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All the Stories That We (Were) Told
Life writ­ing – which includes a wide spec­trum of sub-gen­res such as (auto)biography, mem­oir, let­ter, diary, (dig­i­tal) life sto­ries, and oral his­to­ries – has a long … Continue reading All the Stories That We (Were) Told

Homeschooling and the Pandemic
While her neigh­bors rush down the street to catch the school bus, 14-year-old Lilah Had­den starts her school day at home. After spend­ing the morn­ing on … Continue reading Homeschooling and the Pandemic

How to Break a Bookworm’s Heart
Michael Fass­ben­der, Marisa Tomei, and Alexan­dra Dad­dario: What do these three actors have in common? You may not know all of them, but what you need … Continue reading How to Break a Bookworm’s Heart

A World Where Science and Indigenous Wisdom Collide: Some Food for Thought on Earth Day
Robin Wall Kimmerer’s pres­ence is mag­net­ic. Step­ping out to the podi­um at the 2014 Bioneers Con­fer­ence – an annu­al forum for top­ics like cli­mate change and … Continue reading A World Where Science and Indigenous Wisdom Collide: Some Food for Thought on Earth Day

The Mesmerizing and Alienating Experience Called Mulholland Drive
Have you ever felt like not watch­ing movies for a while just because you saw one that’s so damn good you knew watch­ing any­thing else after … Continue reading The Mesmerizing and Alienating Experience Called Mulholland Drive

Taking Peace for Granted
It’s so easy to take peace for grant­ed, when we have it. In my 2012 book, The Great Game: Berlin-War­saw Express and Oth­er Sto­ries, the char­ac­ter Cal, … Continue reading Taking Peace for Granted

The ‘Woke’ Cinderella Recipe: A Dash of Queerness, a Pinch of Feminism, and a Sprinkling of Fairy Dust
Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Cin­derel­la (Cami­la Cabel­lo). In the 2021 film, she loves to design dress­es and wants to make … Continue reading The ‘Woke’ Cinderella Recipe: A Dash of Queerness, a Pinch of Feminism, and a Sprinkling of Fairy Dust

News Deserts and the Challenge to Democracy
What do Glen­nville, Geor­gia, and Youngstown, Ohio, have in com­mon? The small town in the Deep South and the mid-sized Mid­west­ern city both have lost their … Continue reading News Deserts and the Challenge to Democracy

Teaching Native North America: A Continuing Challenge
Intel­lec­tu­al lega­cies of col­o­niza­tion play a pow­er­ful role in shap­ing how main­stream U.S. and glob­al soci­ety has come to see Native Amer­i­cans. Art­work from the 19th … Continue reading Teaching Native North America: A Continuing Challenge

The Category Is … Making Golden Globe History
Imag­ine win­ning some­thing as pres­ti­gious as a Gold­en Globe. That alone would be a mind-blow­ing accom­plish­ment, right? Now imag­ine snatch­ing a sec­ond, maybe even more note­wor­thy … Continue reading The Category Is … Making Golden Globe History

Setting the Stage for Black History Month
It’s that time of year again. Feb­ru­ary 1 marks the begin­ning of Black His­to­ry Month. Before I sug­gest some use­ful resources, let’s briefly look at its … Continue reading Setting the Stage for Black History Month

Hate Country Music … Why?
Con­fes­sion time: I like coun­try music. And no, I’m not being face­tious. And no, not just the alter­na­tive kind. Gimme a steel gui­tar, a ban­jo, and … Continue reading Hate Country Music … Why?

Free Verse Poetry or “how to play with unseen rackets”
Any­one can write free verse – or so the say­ing goes. Free verse poems are free from lim­i­ta­tions of meter, rhythm, or rhyme – all aspects … Continue reading Free Verse Poetry or “how to play with unseen rackets”

Cancel Field Trips, Cancel Forest Rangers: The Every by Dave Eggers (2021)
Dave Eggers’s best­selling tech dystopia, The Cir­cle (2013), has final­ly received a sequel. While The Cir­cle described the rise of a fic­ti­tious tech and social media … Continue reading Cancel Field Trips, Cancel Forest Rangers: The Every by Dave Eggers (2021)

A Nude Dance
New Year’s Eve is prac­ti­cal­ly upon us once again. Do you always feel guilty for being lazy and not ‘hav­ing fun’ on all the ‘impor­tant’ occa­sions? … Continue reading A Nude Dance

Divided Country, Divided Family
Let’s just stop for a minute and reflect on a polit­i­cal, philo­soph­i­cal, or moral issue you’re wrong about. It ain’t that easy, right? But why not? … Continue reading Divided Country, Divided Family

Santa vs. God – The Final Round
Have you ever won­dered, between dec­o­rat­ing your Christ­mas tree and look­ing for presents, what for God’s sake you’re doing? The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, you’re sup­posed to be prepar­ing for … Continue reading Santa vs. God – The Final Round

Conifer Wood Makes You Feel Good — Christmas Trees in Germany and the U.S.
  O Christ­mas Tree, O Christ­mas Tree, Your boughs can teach a lesson That con­stant faith and hope sublime Lend strength and com­fort through all time. O Christ­mas … Continue reading Conifer Wood Makes You Feel Good — Christmas Trees in Germany and the U.S.

How to Survive Christmas If You’re a Grinch
Every­one has a friend who hates Christ­mas. Guess what? I’m that friend. The first time I told a friend of mine that I dis­like Christ­mas, I … Continue reading How to Survive Christmas If You’re a Grinch

If You Hate Christmas, It’s Because You’re Green … or maybe Blue!
We’ve all watched the movie, and we’ve all agreed on the same sto­ry: he’s the buz­zkill, the bad guy try­ing to ruin Christ­mas. But what if … Continue reading If You Hate Christmas, It’s Because You’re Green … or maybe Blue!

The Ups and Downs of Christmas: How Students Feel about the Season
Writ­ing about Christ­mas is not an easy task. It seems it’s all been said before. And yet, stu­dents in our “Blo­ga­bil­i­ty” sem­i­nar have found diverse ways … Continue reading The Ups and Downs of Christmas: How Students Feel about the Season

Clicks for the Future: Alternative Search Engines Help Students Surf the Web Sustainably
Look­ing out for fea­si­ble, effec­tive, and easy ways to stop cli­mate change has become an impor­tant goal in our dai­ly lives. As one of the least … Continue reading Clicks for the Future: Alternative Search Engines Help Students Surf the Web Sustainably

Role Models: Can Quotas Help Get More Women into Leadership?
Women rep­re­sen­ta­tion on cor­po­rate boards remains a prob­lem in many coun­tries around the world. Yet the intro­duc­tion of quo­tas to address this issue has caused debates … Continue reading Role Models: Can Quotas Help Get More Women into Leadership?

Start Spreading the News: A Cross-Cultural Virtual Newsroom
A vir­tu­al what? asked the per­plexed high-school prin­ci­pal on the oth­er end of the line. I was halfway through my one-minute pitch of the BEST Vir­tu­al … Continue reading Start Spreading the News: A Cross-Cultural Virtual Newsroom

Thanksgiving or I’d Rather Not Be Invited
For Thanks­giv­ing, let’s do with­out turkeys, these beau­ti­ful birds that Ben­jamin Franklin called “true Amer­i­can orig­i­nals.” Well, a lot of good that did them! More than … Continue reading Thanksgiving or I’d Rather Not Be Invited

11 Years of “Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes” at Leuphana University Lüneburg
We are pleased to announce that Dar­i­on Akins, the cur­rent U.S. Con­sul Gen­er­al from Ham­burg, will open our lec­ture series with a talk on “Worth the … Continue reading 11 Years of “Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes” at Leuphana University Lüneburg

Numbers That Make You Think: Public Opinion of the United States is on the Rise
Dear Read­er, What has most sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect­ed your view of the U.S. with­in the last year? Black Lives Mat­ter protests, maybe? Well, they might have changed, … Continue reading Numbers That Make You Think: Public Opinion of the United States is on the Rise

In Memoriam Bobbie Kirkhart
It is with great sor­row that we announce the pass­ing of Bob­bie Kirkhart. Not only has she been my won­der­ful friend of 35 years, she’s also … Continue reading In Memoriam Bobbie Kirkhart

A Government of, by, and for the people?
We Amer­i­cans har­bor a huge dichoto­my in our atti­tudes toward our coun­try. We dis­play our patri­o­tism in bor­der­line chau­vin­is­tic man­ner, play­ing the nation­al anthem before every … Continue reading A Government of, by, and for the people?

