All posts by Henrike Kattoll

A Call for 60s-Style Teach-ins on Anti-Racism

By Sabrina Völz

 

Photo Credit: “DSC8902 – The Elephant in the Room” by damienconway30

Let’s start off with a few telling facts: The origin of the word “racism” stems from the French word racisme which appeared during the last decades of the 19th century. In English, however, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “Racism appears to be a word of recent origin, with no citations currently known that would suggest the word was in use prior to the early 20th century.” Now, let that sink in. The people at Webster are also quick to point out that just because the word is “fairly new” doesn’t mean that “the concept of racism did not exist in the distant past.” No wonder we – and with we, I mean all societies – have a problem with racism. So let’s get to the root of it and root it out.

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So much to stream, so little time? Netflix has a solution.

By Kai-Arne Zimny

Whether it’s the mo(u)rning routine of having to leave your beloved bed, or the deviously brilliant book that won’t let you stop turning pages while the digits relentlessly move towards 3 a.m. – there are quite a few occasions where having more time would come in handy.

I’ll spare you any more time-consuming passages of introduction and cut right to the chase:

Netflix is testing a feature that lets users accelerate playback speed up to 1.5 times the normal speed. Ever since the news went viral, Netflix was hit hard with backlashes from a number of moviemakers and actors. Netflix defended the choice by stating it’s been a “heavily requested feature from subscribers.”

It’s impossible for me to validate whether that’s true or not; what we do know is that as of now, Netflix is only testing the feature on a small fraction of their customers and only on Android devices. And even if this were to become a regular feature, as long as Netflix doesn’t force customers to indulge in streaming-quickies, it’s all fine, isn’t it?

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A Changing Mindset: Teaching “A Mown Lawn” by Lydia Davis

By Sabrina Völz

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 (10:47 a.m.)
Lydia Davis (1947- ) is a lover of language and an American writer, probably in that order. She’s best known for her minimalist writing style and works of brevity (short stories, flash fiction, and narratives made up of only a couple of lines). One of my favorite prose poems is “A Mown Lawn.” It is literally one-of-a kind. Well, almost. I think Davis wrote two political pieces, of which “A Mown Lawn” is one. If you aren’t familiar with it, please read it, otherwise this blog might not make sense (see image below).
As some of our loyal readers might recall, my colleague Maria Moss has written several blogs on how to teach poetry, including “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost and Haikus. But I’m not like her. To be honest, I’m somewhat leery of the long faces students often make when they hear the word ‘poetry.’ Determined to give it a try, I prepared a lesson that would hopefully help my students appreciate Davis’s poem, engage with the topics, and think about language – the power of language, or should I say, the lack thereof? Anyway, here are my notes:

12:10 p.m.
Off to class. Let’s see how it goes.
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Can Artists Save Us?

By Jessica Müller

How much do celebrities, influencers, and social media actually impact us? The way we consume media has changed dramatically over the past decade, and while many of these changes come with a multitude of new challenges, social media has also enabled us to communicate on a global scale. Celebrities, influencers, artists and the work they promote and produce directly and indirectly influence our society and our behavior towards our planet.

A while back, rapper Lil Dickey released a song in collaboration with thirty famous artists and celebrities in order to raise awareness for the issue of climate change and the damages it produces. Lil Dickey’s song immediately went viral, and millions of people watched it. But what is this song actually good for? Will it change anything at all?

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Remote Learning with American Studies

By Carolyn Blume, Andreas Hübner, Michaela Keck

With this fifth blog, we are coming to the end or our series on digital teaching tools. We hope that you’ve been inspired by some of the American Studies links ranging from the heart-warming and hilarious antics of humans and animals to the more scholarly posts on Academic Earth.

Make Way for Ducklings by Nancy Schön in Boston Public Garden
Google Lit Trips
By Carolyn Blume

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain

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May 8 – Celebrating the End of World War II as a German

By Kai-Arne Zimny

75 years ago, the world sighed in relief. After six gruesome years and over 70 million lost lives, World War II was finally over. May 8, 1945, marked both the end of a ruthless regime and the war in Europe. The Allied Forces had brought the German Wehrmacht to its knees, and at 11:01 p.m., the war in Europe was officially over. In the U.S. and the UK, the day is celebrated as “Victory in Europe Day,” and for decades, May 8 (and in some cases May 9) has been a holiday in various European countries – but not in Germany. However, for its 75th anniversary, the Day of Liberation has been declared a one-time holiday in Berlin.

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