All posts by Henrike Kattoll

Storytelling: Of Geniuses and Maps

By Kai-Arne Zimny

What makes a piece of fiction successful, apart from a good portion of luck? Well, some writers deem the craft of ‘plotting’ essential for creating fiction that goes somewhere, while others prefer to write from the seat of their pants and are likely to dread the prospect of their art being anything less than inspiration, talent, and vision.

Let me introduce you to two writing guides that might offer some perspective on the initial question. First, let’s visit someone who claims that both ‘pantsers’ and plotters are on the wrong track because …

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ISSN for the American Studies Blog

Dear Readers and Contributors, 

Before the new year rolls around, the editors of the American Studies Blog are happy to announce that the ASB now has an ISSN! The National ISSN Center of Germany (part of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt/Main) has awarded us the ISSN 2702-7767. 

This might be especially important for our many contributors who can now list their blog posts as (academic) publications.  

 

Together with the entire ASB team, we wish you a wonderful and healthy New Year!  

Sabrina and Maria 

 

A Holiday Survival Guide

By Henrike Kattoll

The holiday season is a unique time. We go through the full spectrum of emotions within a span of two weeks only. We constantly have to deal with family members and guests; we eat way too much while telling ourselves we’ll be going on a diet next year; and we tend to get overly emotional, especially on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Since it’s such a wonderfully stressful time, I chose three topics to help you through the last few weeks of the year.

 

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A Project Seminar in Times of Covid-19

By Maria Moss

Project seminars are always challenging. Since they involve more work than a traditional seminar, they often attract those types of students who enjoy a good challenge and want to create something lasting. During the summer semester 2020, it was no different. Well, at least during the planning phase. But then Covid-19 hit. Within three weeks, we had to transform our seminar to remote learning. There was much to learn, and the ecocritical project I had envisioned took a major detour into the unknown. Originally, I had planned – as I had done in past semesters – to have students create different projects on campus or in and around Lüneburg, for example guerilla gardening or various installations (for which we often needed the university’s permission). However, during a lock down in which we were only supposed to leave our homes to go to work, the doctor, or the supermarket, I quickly knew that tried-and-true recipes for a successful project seminar would not work. So what could we do?

Well, it wasn’t long after explaining the predicament to my students that they came up with an idea. And a great idea it was.

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An Homage to Diversity: Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth (1991)

By Michaela Keck

Released in 1991, Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth is clearly not an American classic in the sense of belonging to the golden age of Hollywood. As an art film that aims to counter commercial Hollywood films, however, Night on Earth has acquired the status of a classic independent film by now. While the film’s production was comparatively inexpensive, it nevertheless impresses with a top-class cast of actors, including Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Roberto Benigni as well as its reassuringly weird film music by Tom Waits.

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