Independent Nonprofit, Noncorporate, Noncommercial Global News: Democracy Now! Celebrates 25 Years on the Air
“From New York – this – is Democ­ra­cy Now!” With this icon­ic phrase, Amy Good­man opens each hour-long broadcast. What is an inde­pen­dent, non­prof­it, non­cor­po­rate, non­com­mer­cial … Continue reading Independent Nonprofit, Noncorporate, Noncommercial Global News: Democracy Now! Celebrates 25 Years on the Air

The Texas Heartbeat Bill: Roe vs. Wade under Attack
This year, more abor­tion restric­tions have been put into place across the U.S. than ever before, and it’s get­ting messy. In 2021 alone, state leg­is­la­tures have … Continue reading The Texas Heartbeat Bill: Roe vs. Wade under Attack

Two Albums, a 30th Anniversary, and Some 300 Words of Applause
Do you believe in fate? I like to think I don’t, and yet I always find myself look­ing for how the pieces of real­i­ty fit togeth­er to … Continue reading Two Albums, a 30th Anniversary, and Some 300 Words of Applause

Grammarly Premium Also Works for Advanced EFL Students: Reflections on a Pilot Project at Leuphana
Ok, peo­ple. This is prob­a­bly not going to be the most excit­ing post you’ve ever read, but if you teach at an insti­tute of high­er learn­ing … Continue reading Grammarly Premium Also Works for Advanced EFL Students: Reflections on a Pilot Project at Leuphana

One of the Darkest Days in American History: 11’09”01 (2002)
Sep­tem­ber 11, 2021, marks the 20th anniver­sary of the most hor­ren­dous ter­ror­ist attack on Amer­i­can soil. In a series of four coor­di­nat­ed attacks on the World … Continue reading One of the Darkest Days in American History: 11’09”01 (2002)

“Be Free or Die”: Teaching Harriet (2019)
It’s not easy to make a biopic that pleas­es the crit­ics. And, to some extent, Har­ri­et, direct­ed by Kasi Lem­mons, falls into that cat­e­go­ry. Har­ri­et weaves … Continue reading “Be Free or Die”: Teaching Harriet (2019)

Re-re-recount (and counting)
As the world knows, Don­ald Trump’s 2016 elec­tion to the pres­i­den­cy had healthy assis­tance from Russ­ian bots that, in spite of their non-human cir­cum­stance, knew a … Continue reading Re-re-recount (and counting)

The Reviews Are In: Babylon Berlin Sets the Scene for Unusually Visionary Television, Intercontinentally
Grant­ed, Baby­lon Berlin has at its dis­po­si­tion all the means nec­es­sary to become a true block­buster. But it isn’t every day the view­er gets to expe­ri­ence … Continue reading The Reviews Are In: Babylon Berlin Sets the Scene for Unusually Visionary Television, Intercontinentally

We Sing America
I think it’s like­ly true that the peo­ple of all nations love their patri­ot­ic songs even when they don’t agree with their message. I love Amer­i­can … Continue reading We Sing America

Happy Pride Month!
The month of June com­mem­o­rates a turn­ing point in many coun­tries’ LGBTQ+ his­to­ry. In the U.S., the Stonewall Riots mark this turn­ing point. The Stonewall Inn is a … Continue reading Happy Pride Month!

On Bloomsday, Dublin Comes to Many U.S. Cities or ‘Milly Bloom Also Has a Few Words to Say’
What does the nov­el Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce (1882–1941) have to do with Amer­i­can Stud­ies? The answer is sim­ple: Blooms­day is an annu­al lit­er­ary fes­ti­val … Continue reading On Bloomsday, Dublin Comes to Many U.S. Cities or ‘Milly Bloom Also Has a Few Words to Say’

Call Him by His Name: Rapper Lil Nas X Marks the Spot Where Viral Becomes Substantial
In the dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion age, sen­sa­tion­al­ist head­lines are all around us, all around the clock. To stand out from the gen­er­al noise even for a split sec­ond, … Continue reading Call Him by His Name: Rapper Lil Nas X Marks the Spot Where Viral Becomes Substantial

A Human or Non-Human Companion? The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Every so often, a book comes around by an author you’ve nev­er heard about – although you pride your­self on always fol­low­ing new, entic­ing, and award-win­ning … Continue reading A Human or Non-Human Companion? The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

Happy Belated Birthday, Bob Dylan!
Let’s keep it sim­ple. Bob Dylan, the only singer and song­writer who has won the Nobel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture, turned 80 on May 24th. We would … Continue reading Happy Belated Birthday, Bob Dylan!

Harriet Tubman and the 20-Dollar Bill Controversy
Mere days after Joe Biden was sworn in as Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, the new admin­is­tra­tion announced its inten­tion to put Har­ri­et Tub­man – known … Continue reading Harriet Tubman and the 20-Dollar Bill Controversy

Collaborative Writing – The Final Frontier
If you want to go where no man has gone before, why not try your hand at col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing? The idea is sim­ple: Com­bine var­i­ous types … Continue reading Collaborative Writing – The Final Frontier

Chicana/o Quiz
  In order to cel­e­brate Cin­co de Mayo, the – unfor­tu­nate­ly not offi­cial – hol­i­day of Mex­i­can Amer­i­cans in the Unit­ed States, I’d like you to … Continue reading Chicana/o Quiz

Hemingway
I first read Hem­ing­way at col­lege in 1978, an intro course called Mod­ern Exis­ten­tial Lit­er­a­ture. The Old Man and the Sea was like look­ing at an x‑ray … Continue reading Hemingway

Little Girl
The day start­ed with a cold waft from a freez­ing night in the mid­dle of March, as the warm light from the slow­ly ris­ing sun filled … Continue reading Little Girl

Loving pro Virginia: A Films’ Powerfully Poignant Depiction of a Family’s Longing for Home
“I wan­na move ’em back to the country. I don’t care what they do to us. I won’t raise my fam­i­ly here.” The 2016 art­house film Lov­ing, direct­ed … Continue reading Loving pro Virginia: A Films’ Powerfully Poignant Depiction of a Family’s Longing for Home

505 Hours and 45 Minutes of Comfort in Times of Uncertainty
505 hours and 45 min­utes – that’s how long it takes to watch all of my favorite TV shows. Ever since the first nation­wide lock­down began … Continue reading 505 Hours and 45 Minutes of Comfort in Times of Uncertainty

Meet Doug Emhoff – The First Second Gentleman
Usu­al­ly, the spous­es of vice pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States don’t attract much pub­lic atten­tion. Many Amer­i­cans prob­a­bly can’t even name more than two or three … Continue reading Meet Doug Emhoff – The First Second Gentleman

My Girls, Our Girls, and the Women Before Us
“It is my hon­or to be here, to stand on the shoul­ders of those who came before,” Kamala Har­ris, the first female, the first black, the … Continue reading My Girls, Our Girls, and the Women Before Us

We Were Trumped!
Amer­i­cans do not vote direct­ly for their pres­i­dents. We vote for the peo­ple who will vote for our pres­i­dents. Each state is assigned elec­tors, based part­ly … Continue reading We Were Trumped!

More than Just a Novel: Nic Stone’s Dear Martin
It’s been near­ly 52 years since Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. was assas­si­nat­ed on April 4, 1968. With­out a doubt, he con­tin­ues to inspire new gen­er­a­tions … Continue reading More than Just a Novel: Nic Stone’s Dear Martin

Mundo Overloadus
I am writ­ing this on the first day of a new year that arrived not a nanosec­ond too soon. We need­ed a new year as sore­ly … Continue reading Mundo Overloadus

The Stick Jar: One Tool – Many Uses
Imag­ine the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tion: You want your stu­dents to read out their results, but you are run­ning low on time. Your stu­dents are high­ly moti­vat­ed, and … Continue reading The Stick Jar: One Tool – Many Uses

Storytelling: Of Geniuses and Maps
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 … Continue reading Storytelling: Of Geniuses and Maps

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 … Continue reading ISSN for the American Studies Blog

ASJ Number 70 (2020) is out now!
We’re very hap­py to present this tremen­dous col­lec­tion of arti­cles, edit­ed by Ingrid Gess­ner and Uwe Küch­ler: http://www.asjournal.org/70–2020/  13,653 Total Views,  2 Views Today

A Holiday Survival Guide
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 … Continue reading A Holiday Survival Guide

A Project Seminar in Times of Covid-19
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 … Continue reading A Project Seminar in Times of Covid-19

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

Letters to a Young Writer – Some Practical and Philosophical Advice for Newcomers to the Trade
“Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody.” This is how writ­ing instruc­tor, nov­el­ist, and screen­writer Colum McCann starts his Let­ters to a Young Writer (2017). … Continue reading Letters to a Young Writer – Some Practical and Philosophical Advice for Newcomers to the Trade

Hiding in Plain Sight: Legacies of Colonization in New England and the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower
Ear­ly in Novem­ber 1620, after a rough Atlantic cross­ing of about two months, an aging ship called Mayflower arrived in the coastal waters of what we … Continue reading Hiding in Plain Sight: Legacies of Colonization in New England and the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower

Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes
We’re in our tenth year of Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes    13,849 Total Views,  2 Views Today

“My Goal Would Be To Go Out of Business and Go Back to the Classroom”: An Interview with Nancy Dome
At the din­ner table, on the train, or at work, we wit­ness dis­crim­i­na­to­ry lan­guage or racist remarks from time to time. We often know that we … Continue reading “My Goal Would Be To Go Out of Business and Go Back to the Classroom”: An Interview with Nancy Dome

The Ultimate Election Forecast: More than 5,000 Pollsters Agree – The Next President of the U.S. is ….
The 2020 U.S. elec­tion has peo­ple around the world on the edge of their seats, won­der­ing who will become the next Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. … Continue reading The Ultimate Election Forecast: More than 5,000 Pollsters Agree – The Next President of the U.S. is ….

ASJ Number 69 (2020) is out now!
We’re very hap­py to present this tremen­dous col­lec­tion of arti­cles, edit­ed by Heike Paul, Mar­ti­na Kohl, & Hans-Jür­gen Grabbe: http://asjournal.org/69–2020/

A New Millennium?
Jan­u­ary 1, 2000. Not just a new cen­tu­ry, but a new mil­len­ni­um. Spot­less, for the briefest moment, though far from emp­ty. Arriv­ing so brim­ful of promise … Continue reading A New Millennium?

