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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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Keep calm and follow the news

By Joannis Kaliampos

As American studies and foreign language education scholars, we sometimes tend to overlook the vast demand for teachable online resources outside of academia. My work in the transatlantic blended-learning education initiative Teach About U.S. has helped me to establish long-standing relationships with high school teachers and educators in Germany and the United States. Amid the current global health crisis, these teachers are stepping up to support their students and find novel ways to engage them in educational activities while they struggle with ‘the new normal’ during the pandemic.

As schools have been shut down for weeks, many of these colleagues have reached out to us, seeking advice on educational technology and its implementation. All too often, they are pushed to create makeshift solutions as their school servers are overwhelmed with the sudden spike in user demand. Many colleagues have shared their experience of setting up private chat and social media groups to share assignments and educational resources, unsure whether this may violate school and state rules.

With misinformation about the coronavirus on the rise, a historic presidential election campaign in the United States, and the press under attack from different sides, I would like to share some of my favorite student-friendly news media as well as resources on media literacy for primary and secondary school students.

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Unusual Friendships: Interspecies Relationships

By Maria Moss

Photo Credit: “Interspecies Bonding” by Senthi Aathavan

One not so common topic in the broad field of animal studies is the interaction between different animal species. Until recently, any suggestion that interspecies relationships might be based on companionship would have probably met with derision and been dismissed as anthropomorphic illusions. These attitudes, however, are bound to change as research is gradually beginning to erode some boundaries separating Homo sapiens and other animals. If you’re interested (or like your students to get interested in) interspecies communication, these five videos might be the right ones to start out with:

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Human-Animal Studies – The ASB Editors’ Favorite Picks (Part II)

By Maria Moss

Claudine André with a bonobo. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_language#/media/File:Claudine_andre.jpg

When we think about relationships between human animals and non-human animals, we often think of the relationship between guardians and pets. However, there’s so much more to the topic. This week, I’ll continue our series on Digital American Studies by sharing with you some wonderful videos on human-animal studies I found useful for undergraduate classes. Whenever I teach ecocritical theory – for instance my project seminar, “Study & Save: Eco-Critical Theory in Action” – I make sure it always has a practical component. And even in seminars on North American culture, ecocritical topics (e.g. fracking, plastic oceans, deforestation, and loss of species) are always part of the deal.

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