America First and the 4th of July 🗓

The Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies invites you to an original Fourth of July celebration in the spirit of Independence and the legacy of President Barack Obama. Two eminent speakers, Dr. David Sirakov, Director of the Atlantic Academy, and Prof. Philipp Gassert, President of the German Association of American Studies, will focus in their keynotes on transnational aspects of populism and global transformations, including an American note of optimism. Sandwiched in between these lectures are poster presentations by students and faculty of the Obama Institute. Their research projects amply document the multi-ethnic constitution of the United States and the transnational orientation of the American society, paradigmatically embodied in the Obama family. A reception will round off this celebration with toasts to America’s First ideas.

Invitation & Program (PDF)

June 29 – Retrieving the Extinguished: Poems from an Assimilated Jewish American Connecting to her Jewish German Past 🗓

June 29 – Retrieving the Extinguished: Poems from an Assimilated Jewish American Connecting to her Jewish German Past 🗓

Renée Ruderman (Metropolitan State University of Denver)

June 29, 2017, 6 p.m., Fakultätssaal (Philosophicum)

This reading will feature poems from my new collection, “Where She Was Going” as well as poems from my earlier books. These poems are based on sketches and fragments, found in photographs, art, and faint memories.
Renée Ruderman, an Associate Professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado, has two published books, Poems from the Rooms Below (Permanence Press, San Diego, CA, 1995) and Certain Losses, a chapbook (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC, 2004). She has won prizes for her poems, and some of them have appeared in The Bellingham Review, I-70 Review, Borderlands, and the Raleigh Review. Renée taught at Universität Siegen, Germany during a sabbatical in 2009, and she taught a poetry workshop at Palacky University (2013) in the Czech Republic.
Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 4 May 2017: “Culture, Anarchy and the Modern City in John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer”

Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 4 May 2017: “Culture, Anarchy and the Modern City in John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer”

Dr. Michael Collins (University of Kent)

“Culture, Anarchy and the Modern City in John Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer”

In this talk Dr. Collins considers the relationship between cultural traditions that were hostile to city life in the American experience and Dos Passos’ aesthetics of modern urban crowd in Manhattan Transfer. Additionally, he reads Dos Passos through traditions of geometric abstraction, film and left wing politics that helped shape his rewriting of dominant trends in American literary and artistic culture in the 1920s.

SB II, 04-432, Colonel Kleinmann-Weg 2

Thursday, 4th May 2017, 10 c.t. a.m.

(Dr. Collins is visiting Mainz as part of the Erasmus+ Programme and Inter-institutional Agreement)

Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 4 May 2017: “Like Lava in a Coffee Cup: Class and Culture in the American Gilded Age”

Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 4 May 2017: “Like Lava in a Coffee Cup: Class and Culture in the American Gilded Age”

Dr. Michael Collins (University of Kent)

“Like Lava in a Coffee Cup: Class and Culture in the American Gilded Age”

This talk compares the aesthetic responses of two major postbellum authors, the American W.D. Howells and the Cuban José Martí, to the civil disorder and subsequent trial that followed the Haymarket riot in Chicago on May 4th 1886. Using a combination of close readings of Howells’s letters in defence of the Haymarket “anarchists”, his novel A Hazard of New Fortunes and Martí’s reportage of the events for La Nacíon newspaper, Dr. Collins explores the ways in which these two writers respond to the Haymarket affair as symptomatic of a larger crisis of sympathy and sentimental connection in Gilded Age America.

Philosophicum, P 103

Thursday, 4th May 2017 4 p.m. (c.t.)

(Dr. Collins is visiting Mainz as part of the Erasmus+ Programme and Inter-institutional Agreement)

Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 3 May 2017: “Transnationalism and the Short Story”

Guest Lecture by Michael Collins on 3 May 2017: “Transnationalism and the Short Story”

Dr. Michael Collins
(University of Kent)

“Transnationalism and the Short Story”

This lecture challenges a critical consensus about the relationship of the short story to national literary traditions through a reading of works by Benjamin Franklin and James Hogg. Dr. Collins suggests that the reliance upon bardic nationalism in readings of Scottish short fiction, the German folk psychology tradition, and American Studies methodologies have historically misrepresented the centrality of the Atlantic World System and interconnected imperial cultures to the shaping of the form of the short story. In its place he proposes a version of short story criticism informed both by transnationalism and performance studies.

Reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Speech_of_Polly_Baker

Philosophicum, Faktultätssaal Wednesday, 3rd May 2017
6 c.t. p.m.

(Dr. Collins is visiting Mainz as part of the Erasmus+ Programme and Inter-institutional Agreement)

Guest Lecture by Jessica Conrad (University of Delaware) on 3 May 2017: “Polluted Luxuries: Consumer Resistance, the Senses of Horror, and Abolitionist Boycott Literature”

Guest Lecture by Jessica Conrad (University of Delaware) on 3 May 2017: “Polluted Luxuries: Consumer Resistance, the Senses of Horror, and Abolitionist Boycott Literature”

„Polluted Luxuries: Consumer Resistance, the Senses of Horror, and Abolitionist Boycott Literature“

Jessica Conrad – PhD Candidate

University of Delaware

 

Away! ‘tis loathsome! bear me hence!
I cannot feed on human sighs
Or feast with sweets my palate’s sense,
While blood is ‘neath the fair disguise.
No, never let me taste again
Of aught beside the coarsest fare,
Far rather, than my conscience stain,
With the polluted luxuries there.
_”Oh Press Me Not to Taste Again,”

Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, Poetical Works (1836)

 

Polluted luxuries, stained consciences, shuddering senses – these were compelling reasons to abstain from the products of slave labor which, in 1836, at the time of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler’s writing, already proliferated in an expanding American market. Writers such as Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and John Greenleaf Whittier imagined a world of goods haunted by the touch of enslaved laborers – goods which in turn haunted consumers. By parsing out the language of abolitionist boycott literature alongside its historical and material cultural moment, this talk will examine the ways in which abolitionist literature posits a very literal and as yet unaccounted for version of material relations. Those material relations, it seems, collapse the boundaries between consumer and producer, self and other, in ways that have horrific, haunting implications for market society, then and now.

 

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017 – 4 c.t. p.m.

Philosophicum, P 110