More Than Just a Blurred Ethnic Identity: Teaching German American Day
It is one of the found­ing myths of “Ger­man Amer­i­cana” that the first migrants from Ger­man-speak­ing ter­ri­to­ries arrived on Octo­ber 6, 1683, on North Amer­i­can soil. … Continue reading More Than Just a Blurred Ethnic Identity: Teaching German American Day

Ira Wagler’s Serial Memoir Broken Roads: Returning to My Amish Father
I know the mon­sters that lurk in the recess­es of the mind and in the dark cor­ners of the heart. I know, because I deal with my … Continue reading Ira Wagler’s Serial Memoir Broken Roads: Returning to My Amish Father

Politics and Religion in a Secular State
It is iron­ic that, as the world’s first sec­u­lar democ­ra­cy hav­ing scorned all state reli­gion, we soon became and have remained, social­ly and polit­i­cal­ly, pre­oc­cu­pied with … Continue reading Politics and Religion in a Secular State

In a trying political climate, look not towards what divides, but what unites Germany and the U.S.: Journalistic Excellence
Are Ger­man-Amer­i­can rela­tions in a crit­i­cal state? If pub­lic opin­ion sur­veys are any­thing to go by, per­haps so – at least accord­ing to Ger­mans. While Amer­i­cans … Continue reading In a trying political climate, look not towards what divides, but what unites Germany and the U.S.: Journalistic Excellence

The Mandalorian
You’ve prob­a­bly already heard that The Man­dalo­ri­an was nom­i­nat­ed for 15 Emmy Awards, includ­ing Out­stand­ing Dra­ma Series and Out­stand­ing Children’s Pro­gram. And even if you weren’t … Continue reading The Mandalorian

The Long March to Justice
When I was five years old, I announced my new dis­cov­ery: “Negroes (the polite term at the time) are bad.” My par­ents tried to cor­rect me, … Continue reading The Long March to Justice

“Writing is how I process things”: An Interview with Miriam Toews
We met Miri­am Toews at a read­ing in Ham­burg on March 26, 2019. Toews was on a book tour to pro­mote the Ger­man trans­la­tion of her … Continue reading “Writing is how I process things”: An Interview with Miriam Toews

How well do you know the United States and Canada? A Quiz
Now that the nation­al hol­i­days of both Cana­da (July 1) and the Unit­ed States (July 4) are upon us, it’s time to check how well you, … Continue reading How well do you know the United States and Canada? A Quiz

2020 Haiku Contest
Just last month, the U.S. Con­sulate Gen­er­al Leipzig orga­nized a Haiku con­test for both high school and uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents. The mot­to for this cre­ative writ­ing chal­lenge … Continue reading 2020 Haiku Contest

Digital Age Ruminations: The U.S. Humanities and Employability Concerns
As any­one who has scanned recent U.S. edu­ca­tion head­lines knows, the human­i­ties face a cri­sis of legit­i­ma­tion amidst a tech-dri­ven econ­o­my in which the mantra of … Continue reading Digital Age Ruminations: The U.S. Humanities and Employability Concerns

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

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

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

Can Artists Save Us?
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 … Continue reading Can Artists Save Us?

Remote Learning with American Studies
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 … Continue reading Remote Learning with American Studies

May 8 – Celebrating the End of World War II as a German
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, … Continue reading May 8 – Celebrating the End of World War II as a German

Keep calm and follow the news
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 … Continue reading Keep calm and follow the news

Unusual Friendships: Interspecies Relationships
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 … Continue reading Unusual Friendships: Interspecies Relationships

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

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

“Do they have traffic lights in Ireland?”
“Do they have traf­fic lights in Ire­land?” This was a naive ques­tion posed to my cousin on a vis­it to the Unit­ed States in the 1980s. … Continue reading “Do they have traffic lights in Ireland?”

“By the Sword We Seek Peace”: The 1620 Massachusetts State Flag and Legacies in 2020
was late in June 2015. I was on a trip through the south­ern Unit­ed States and decid­ed to take a quick detour to explore the area … Continue reading “By the Sword We Seek Peace”: The 1620 Massachusetts State Flag and Legacies in 2020

Sacrifice, Suffrage, and the Struggle for ERA: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020
2020 marks the 100th anniver­sary of the 19th Amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion that grant­ed Amer­i­can women the right to vote. That is cer­tain­ly rea­son to … Continue reading Sacrifice, Suffrage, and the Struggle for ERA: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020

A Gift that Keeps Giving: The American Memorial Library in Berlin
“Today we are lay­ing the cor­ner­stone of the Amer­i­can Memo­r­i­al Library. It is to be open to all who desire to enter and learn what men … Continue reading A Gift that Keeps Giving: The American Memorial Library in Berlin

Dreams Have No Borders: The 8th Indianer/Inuit North American Film Festival
Ask any Native Stud­ies schol­ar in Europe, and they will be well aware of the Euro­pean fas­ci­na­tion with Native peo­ples of North Amer­i­ca – a fas­ci­na­tion … Continue reading Dreams Have No Borders: The 8th Indianer/Inuit North American Film Festival

Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
[Author’s note: This review is spoil­er free.] A year has passed since the events of The Last Jedi (2017). Kylo Ren (Adam Dri­ver) is Supreme Leader of the … Continue reading Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

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, … Continue reading Teaching Human-Animal Studies: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Blue Valentine : Endings, Beginnings, and Nothing in Between
Blue Valen­tine: A Love Sto­ry (2011). That’s what it says on the movie poster. But is this what the movie is real­ly about? A roman­tic, sus­tained, … Continue reading Blue Valentine : Endings, Beginnings, and Nothing in Between

On European Audiences, Workshopping, and His Novel, The Altruists: An Interview with Andrew Ridker
I met author Andrew Rid­ker at the Heine-Haus in Lüneb­urg on Octo­ber 21, 2019. After the inspir­ing evening, he kind­ly agreed to an email inter­view with … Continue reading On European Audiences, Workshopping, and His Novel, The Altruists: An Interview with Andrew Ridker

The Ultimate Christmas Movie Playlist
Ah, Christ­mas! The hol­i­days are around the cor­ner, and this means a com­bi­na­tion of an incred­i­ble amount of deli­cious food (don’t we all love Grandma’s cook­ing?!) … Continue reading The Ultimate Christmas Movie Playlist

Forget What the History Books Say: How David Hasselhoff Broke Down the Berlin Wall
“[This] again proves my the­o­ry that Ger­mans love David Has­sel­hoff,” con­cludes Norm Mac­don­ald on his Sat­ur­day Night Live seg­ment “Week­end Update” in the ear­ly 90s. The … Continue reading Forget What the History Books Say: How David Hasselhoff Broke Down the Berlin Wall

Thanksgiving and the Ambiguity of Memory
It was in the late after­noon on Novem­ber 22, 2018. Even by New Eng­land stan­dards, the weath­er was cold and blus­tery. Out­side of a dor­mi­to­ry at … Continue reading Thanksgiving and the Ambiguity of Memory

ASB 2019 Contest Winner in the Category “Best Books & Fabulous Films”
On behalf of the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog, we would like to extend our sin­cer­est con­grat­u­la­tions to Lau­ren Solomon whose win­ning entry in the cat­e­go­ry “Best Books … Continue reading ASB 2019 Contest Winner in the Category “Best Books & Fabulous Films”

Personal Recollections: The Fall of the Wall Part Two
This week’s installment concludes our series on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Enjoy!   Bobbie Kirkhart, Los Angeles When I was very young, I imag­ined there … Continue reading Personal Recollections: The Fall of the Wall Part Two

Personal Recollections: The Fall of the Wall
Marlena Voigts, Hamburg Nov. 9, 1989: I was lying in bed when I thought I heard the phone ring. The next morn­ing, there was in fact a … Continue reading Personal Recollections: The Fall of the Wall

Remembering the Fall of the Wall
In hon­or of the 30thanniver­sary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog will remem­ber this spec­tac­u­lar event in his­to­ry through the eyes … Continue reading Remembering the Fall of the Wall

ASB 2019 Contest Winner in the Category “Access America”
  On behalf of the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog, we would like to extend our sin­cer­est con­grat­u­la­tions to Pune Kari­mi whose win­ning entry in the 2019 ASB … Continue reading ASB 2019 Contest Winner in the Category “Access America”

Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes 
We’re in our ninth year of Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes– if this lec­ture series were a child, it would be in third grade by now. … Continue reading Maple Leaf & Stars and Stripes 

It’s Campaign Season – So “Keep the Ball Rolling”!
Have you ever heard the expres­sion “keep the ball rolling” and won­dered about its origins? An antecedent of the phrase stems from the British “keep the … Continue reading It’s Campaign Season – So “Keep the Ball Rolling”!

German American Day – Celebrate 336 Years of German American History
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 … Continue reading German American Day – Celebrate 336 Years of German American History

The Allied Museum
There are any num­ber of fea­ture films and doc­u­men­taries about the Cold War, some of which have been shown in numer­ous movie the­aters over the decades. … Continue reading The Allied Museum

Some Things Never Fade
o here I am in famous Mont­martre next to 50 oth­er unknown artists who all do the same thing – draw famous peo­ple. Iron­ic, isn’t it? … Continue reading Some Things Never Fade

Yay! People love her!
Soc­cer star Megan Rapi­noe has a twin sis­ter, but every­one rec­og­nizes that they are fra­ter­nal twins because Megan cer­tain­ly is one of a kind. She’s unique … Continue reading Yay! People love her!

