Teaching Tools

Tips, Tricks, and Tools of the Trade

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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Digital American Studies – The ASB Editors’ Favorite Picks (Part I)

By Sabrina Völz

Credit: “Netiquette1” by Helen DeWaard

Everyone is writing about the shift to digital teaching in wake of the coronavirus crisis. The focus on Twitter and diverse blogs seems to be mainly on how to use various conferencing and digital tools, such as Zoom, Flip Grid, and Padlet. Since both Maria and I live in somewhat rural areas with unbelievably poor internet connections, complete home office is not a possibility for us, and we are wondering how many students will have problems to use tools that require a high-speed internet connection. Those students won’t have the opportunity, though, to make use of university resources as we can. For that reason alone – and we are sure there are many others – most of the advice columns say to keep digital classes simple and synchronous learning limited. We would, therefore, like to offer our readers a few suggestions for the teaching of American Studies that may ease the burden. Why re-create the wheel when you don’t need to?

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Teaching Human-Animal Studies: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Animals are all around us. But what do we actually mean when we say “animal”? We are, of course, also animals: human animals.  

In recent years, animals have entered university life, and  scholars in fields as diverse as art, philosophy, and religious studies approach animals from different angles and methodologies. Animals are to some extent invisible until they enter the realm of the human. Then they become pets, cattle, or laboratory animals.  

Are you curious? Could this subject enrich your teaching curriculum? Then why don’t you join us at Leuphana University from January 23 to 25. For further information, including registration details, see the program.

German American Day – Celebrate 336 Years of German American History

By Sabrina Völz

Photo credit: “Herr und Frau” by Phil Davis NY

Although the United States has greatly impacted politics and popular culture around the world, it should not be forgotten that German immigrants have also influenced American culture since the founding of Germantown, now part of Philadelphia, 336 years ago. October 6, 1683, marks the first German settlement in North America. Instead of celebrating the popular holidays familiar to most students, such as Halloween or Christmas, perhaps it is now more than ever important to remember the close ties between our two nations. I have put together a few ideas for a lesson on German American Day.

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Introduction to Literature: Robert Coover’s “A Sudden Story”

By Sibylle Machat

Introduction to Literature. Fiction. The session on narrative perspectives – something that teachers often love, but first year literature students just as often dread (close to the horrors of metrical feet in poetry). Nevertheless, the syllabus calls for a discussion of either Franz Stanzel’s narrative situations, Gerard Genette’s narration and focalization, or both.

What can we do to make all of this at least a little exciting?

Sibylle Machat’s personal copy of Robert Coover’s “A Sudden Story.” In: Robert Shepard, Ed. Sudden Fiction. American Short-Short Stories. Gibb M. Smith: Layton, 1986.

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American Studies Blog Contest

“pen_mesh_bw” by Sean Biddulph is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As we approach the 5th anniversary of the American Studies Blog (http://blog.asjournal.org/), we decided to celebrate by asking you – our readers – to participate in the joyful occasion of our first blog competition.

Although blogging has changed over the years, it’s still a great platform to voice your ideas and share content with people around the world. Now choose a topic that fits into at least one of three zeitgeisty categories and try your talents:

  • Access America (Popular Culture, History, and Current Events)
  • Best Books & Fabulous Films (Reviews and More)
  • Teaching Tools (Tips, Tricks, and Tools of the Trade)

And remember: The sky’s the limit.

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