social and familial roles.

For further information, please see the conference website

From 'Object of Refuge' to 'Thing Theory 2017': Babette B. Tischleder participated in conferences in Mainz, Dehradun (India), and Philadelphia

Babette B. Tischleder served as chair, panelist, and speaker at three international conferences in December and January 2017:
  • "Objects of Refuge / Refuge of Objects" at the Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 14-17 December 2016, Mainz
  • "Materialities: Objects, Matter, Things" hosted by The Forum on Contemporary Theory, Baroda, Gujarat & the Department of English, Doon University Dehradun, 18-21 December 2016, Dehradun, India
  • Session "Thing Theory 2017" at the 2017 Convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA), 5-8 January 2017, Philadelphia

  • Image01BTObamaHannoverangepasst

    Delegation of North American Studies Students attends Barack Obama's Speech in Hannover

    April 25 started early for a group of students and three faculty members of the English Department, who gathered on a platform in Göttingen at 6 a.m. to take a train to Hannover: The U.S. Consulate had invited a number of North American Studies students to attend Barack Obama's last speech as President of the U.S. on European ground. In his speech, Obama appealed to his audience to believe in a unified Europe, saying "that the United States, and the entire world, needs a strong and prosperous and democratic and united Europe."
    The students from Göttingen were happy to be part of a select audience of just a few hundred people who received a personal invitation to the event. One of our students, Laura Cavallaro, even shook Obama's hand to bid him goodbye. So the three hours of waiting in order to go through security before being admitted to the venue was quickly forgotten - it was well worth it to experience President Obama live. Many thanks to the U.S. Consulate General in Hamburg for the invitation!


    For more photos see here.

    Recent books by our faculty:

    The Pound Reaction

    The Pound Reaction_kleinEzra Pound was confined in a mental institution and facing treason charges when he won the first Bollingen Prize in 1949. Pound's defenders claimed that the prize proved artistic freedom to be alive and well in the United States. Only totalitarian regimes forced artists to tow the party line. The Pound Reaction explores how a number of writers responded to this free speech defense of Pound's poetry. The Pound Reaction was the winner of the European Association of American Studies Rob Kroes Publication Award in 2013.

    Cultures of Obsolescence

    Cover Cultures of Obsolescence_klein Cultures of Obsolescence: History, Materiality, and the Digital Age (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), edited by Babette B. Tischleder and Sarah Wasserman is out now.
    Obsolescence is fundamental to the experience of modernity, not simply one dimension of an economic system. The contributors to this book investigate obsolescence as a historical phenomenon, an aesthetic practice, and an affective mode. Calling attention to the fact that obsolescence can structure everything from the self to the skyscraper, Cultures of Obsolescence asks readers to rethink existing relationships between the old and the new.

    For the table of contents and further infos see the publisher's website; you can download the introduction "Thinking Out of Sync: A Theory of Obsolescence" as sample chapter.

    The Literary Life of Things

    BT_Litlife-xssize Babette B. Tischleder's The Literary Life of Things: Case Studies in American Fiction is out now. Please visit the publisher's webpage: Campus
    International distribution by University of Chicago Press.
    Engaging a great range of American literature from Harriet Beecher Stowe and Edith Wharton to Vladimir Nabokov and Jonathan FranzenThe Literary Life of Things illuminates scenes of animation that disclose the aesthetic, affective, and ethical dimensions of our entanglement with the material world. For more details, please see here.

    Andrew S. Gross Appointed Professor of North American Studies

    We are happy to announce that Andrew S. Gross has been appointed Professor of North American Studies at the English Department of Göttingen University. In the summer term, Prof. Gross will offer the lecture course "A Cultural History of American Literature IV: From 1945 to the Present," and courses on William Faulkner, "The Clash of Civilizations in the Early Republic," and twentieth-century American poetry.
    Prof. Gross is the author of Comedy, Avant-Garde, Scandal: Remembering the Holocaust after the End of History (Winter Verlag, 2010; with Susanne Rohr) and The Pound Reaction: Liberalism and Lyricism in Mid-Century American Literature (forthcoming: Winter Verlag, 2015). His research interests include captivity narratives and the literature of the Early Republic, modernist literature, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry, representations of the Holocaust, representations of terrorism and 9/11, travel narratives, and the history of cultural theory.
    The faculty of the North American Studies section at Göttingen University welcomes Prof. Gross aboard!

    Prof. Babette B. Tischleder: Research at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley

    During the winter term 2014/2015, Babette B. Tischleder was on leave (Forschungssemester): She spent five months as a Fellow of the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago and presented current research in lectures in Chicago and at the Institute for Advanced Study of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In February and March she will conduct research at the University of California, Berkeley. She will give a paper on "Serial Chronotopes: The Cultural Work of Narrative World Building in Contemporary Web and Television Series" at the 3rd International Berkeley Conference on Film & Media: "Serialities 1915/2015".

    Reform: BA and MA degree programs (starting in the fall 2014)

    At the beginning of the winter semester 2014/15, new study regulations for our BA and MA degree programs will be in place. Please click here for further information and also check our website for possible updates. Contact the degree coordinator, Dr. Vanessa Künnemann, in case of further questions.

    Conference "Cultures of Obsolescence in North America: Aesthetics, Materiality, History"

    Obsolescence TVThe conference, hosted by the English Department and the Lichtenberg Kolleg, took place in June 2013 in the Historic Observatory at Göttingen. It started with a keynote by Prof. Bill Brown of the University of Chicago on the topic of "The Obsolescence of the Human." Please see the conference website for pictures and more details.

    Our Degree Programs

    Aula Prospective students interested in our B.A. or M.A. program "North American Studies" can find detailed information on the curriculum, our research, and course offerings in this special section of our website. For individual counseling on the application process, course selections, and career opportunities, please contact Dr. Vanessa Künnemann.