The American Dream Reconsidered: The Outsiders (1967)
14-year-old orphan Pony­boy Cur­tis lives with his old­er broth­ers Dar­ry and Sodapop in a city some­where in Amer­i­ca. They are part of a greas­er gang which … Continue reading The American Dream Reconsidered: The Outsiders (1967)

Apollo 11 – An Alternate Universe
No, this blog post is not about con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries con­nect­ed to the Apol­lo pro­gram, Apol­lo 11, or the moon land­ing. Instead, it is about an alter­nate … Continue reading Apollo 11 – An Alternate Universe

Banking Amish-Style
When my col­leagues and I start­ed this blog, I would have nev­er in a mil­lion years thought I would be writ­ing about a bank. But near­ly … Continue reading Banking Amish-Style

“Memories of Government Springs Park”
Gov­ern­ment Springs Park was once the pride of Enid, Okla­homa. Dur­ing my child­hood, gov­ern­ment was con­sid­ered a good thing, so we often used that full name … Continue reading “Memories of Government Springs Park”

Doom and Decision – The 75th D‑Day Anniversary 2019
    Only a hand­ful of history’s myr­i­ads of dates is uni­ver­sal­ly remem­bered even out­side the domain of aca­d­e­m­ic his­to­ry. June 6, 1944, is one of … Continue reading Doom and Decision – The 75th D‑Day Anniversary 2019

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

American Studies Blog Contest
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 … Continue reading American Studies Blog Contest

The Berlin Blockade
Sev­en­ty years ago, on May 12, 1949, the Berlin Block­ade came to an end. Nowa­days con­sid­ered a cor­ner­stone of the Cold War Era, the block­ade had … Continue reading The Berlin Blockade

Brevity is the Soul of Wit: Whipping up a Flash Fiction Collection
Flash fic­tion is not only a fun and quick read, but also a fun and not-always-so-quick write. The key is to cre­ate a suc­cinct sto­ry – … Continue reading Brevity is the Soul of Wit: Whipping up a Flash Fiction Collection

Teaching the Next Generation – A German Saturday School in the U.S.
It’s Sat­ur­day morn­ing ten after nine. After a half hour dri­ve, my two daugh­ters and I pull into the park­ing lot out­side a school that is … Continue reading Teaching the Next Generation – A German Saturday School in the U.S.

Every Story Tells a Picture or How to Vignette
In the age of social media, it’s the image that rules. Insta­gram is the per­fect exam­ple: It not only feeds some people’s insa­tiable need to doc­u­ment … Continue reading Every Story Tells a Picture or How to Vignette

We Need a Break or We’ll Break or Why to Vignette
  ”Lose your mind and come to your sens­es.” Fritz Perls   In an age of nev­er-end­ing par­al­lel con­ver­sa­tions, screens and sec­ond screens, and an even more … Continue reading We Need a Break or We’ll Break or Why to Vignette

Findians: A Journey to Distant Cousins
In their 2016 book, Fin­ti­aanien Mail­la, three Finnish women take read­ers on a jour­ney into unknown ter­ri­to­ry. Meeri Koutanie­mi (pho­to jour­nal­ist), Maria Sep­pälä (jour­nal­ist and doc­u­men­tary … Continue reading Findians: A Journey to Distant Cousins

An Interview with Award-Winning Author Jayne Anne Phillips
After par­tic­i­pat­ing in an inspir­ing writ­ing work­shop with Jayne Anne Phillips as part of The 15th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on the Short Sto­ry in Eng­lish in Lis­bon … Continue reading An Interview with Award-Winning Author Jayne Anne Phillips

Improving Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
f course the title is face­tious: I cer­tain­ly don’t want to – even if I could, which I can’t – improve one of the best and … Continue reading Improving Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

Thoughts of a Digital Alternative
Since tomor­row is the Nation­al Day of Unplug­ging, we thought it only made sense to relaunch the “Thoughts of a Dig­i­tal Alternative.” Here’s our advice: Use … Continue reading Thoughts of a Digital Alternative

Beyoncé and Jay‑Z at the Louvre: A Timely Reminder of Art Museums’ Racist Past
The Lou­vre is the most famous and most vis­it­ed muse­um in the world. Arguably, it is also the most pres­ti­gious one. So what does it mean … Continue reading Beyoncé and Jay‑Z at the Louvre: A Timely Reminder of Art Museums’ Racist Past

“My only sin is in my skin. What did I do to be so black and blue?”
The dizzy­ing drum beats, bright, float­ing tones of a trum­pet or sax; the thump­ing under­cur­rent of rhyth­mic bass; the live­ly bounc­ing piano – all ener­gized by … Continue reading “My only sin is in my skin. What did I do to be so black and blue?”

Adventure Time – Not Just for Children
It was long after mid­night. I was sit­ting in a fan­cy bar, killing time while wait­ing for my train home. I’d been at Com­ic Con in … Continue reading Adventure Time – Not Just for Children

Arnold Krupat, Changed Forever: American Indian Boarding-School Literature 
The book’s cov­er says it all: It shows Apache stu­dents on their arrival at Carlisle Indi­an School in Penn­syl­va­nia, an off-reser­va­tion school thou­sands of miles away … Continue reading Arnold Krupat, Changed Forever: American Indian Boarding-School Literature 

So, You Wanna Be a Writer?!? Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between – An Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor
Per­haps you’ve toyed with the idea of becom­ing a pro­fes­sion­al writer, or you sim­ply want to indulge in flights of fan­cy that you lat­er com­mit to … Continue reading So, You Wanna Be a Writer?!? Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between – An Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor

Elsewhere: From Interview to Podcast
It’s nev­er too ear­ly to think about the next semes­ter. Per­haps you and your stu­dents would like to try your hand at pod­cast­ing. I have to … Continue reading Elsewhere: From Interview to Podcast

Christmas Traditions in the U.S.
This year, the team of the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog would like to wish you all a very Mer­ry Christ­mas by test­ing your knowl­edge of Christ­mas triv­ia. … Continue reading Christmas Traditions in the U.S.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
As some­one who reg­u­lar­ly teach­es cre­ative non-fic­tion to uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, I’m always look­ing for new mate­r­i­al. Ear­li­er this year, I came across a high­ly acclaimed mem­oir … Continue reading Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Music to Last a Lifetime: The Reissue of The White Album
It was East­er Sun­day 1969 and I was a boy. My par­ents had staged an East­er egg hunt in our gar­den, and I was search­ing beneath … Continue reading Music to Last a Lifetime: The Reissue of The White Album

Two Sides to Every Story – The Affair (2014–19)
Have you ever talked about a past event with some­one who was involved in it and came to a point where you and that some­one didn’t … Continue reading Two Sides to Every Story – The Affair (2014–19)

Democracy American Style
Although the midterm elec­tions are already over, my Ger­man friends are still ask­ing me what they are all about. They say that most Euro­peans don’t under­stand … Continue reading Democracy American Style

Drew Hayden Taylor at Leuphana
From Novem­ber 3 to 5, Cana­di­an Anish­nawbe author and play­wright, Drew Hay­den Tay­lor, will be giv­ing talks in var­i­ous sem­i­nars at Leuphana. Top­ics range from tools … Continue reading Drew Hayden Taylor at Leuphana

In a World Created by an Indigenous God: A Native Writer’s Take on Karl May’s Winnetou
It goes with­out say­ing that the Ger­mans’ unri­valled fas­ci­na­tion with the Native peo­ple of North Amer­i­ca is not exact­ly a well-kept secret. Case in point: the … Continue reading In a World Created by an Indigenous God: A Native Writer’s Take on Karl May’s Winnetou

Aretha Franklin: Freedom, Respect, and the Moral Universe
Pow­er­ful and proud, Aretha Franklin’s music cham­pi­oned the ideas of free­dom and dig­ni­ty, mak­ing her voice an inte­gral part of the Civ­il Rights Move­ment in the … Continue reading Aretha Franklin: Freedom, Respect, and the Moral Universe

BlacKkKlansman: A Much Too American Story
It is an inter­est­ing sit­u­a­tion: a black cop infil­trates the Ku Klux Klan, the most sto­ried white suprema­cist group in the Unit­ed States. How could this … Continue reading BlacKkKlansman: A Much Too American Story

What’s your story? In two sentences or less…
Peo­ple love sto­ries. And appar­ent­ly, they always have. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists sug­gest our yearn­ing for sto­ries is root­ed deeply in the human brain; sup­pos­ed­ly sto­ries even help us … Continue reading What’s your story? In two sentences or less…

National Comedy Center – It’s on THE Map!
When I start­ed out as a teach­ing assis­tant at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty at the ripe old age of twen­ty, I instinc­tive­ly knew I should get to know … Continue reading National Comedy Center – It’s on THE Map!

Outhouse Races, Chocolate-Covered Deep Fried Cheesecake, and the Butter What? Nothing Compares to the Iowa State Fair
When tourists from all over the world plan their vaca­tions to the Unit­ed States, they often stick to tried and true places to vis­it: Nation­al parks, … Continue reading Outhouse Races, Chocolate-Covered Deep Fried Cheesecake, and the Butter What? Nothing Compares to the Iowa State Fair

“When you spot your flower, you can’t let anything get in your way”: Adaptation (2002)
Adap­ta­tion is an oldie but good­ie with an excel­lent cast of char­ac­ters. Screen­writer Char­lie Kauf­man (Nico­las Cage) is sup­posed to write a movie adap­ta­tion of Susan … Continue reading “When you spot your flower, you can’t let anything get in your way”: Adaptation (2002)

Connect-the-Cards: Making Academia Exciting while Fostering Critical Thinking Skills and Meaningful Conversation
Ques­tion and answer. Ques­tion and answer. Ques­tion and answer. And then silence. Last­ing silence. It hap­pens to the best of us. The rou­tine of work­ing with … Continue reading Connect-the-Cards: Making Academia Exciting while Fostering Critical Thinking Skills and Meaningful Conversation

1550 San Remo Drive
This almost Bauhaus-style vil­la, over­look­ing the Pacif­ic Ocean, is locat­ed in beau­ti­ful Pacif­ic Pal­isades, just off Sun­set Blvd. In 2016, it went up for sale – … Continue reading 1550 San Remo Drive

“No, It’s Not Sissy Ball” – In Defense of Soccer
As most of you have prob­a­bly noticed, the Unit­ed States is not among the coun­tries play­ing in the World Cup for the first time in 32 … Continue reading “No, It’s Not Sissy Ball” – In Defense of Soccer

Improv Workshop with Kieron Freigang: The Storytelling Circle
Cat got your tongue? Excus­es, excus­es. In the impro­vi­sa­tion game, “The Sto­ry­telling Cir­cle,” you’ve got to talk—right away and on the spot—whether you want to or … Continue reading Improv Workshop with Kieron Freigang: The Storytelling Circle

Living by the Watch: Stranger Than Fiction
Yes, ok. So the film is twelve years old? It’s fun­ny and clever, and it fea­tures some of the best actors and actress­es Hol­ly­wood has to … Continue reading Living by the Watch: Stranger Than Fiction

“How many years can a mountain exist?” Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights Movement
On the steps of the Lin­coln Memo­r­i­al, Mar­tin Luther King Jr. touched thou­sands of peo­ple with his unfor­get­table “I have a Dream” speech on August 28, … Continue reading “How many years can a mountain exist?” Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights Movement

The “Deep Story” of the White American South, or Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Part II)
After the gen­er­al intro­duc­tion to Hochschild’s trea­tise last week, let us now pur­sue a deep­er analy­sis. The “deep sto­ry” of the Tea Par­ty move­ment in red … Continue reading The “Deep Story” of the White American South, or Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Part II)

The ‘Deep Story’ of the White American South, or Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Part I)
In Jan­u­ary 2017, I lis­tened to an inter­view with UC Berke­ley soci­ol­o­gist Arlie Rus­sell Hochschild on Nation­al Pub­lic Radio about her New York Times best­seller. But … Continue reading The ‘Deep Story’ of the White American South, or Strangers in Their Own Land (2016) by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Part I)

The Many Worlds of Rick and Morty
Imag­ine you get home and see a bunch of your friends, let’s say friends whose taste in films and shows you usu­al­ly trust, watch­ing a show. … Continue reading The Many Worlds of Rick and Morty

Why You Should Read Gerald Vizenor’s Upcoming Novel Native Tributes
  “I write emo­tive sto­ries about Natives who have been absent in history.” (Ger­ald Vizenor, per­son­al interview)   Ger­ald Vizenor’s his­tor­i­cal nov­el, Native Trib­utes, will be … Continue reading Why You Should Read Gerald Vizenor’s Upcoming Novel Native Tributes

Erich Mühsam and the Berlin Idea Factory
Erich Müh­sam (1878–1934) was a Ger­man-Jew­ish anti­mil­i­tarist anar­chist essay­ist, poet, and play­wright. I can check most of those box­es. I tried anar­chy in my 20s; it … Continue reading Erich Mühsam and the Berlin Idea Factory

When the News Was True: The Post
News­pa­pers always make good movies: the dare-dev­il reporter, the over­achiev­ing assis­tant, and the crusty edi­tor up against the pow­er of a dis­hon­est gov­ern­ment. There is won­der­ful … Continue reading When the News Was True: The Post

An Earth-Day-and-World-Book-Day Bloem
Nature doesn’t real­ly care whether there are human beings or not. I’m sor­ry to break this to you. - Mar­garet Atwood I’m not sure what I need to … Continue reading An Earth-Day-and-World-Book-Day Bloem

“Who’s Afraid of a Shower Curtain?” How Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Changed the Movie Industry and our Bathroom Habits
“Give them plea­sure. The same plea­sure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” Alfred Hitch­cock                             A beau­ti­ful blonde woman takes a relax­ing show­er, some­body … Continue reading “Who’s Afraid of a Shower Curtain?” How Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Changed the Movie Industry and our Bathroom Habits

Cozy Horror – Stranger Things
The title font, rem­i­nis­cent of 1980s hor­ror-thriller nov­els, buzzes over the flat screen TV or lap­top mon­i­tor to the eeri­ly pul­sat­ing beat of elec­tron­ic music. We … Continue reading Cozy Horror – Stranger Things

If You’re a Star…
 “If you’re a star, they’ll let you do it,” Don­ald Trump explained in his boast­ful account of casu­al assault on women. This rant, known as the … Continue reading If You’re a Star…

Hidden Figures: A Highly Entertaining Film that Means Well but Doesn’t Quite Add Up
As many of you might know, Hid­den Fig­ures (2016) is a biopic direct­ed by Theodore Melfi based on Mar­got Lee Shetterly’s pop­u­lar his­to­ry book and New … Continue reading Hidden Figures: A Highly Entertaining Film that Means Well but Doesn’t Quite Add Up

How the “Ping” Was Heard Round the World
Dur­ing the spring of 1971, 19-year-old Amer­i­can table ten­nis play­er, Glenn Cow­an, wrapped up his train­ing ses­sion in Nagoya (Japan) in order to pre­pare for the … Continue reading How the “Ping” Was Heard Round the World

English Lesson 2.0
For most stu­dents, expo­sure to the Eng­lish lan­guage is large­ly restrict­ed to the chalky class­room and – out­side the class­room – to watch­ing movies or series … Continue reading English Lesson 2.0

Archie Reloaded – Riverdale
“Our sto­ry is about a town. A small town. And the peo­ple who live in that town” are the first words we hear on Riverdale (2017 … Continue reading Archie Reloaded – Riverdale

Under Dark Skies: A Review Essay
On Fri­day, Octo­ber 16, our group of five – two mas­ter stu­dents, three bach­e­lor stu­dents, and I – set out from the Insti­tute of Eng­lish and … Continue reading Under Dark Skies: A Review Essay

Star Wars – The Last Jedi: No Light without Darkness?
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” The bright blue let­ters appear on the big black screen. Rev­er­ent silence fills the movie the­ater. Maybe … Continue reading Star Wars – The Last Jedi: No Light without Darkness?

A New Public Hanging? Sam Durant’s Scaffold
In 2017, just five years after a Min­neso­ta art exhi­bi­tion marked the 150th anniver­sary of the 1862 hang­ing of 38 Dako­ta Sioux men at Manka­to, that … Continue reading A New Public Hanging? Sam Durant’s Scaffold

The Most Romantic Night of the Year?
On Octo­ber 28, the Hall­mark Chan­nel launched its annu­al “Count­down to Christ­mas.” Dur­ing the eight weeks before Christ­mas, the chan­nel will broad­cast 21 orig­i­nal movies that … Continue reading The Most Romantic Night of the Year?

The Pursuit of (Un)happiness
BoJack Horse­man (voice by Will Arnett) is a long-faced, washed-up Hol­ly­wood star whose career end­ed two decades ago, along with his Nineties sit­com, Horsin’ Around. Since … Continue reading The Pursuit of (Un)happiness

Tweet Me a Story:
Twiction – The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

One week before Christ­mas and no gift in sight? Allow me to assist you out of your plight For who real­ly wants one more thought­less gift? Doomed to … Continue reading Tweet Me a Story:
Twiction – The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

From Comma-kazi to Comma-Sutra: Or You Too Can Learn to Love Commas
Gram­mar doesn’t tend to be a top­ic that stu­dents are enthused about. When­ev­er I men­tion it, many of my stu­dents roll their eyes. To real­ly get … Continue reading From Comma-kazi to Comma-Sutra: Or You Too Can Learn to Love Commas

Topping off Thanksgiving Traditions: Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
Thanks­giv­ing is a day for spend­ing time with fam­i­ly and friends as well as shar­ing culi­nary delights, such as turkey, dress­ing (a Mid-West­ern word for stuff­ing), … Continue reading Topping off Thanksgiving Traditions: Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

American Hustle
“As far as I could see, peo­ple were always con­ning each oth­er to get what they want­ed. We even con our­selves. We talk our­selves into things. … Continue reading American Hustle

Love no more? Catalonia and Spain
CADAQUÉS, Cat­alo­nia, Spain – Dis­patch from Spain’s Cold Civ­il War. Speak­er of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill once said, “All pol­i­tics are local.” In today’s world, no … Continue reading Love no more? Catalonia and Spain

Sexual Harassment in the 21st Century – Really?
If it wasn’t enough that Amer­i­can TV icon and edu­ca­tor Bill Cos­by was accused of sex­u­al assault, rape, and bat­tery – to name a few of … Continue reading Sexual Harassment in the 21st Century – Really?

Escaping Fundamentalism: An Interview with Charlene L. Edge (Part II)
After last week’s intro­duc­tion to the seduc­tive pow­er of the fun­da­men­tal­ist cult “The Way Inter­na­tion­al” and the prac­tice of speak­ing in tongues, in this install­ment, read­ers … Continue reading Escaping Fundamentalism: An Interview with Charlene L. Edge (Part II)

Escaping Fundamentalism: An Interview with Charlene L. Edge (Part I)
In her award-win­ning book Under­tow, Char­lene Edge dis­sects her past as a long-time mem­ber of one of the largest fun­da­men­tal­ist cults in the Unit­ed States, “The … Continue reading Escaping Fundamentalism: An Interview with Charlene L. Edge (Part I)

Beatriz at Dinner: Comedy, Tragedy, Portrait?
We first see Beat­riz (Salma Hayek) going through morn­ing chores, feed­ing her dogs, and light­ing a can­dle for deceased loved ones, includ­ing her dead goat. She’s … Continue reading Beatriz at Dinner: Comedy, Tragedy, Portrait?

Teaching Feminism
All teach­ers remem­ber moments when they were caught off guard in front of a group of stu­dents. I remem­ber a few years ago, in a class … Continue reading Teaching Feminism

9/11 – The Only Plane in the Sky
The attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter as well as the Pen­ta­gon in Sep­tem­ber 2001, dubbed 9/11, were a major news event. As is the case … Continue reading 9/11 – The Only Plane in the Sky

Look Homeward, Amish Son: Ira Wagler’s Journey between Amish and “English” Worlds
What is it like to grow up in an Old Order Amish com­mu­ni­ty? Can the allure of tra­di­tion and a sense of belong­ing to such a … Continue reading Look Homeward, Amish Son: Ira Wagler’s Journey between Amish and “English” Worlds

Safety First!
Many of you might remem­ber Kate Winslet and Leonar­do DiCaprio togeth­er on the big screen, sur­round­ed by water and ice. While “Rose” whis­pers last words of … Continue reading Safety First!

Mary Kay and Johnny – America’s First TV Sitcom
For the past decades, sit­coms have been omnipresent in our every­day lives. On TV, in mag­a­zines, or on the Inter­net – it’s hard to escape the … Continue reading Mary Kay and Johnny – America’s First TV Sitcom

Winnetou Rides Again
After a dozen trips or more to Deutsch­land, I can offi­cial­ly say I con­sid­er Ger­many to be my home away from home. Each vis­it reunites me … Continue reading Winnetou Rides Again

Watch and Write! Writing the TV Drama Series
  “To cre­ate a tele­vi­sion show out of thin air, with­out any­body pay­ing you, requires a cer­tain amount of delu­sion, and that’s tak­en me very far.” Matt Wein­er, … Continue reading Watch and Write! Writing the TV Drama Series

Lessons not Learned
There is a won­der­ful spot west of the city of Frank­furt in Ger­many. It’s in an area well known for its excel­lent white wine, its charm­ing … Continue reading Lessons not Learned

Transgenerational Transmission of Holocaust Memories and Survival: An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Ethan Bensinger (Part II)
The fol­low­ing is the sec­ond part of an inter­view with film direc­tor Ethan Bensinger in which he answers ques­tions about the chal­lenges of mak­ing his prize-win­ning … Continue reading Transgenerational Transmission of Holocaust Memories and Survival: An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Ethan Bensinger (Part II)

Transgenerational Transmission of Holocaust Memories and Survival: An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Ethan Bensinger (Part I)
When I first invit­ed film direc­tor Ethan Bensinger to come to Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty Lüneb­urg, I knew that 2015 would be a spe­cial year for Holo­caust com­mem­o­ra­tion. … Continue reading Transgenerational Transmission of Holocaust Memories and Survival: An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Ethan Bensinger (Part I)

Clap & Freeze: A Recipe for Instant Drama
ook­ing for a quick-paced impromp­tu improv game? How about a round of “Clap & Freeze” – a fun-filled game for hon­ing your ver­bal and non-ver­bal act­ing … Continue reading Clap & Freeze: A Recipe for Instant Drama

AWP: In Love with Words, at a Loss for Words
Writ­ers are a spe­cial breed. Con­stant­ly shift­ing through their per­cep­tion of the envi­ron­ment with detailed atten­tion, they store and ana­lyze any piece of infor­ma­tion on the … Continue reading AWP: In Love with Words, at a Loss for Words

Hiking in the Anthropocene
This past fall, my trav­els and work oblig­a­tions had me fly into Cal­gary. I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend five addi­tion­al days in spots I con­sid­er … Continue reading Hiking in the Anthropocene

Literature Circles Rock!
As we all know, more and more adults are read­ing less and less in their free time. That’s not a judg­ment, just a fact. Bud­ding book­worms … Continue reading Literature Circles Rock!

A New National Holiday – A Riddle
By all rights, I should be a nation­al hol­i­day in the Unit­ed States. I am not as polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect as Colum­bus Day which Native Amer­i­cans are … Continue reading A New National Holiday – A Riddle

School Ties
It’s 1955. David Greene (Bren­dan Fras­er), a Jew­ish boy from a work­ing class fam­i­ly, leaves his home, the indus­tri­al city of Scran­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, to go to … Continue reading School Ties

Writing Life: From Theory to Practice
Story­telling is as old as human civ­i­liza­tion itself and ful­fills a human need. In soci­eties, in which edu­ca­tion is becom­ing more com­mod­i­fied, stu­dents do not only … Continue reading Writing Life: From Theory to Practice

White Robes, Silver Screens: An Interview with Tom Rice (Part 2)
In this sec­tion of the inter­view, Tom Rice talks more about his book, the sym­bol­ism sur­round­ing the Klan, and the rumors about the Klan’s alleged con­nec­tion … Continue reading White Robes, Silver Screens: An Interview with Tom Rice (Part 2)

White Robes, Silver Screens: An Interview with Tom Rice
Tom Rice is Senior Lec­tur­er in Film Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of St Andrews and the author of White Robes, Sil­ver Screens: Movies and the Mak­ing … Continue reading White Robes, Silver Screens: An Interview with Tom Rice

Do you really want to live Forever?
Dr. Hen­ry Mor­gan (Ioan Gruffudd) is British, works as a med­ical exam­in­er for the New York Police Depart­ment, and likes scarves and clas­si­cal music. Oh, he … Continue reading Do you really want to live Forever?

The Arrival of the Aliens
The lim­its of my language mean the limits of my world. - Lud­wig Wittgenstein   Does time only flow in a con­tin­u­um? Does a sen­tence have to … Continue reading The Arrival of the Aliens

Don Don’t Take No Mess: Don Cornelius and His Very Own Soul Train Mission
  Brown:        Broth­er, who’s backin’ you                       on this? Cor­nelius:   James, it’s just me. Brown:        Broth­er, who’re you with … Continue reading Don Don’t Take No Mess: Don Cornelius and His Very Own Soul Train Mission

Voting Rights: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
After yet anoth­er elec­tion sea­son with a num­ber of glitch­es, the prob­lems with America’s vot­ing sys­tem have been all over the news once again. Will the … Continue reading Voting Rights: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

From Ronald to Donald: The Inaugural Speeches of Reagan and Trump
“Make Amer­i­ca Great Again.” Again. Despite what the media cov­er­age lead us to fear, the world did not end with the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as … Continue reading From Ronald to Donald: The Inaugural Speeches of Reagan and Trump

Eye of the Storm
His­to­ry nev­er crawls or walks. It runs. Some­times silent­ly as if on the soft­er sands of time. Some­times we can hear its foot­steps loud­er as they … Continue reading Eye of the Storm

Salvage
Tommy’s par­ents wave from the porch as our mini­van pulls up. His dad smiles, and that’s when I see he’s miss­ing about half of his teeth. Before … Continue reading Salvage

The ‘D’ Word
Recent­ly, I read a high­ly acclaimed nov­el writ­ten by Lisa Gen­o­va, a Ph.D. in neu­ro­science. Her first book, Still Alice (2009), chron­i­cles the descent into Alzheimer’s … Continue reading The ‘D’ Word

Reconciliation with the Dakota Sioux in Mankato
Every­one read­ing this blog has seen mon­u­ments to his­tor­i­cal events or nation­al heroes. But how many of you have seen a memo­r­i­al to a mass hang­ing? … Continue reading Reconciliation with the Dakota Sioux in Mankato

Reindeer Games (2000): A Review
If the film Rein­deer Games doesn’t ring a bell – a Christ­mas bell – it’s not sur­pris­ing. This isn’t the kind of film that would inspire … Continue reading Reindeer Games (2000): A Review

How to Haiku Part Two
A long jour­ney ends when farm­ers grab their rifles wolves in Germany   Remem­ber the Haiku rules from last week? If not, check here. As opposed to … Continue reading How to Haiku Part Two

How to Haiku
I final­ly know why stu­dents don’t like Haikus too many syllables Ooops, some­thing went wrong – right: the last line. It has 6 syl­la­bles but should con­sist … Continue reading How to Haiku

Getting to Know You
y uni­ver­si­ty school days – at least on the stu­dent side of the desk – are two decades past now, but I dare­say this sto­ry is … Continue reading Getting to Know You

The Road
Sev­er­al years after a cat­a­stroph­ic event has destroyed all of America’s – and maybe the whole world’s – flo­ra and fau­na, a father (Vig­go Mortensen) and … Continue reading The Road

Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir: A Review
The 1990s rang in an – if not the – era of mem­oir writ­ing. Since then, mem­oir pub­li­ca­tions have surged and with them their read­er­ship as … Continue reading Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir: A Review

Laughing about Melissa McCarthy – Thoughts of a Conflicted Fan
Ever since I saw her as Sook­ie St. James in Gilmore Girls (2000–2007), I’ve been a fan of the actress Melis­sa McCarthy. She was one of … Continue reading Laughing about Melissa McCarthy – Thoughts of a Conflicted Fan

To Boldly Go
Okay, I am going to have to out myself here see­ing that it’s the 50th anniver­sary. I am a trekkie! I grew up with Cap­tain Kirk, … Continue reading To Boldly Go

Walking on Cape Cod
Cape Cod has been on my list of trav­el des­ti­na­tions for quite some time. What con­nects me to the Cape’s out­er­most beach­es of Mass­a­chu­setts are Hen­ry … Continue reading Walking on Cape Cod

Adding Color to White Marble: The National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Nation­al Muse­um of African Amer­i­can His­to­ry and Cul­ture (NMAAHC), estab­lished by an Act of Con­gress in 2003, opened its doors to the pub­lic on Sept. … Continue reading Adding Color to White Marble: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Following Convention (or Political Mathematics)
The polit­i­cal par­ties spend count­less hours plan­ning their con­ven­tions. This is, after all, four nights of free adver­tis­ing and their first chance to intro­duce their can­di­dates … Continue reading Following Convention (or Political Mathematics)

Eyes Open – Eyes Closed
Even if I am not able to remem­ber the pit­ter-pat­ter of my lit­tle feet on the rug-cov­ered hard­wood floor any­more, I still recall this com­fort­able feel­ing … Continue reading Eyes Open – Eyes Closed

The Last Tycoon: The Golden Age of Hitler’s Hollywood
olly­wood, 1936: Mon­roe Stahr (Matt Bomer), co-founder of the Brady Amer­i­can film stu­dio, has just begun shoot­ing a film about – and ded­i­cat­ed to – his … Continue reading The Last Tycoon: The Golden Age of Hitler’s Hollywood

Memorial Service
Recent­ly, I attend­ed a memo­r­i­al ser­vice for an old friend. Peg had led a long and accom­plished life before her final years of excru­ci­at­ing pain and … Continue reading Memorial Service

This is a (M)ad Men’s World
1960: Don­ald Drap­er (Jon Hamm) holds a high posi­tion in a renowned New York adver­tis­ing agency, has an ex-mod­el wife he calls “Betts” (Jan­u­ary Jones), two … Continue reading This is a (M)ad Men’s World

New World vs. Old World Flipped
As an Amer­i­can writer liv­ing in Ger­many, I care deeply for both coun­tries. It is a strange time to do so, as pow­ers-that-be in Ger­many and … Continue reading New World vs. Old World Flipped

Art meets Life: An Interview with Ex-Amish Author Saloma Miller Furlong – Part II
In the sec­ond half of the inter­view, we turn our atten­tion to Salo­ma Miller Furlong’s Bon­net Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two World (2014), the … Continue reading Art meets Life: An Interview with Ex-Amish Author Saloma Miller Furlong – Part II

Art meets Life: An Interview with Ex-Amish Author Saloma Miller Furlong
Salo­ma Miller Fur­long is author of the ex-Amish ser­i­al mem­oirs, Why I Left the Amish (2011) and Bon­net Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds … Continue reading Art meets Life: An Interview with Ex-Amish Author Saloma Miller Furlong

Dust
Dust. The first thing he noticed was the hot, dry air and the dust creep­ing through the tiny slit between his mask and pali scarf. He … Continue reading Dust

“In the Hands of Babes”
At fam­i­ly gath­er­ings, my sis­ter likes to tell the sto­ry of a time when the men and boys in her fam­i­ly were going out tar­get shoot­ing. … Continue reading “In the Hands of Babes”

Grave New World: The Man in the High Castle
It’s no sur­prise that the adver­tise­ment cam­paign done in late 2015 for a then upcom­ing Ama­zon Stu­dios’ series was con­sid­ered a provo­ca­tion and had to be … Continue reading Grave New World: The Man in the High Castle

Live Long and Make Bannock
A mil­lion years ago when I was a child, I was always fas­ci­nat­ed by what could be. I think this was pri­mar­i­ly because I was sur­round­ed … Continue reading Live Long and Make Bannock

Nothing New on the Western Frontier
Even though in folk­lore the term revenant stands for a being that has returned from the dead, the recent award-win­ning movie The Revenant (2015), direct­ed by … Continue reading Nothing New on the Western Frontier

Many are Called …
We’re in the mid­dle of the pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, elec­tions that deter­mine the del­e­gates to the par­ty con­ven­tions as well as the plat­form and the even­tu­al nom­i­nee … Continue reading Many are Called …

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know: A Mixed Bag of Questions for Ira Wagler – Part II
If you missed the pre­vi­ous blog, then click here. Last week, we left off with Ira Wagler talk­ing about the dif­fi­cul­ty of writ­ing Grow­ing Up Amish. … Continue reading Inquisitive Minds Want to Know: A Mixed Bag of Questions for Ira Wagler – Part II

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know: A Mixed Bag of Questions for Ira Wagler – Part I
Ques­tions. Ques­tions. There are always ques­tions, espe­cial­ly when deal­ing with the Old Order Amish. And ques­tions there were – plen­ty of ques­tions – fol­low­ing The New … Continue reading Inquisitive Minds Want to Know: A Mixed Bag of Questions for Ira Wagler – Part I

Welche language habla twój voisin?
hen I walk through my home­town, what do I hear? Traf­fic nois­es, the sounds of nature, ani­mals hum­ming, bark­ing, and chirp­ing. And of course, I hear … Continue reading Welche language habla twój voisin?

Damsels Causing Distress
Yes, you read cor­rect­ly. I got the title right. You were prob­a­bly expect­ing ‘Damsels in Dis­tress’ so let’s look at that clas­sic theme in lit­er­a­ture first. … Continue reading Damsels Causing Distress

Gone Girl
“What are you think­ing? How are you feel­ing? Who are you? What have we done to each oth­er? What will we do?” Boy los­es girl — what … Continue reading Gone Girl

Celebrating African American History Month with Claytee White
Clay­tee White, Inau­gur­al Direc­tor of the Oral His­to­ry Research Cen­ter for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Neva­da, Las Vegas Libraries, spon­ta­neous­ly grant­ed us an inter­view about the col­lec­tion … Continue reading Celebrating African American History Month with Claytee White

The Oscars – Not in Color This Year
There’s always sus­pense at the Oscars, but this year edge-of-the-seat ten­sion will be greater than it has ever been. There is inter­est, of course, in who … Continue reading The Oscars – Not in Color This Year

Midnight in Paris: Somewhen, Somewhere, Someway
Gil Pen­der (Owen Wil­son) is a suc­cess­ful Hol­ly­wood screen­writer, lives in Bev­er­ly Hills, and has a beau­ti­ful fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams). And yet, life feels a … Continue reading Midnight in Paris: Somewhen, Somewhere, Someway

The U.S.A. – A Country You Think You Know But Just Might Not
In his first speech as Pres­i­dent-elect of the Unit­ed States, Sen­a­tor Barack Oba­ma uttered the famous words which became the sound­bite echoed across the world: “Change has … Continue reading The U.S.A. – A Country You Think You Know But Just Might Not

“Art comes out of desire in the face of indifference”: An Interview with lê thi diem thúy
By Maryann Henck, Maria Moss, and Sab­ri­na Völz When lê thi diem thúy (pro­nounced “twee”) vis­it­ed Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty this past May, not only did our stu­dents have … Continue reading “Art comes out of desire in the face of indifference”: An Interview with lê thi diem thúy

What German Students Taught an American Author
If it were up to me, Amer­i­can high school and col­lege stu­dents would spend a manda­to­ry year liv­ing abroad before a degree of any kind is … Continue reading What German Students Taught an American Author

Reversing the Gaze
– Injun Joe Meets Esperanza

I wrote this piece for a sem­i­nar called “Revers­ing the Gaze.” The idea was to write about dif­fer­ence and the chal­leng­ing of stereo­types, so I tried … Continue reading Reversing the Gaze
– Injun Joe Meets Esperanza

“Music is the axe for the
frozen sea within us”

The Amer­i­can jazz queen, Melody Gar­dot, is still eager to explore the world around her, but her focus has changed and been nar­rowed down to her … Continue reading “Music is the axe for the
frozen sea within us”

Opting Out of a Test and into a Movement
Imag­ine a child that does not show up on exam day or shows up and refus­es to take the exam. The child is not rep­ri­mand­ed by … Continue reading Opting Out of a Test and into a Movement

We’ve Got Steampunk
You’ve nev­er heard of it? Seri­ous­ly? This sub­cul­ture – which has every­thing from music, fash­ion, and lit­er­a­ture to LARPs (live action role plays), con­ven­tions and even … Continue reading We’ve Got Steampunk

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Must Not Fail
On the occa­sion of the Stop TTIP demon­stra­tion with 250,000 pro­tes­tors in Berlin on Octo­ber 10, 2015, Pres­i­dent Mario Ohoven of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Small and … Continue reading Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Must Not Fail

Nature’s Craft: The Aesthetics and Design of The Great Camps of the Adirondacks
“An Adiron­dack camp does not mean a can­vas tent or a bark wig­wam, but a per­ma­nent sum­mer home where the for­tu­nate own­ers assem­ble for sev­er­al weeks … Continue reading Nature’s Craft: The Aesthetics and Design of The Great Camps of the Adirondacks

Linking Teacher Training and New Media: The Teaching America Project Revisited
A year and a half has passed since the Teach­ing Amer­i­ca project at Leipzig University’s Amer­i­can Stud­ies Depart­ment has entered the prac­ti­cal phase, and a lot … Continue reading Linking Teacher Training and New Media: The Teaching America Project Revisited

An Encounter at Canyon de Chelly
It was a clear and sun­ny day in ear­ly April when we arrived with a stu­dent group at Canyon de Chelly (pro­nounced dəˈʃeɪ/ or də·shā′). We had … Continue reading An Encounter at Canyon de Chelly

If it’s Tuesday, it Must be Cold War Again
“May you live in inter­est­ing times.” Many Amer­i­cans com­ing to Europe are lured by the romance: foun­tains in Rome, cafés in Paris, Span­ish gui­tars, the cool vibes … Continue reading If it’s Tuesday, it Must be Cold War Again

The Son-in-Law
A flut­ter of anx­i­ety shook Mina as she heard her hus­band Majid and their son-in-law Don­ald in the back­yard, talk­ing in not quite agree­able tones. “Stop, … Continue reading The Son-in-Law

Like Father, Like Son
Rand Paul emu­lates his father in almost every way. Almost. :: Ron Paul is a physi­cian; Rand Paul is a physician. :: Dad was in the … Continue reading Like Father, Like Son

The Confederate Flag Controversy
Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog: Pro­fes­sor Gold­field, in 2013 you pub­lished a wide­ly acclaimed book, Still Fight­ing the Civ­il War: The Amer­i­can South and South­ern His­to­ry. Even the … Continue reading The Confederate Flag Controversy

The “It’s Not What You Might Think” Blog—Part II
For those of you who missed Part I, click here. Last week, we left off with Cheryl Strayed’s long descrip­tion of her­self.… It all seems to … Continue reading The “It’s Not What You Might Think” Blog—Part II

The “It’s Not What You Might Think” Blog—Part I
After hear­ing that the trav­el­ogue Wild by Cheryl Strayed was made into a movie, I thought about pick­ing up a copy of the book and inves­ti­gat­ing … Continue reading The “It’s Not What You Might Think” Blog—Part I

The Chameleon: W. C. Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow”
Study­ing poet­ry at school or at uni­ver­si­ty often seemed bor­ing at best and sense­less at worst. Until last fall semes­ter, it had nev­er occurred to me … Continue reading The Chameleon: W. C. Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow”

GOP Candidates Go Double Digits – A Problem or a Blessing in Disguise?
Before we get to our top­ic at hand, let’s get out that Karaoke mic and get ready to sing a song to the tune of “Ten … Continue reading GOP Candidates Go Double Digits – A Problem or a Blessing in Disguise?

The Woman in the Pants Suit
Hillary Clin­ton is a strong, prag­mat­ic politi­cian. Mod­er­ate­ly hawk­ish, she cast a mean­ing­less vote to sup­port the Iraq War, which she now regrets—though she still pro­claims … Continue reading The Woman in the Pants Suit

Where are they going? Where have they been? – The Plain People
The scene is July 4, 2012. 8:56 p.m. Ira Wagler sends an e‑mail halfway across the world, answer­ing an inquiry from a uni­ver­si­ty instruc­tor in Ger­many … Continue reading Where are they going? Where have they been? – The Plain People

Wandering Home:
Folk, Americana, and Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen Broth­ers have made it their mis­sion to tell us an Amer­i­can sto­ry. Not the Amer­i­can sto­ry but rather a sin­gu­lar and some­times beau­ti­ful story. In … Continue reading Wandering Home:
Folk, Americana, and Inside Llewyn Davis

Cheerleading – More Than Pom-Poms and a Big Smile?
If images of blonde girls shak­ing their pom-poms and yelling at foot­ball games pop into your mind when you hear the word “cheer­lead­ing,” then you might … Continue reading Cheerleading – More Than Pom-Poms and a Big Smile?

Hi, my name is Wolfram and I am a Dropbox user.
Drop­box is awe­some. It is not only a great tool for stu­dents to orga­nize the flood of doc­u­ments that pile up while doing group work, but it is also great for teach­ers. If you are not a … Continue reading Hi, my name is Wolfram and I am a Dropbox user.

From Spring Fever Ad Nauseam to Columbus Day
I might be preach­ing to the choir here, but every­one knows that teach­ers are pressed for time. And I am sure you are, too. Recent­ly, I … Continue reading From Spring Fever Ad Nauseam to Columbus Day

Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home
Direc­tor Ethan Bensinger’s Refuge: Sto­ries of the Self­help Home appeared in 2012. The next three years saw this 60-minute doc­u­men­tary on Holo­caust sur­vivors amass­ing one award … Continue reading Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home

Mother Love
Bijan woke to the voice of the muezzin call­ing peo­ple to prayers, fell asleep again, and then woke to his mother’s qui­et voice in the liv­ing … Continue reading Mother Love

The Window as Mirror
Look through a win­dow and we see the world out­side. Change of focus, and we can see our­selves reflect­ed in that same window. As an Amer­i­can … Continue reading The Window as Mirror

Going Green in the U.S.? Yes!
Gen­er­al per­cep­tion has it that Amer­i­cans do not care about the envi­ron­ment. But did you know that accord­ing to the Gallup Poll in March 2014, 80% … Continue reading Going Green in the U.S.? Yes!

God at the Bank
We were the only two wait­ing in the New Accounts sec­tion in the bank. For us gre­gar­i­ous Amer­i­cans, this is a slight­ly awk­ward sit­u­a­tion. In most … Continue reading God at the Bank

“My feets is tired, but my soul is rested” — A Meditation on International Women’s Day
“Mom­my, mom­my. The oth­er moth­ers are all unem­ployed,” were the first words out of my son’s mouth as he dart­ed toward our car. Not exact­ly the … Continue reading “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested” — A Meditation on International Women’s Day

Wild
Walk­ing 1,100 miles in one con­sec­u­tive hike with a heavy back­pack – real­ly heavy, so heavy that you can hard­ly stand, let alone walk – might not … Continue reading Wild

A Reading with Teju Cole
Amer­i­can writer Teju Cole reads from his nov­el, Open City (2011) at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. In this award-win­ning first-per­son nar­ra­tive, Cole recounts the sto­ry of … Continue reading A Reading with Teju Cole

The Butler
It’s Feb­ru­ary, African Amer­i­can His­to­ry Month in the U.S. So let’s look at a fab­u­lous film that depicts a young black man and his pow­er­ful, but … Continue reading The Butler

RAGBRAI: Take the Ride of Your Life
For those of you who missed it, the 2013 con­fer­ence theme of the Amer­i­can Stud­ies Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­many held in Erlan­gen was “Rur­al Amer­i­ca.” As some­one … Continue reading RAGBRAI: Take the Ride of Your Life

Couch Conversations with William H. New — An Impromptu Interview
CHARACTERS WILLIAM H. NEW   renowned Cana­di­an lit crit and author (as himself) INTERVIEWER 1      Sab­ri­na Völz INTERVIEWER 2      Maria Moss INTERVIEWER 3      Maryann Henck   UNIVERSITY LOBBY—SUMMER—DAY … Continue reading Couch Conversations with William H. New — An Impromptu Interview

Is Serial Over? A New Phenomenon on Public Radio
If you read beyond news sto­ries about the after­math of Fer­gu­son, the killing of two NYPD police offi­cers, and con­jec­tures about the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race, some­thing … Continue reading Is Serial Over? A New Phenomenon on Public Radio

A Supporting Role for Tom Hanks and Community Colleges
Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has pro­posed to make the first two years of com­mu­ni­ty col­leges (CC) free, and Tom Han­ks thinks it’s a good idea. His New York … Continue reading A Supporting Role for Tom Hanks and Community Colleges

Apples Having a Ball
Last Sat­ur­day, I stood in a long line to buy apples. Bored as I was, I looked at the apples on dis­play: Graven­stein, Elstar, Brae­burn, Pink … Continue reading Apples Having a Ball

Marketing and Performing History
As far as I can tell, his­to­ry has a bit of an image prob­lem among future Eng­lish teach­ers. It does not seem to be one of … Continue reading Marketing and Performing History

Don Quixote Saving America
You know what tribe I belong to? Put your hand on a table. Now hit it with a rock. If it hurts, then you and I … Continue reading Don Quixote Saving America

Expatriate Life through the Lens of a Third Culture Kid: Home Leave by Brittani Sonnenberg
Allow TCK, jour­nal­ist, and fic­tion writer Brit­tani Son­nen­berg take you on a transna­tion­al adven­ture in her debut nov­el, Home Leave. Lis­ten to the read­ing that took place … Continue reading Expatriate Life through the Lens of a Third Culture Kid: Home Leave by Brittani Sonnenberg

Various Varieties: How to Teach English Accents
I recent­ly noticed that when­ev­er I read a book there is a voice inside my head. It’s my own voice. Me talk­ing – or rather think­ing … Continue reading Various Varieties: How to Teach English Accents

The Chat(ter) Box Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor
Drew Hay­den Tay­lor is an award-win­ning Cana­di­an Ojib­way author of plays, short sto­ries, nov­els, and crit­i­cal essays. He has lec­tured world­wide on a vari­ety of Native issues … Continue reading The Chat(ter) Box Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor

12 Years a Slave
When Salomon Northup (Chi­we­tel Ejio­for) accepts a two-week job offer as a musi­cian from two white men with whom he trav­els from Upstate New York to … Continue reading 12 Years a Slave

Marijuana in America: Election Night at the Pot Shop
Ear­li­er this week, a state appeals court in Michi­gan ruled that a pros­e­cu­tor’s “per­son­al dia­tribe” in court against that state’s med­ical mar­i­jua­na law spoiled a con­vic­tion … Continue reading Marijuana in America: Election Night at the Pot Shop

Lonely
I wrote the short sto­ry “Lone­ly” in one of my uni­ver­si­ty sem­i­nars. It was meant to be an assign­ment. Just an assign­ment. But my pro­fes­sor con­vinced … Continue reading Lonely

Of Conceptual Haunts and Tacit Assumptions:
A Current Take on Multiculturalism

On Jan­u­ary 9, 2014, Berndt Osten­dorf, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of North Amer­i­can Cul­tur­al His­to­ry at the Ameri­ka-Insti­tut, Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München, gave a talk on “The Rise and Fall … Continue reading Of Conceptual Haunts and Tacit Assumptions:
A Current Take on Multiculturalism

Canyon de Chelly, Navajo Nation, Arizona
I first came across White House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly (pro­nounced dəˈʃeɪ or də·shā′) in N. Scott Momaday’s Pulitzer Prize win­ning nov­el, House Made of … Continue reading Canyon de Chelly, Navajo Nation, Arizona

U.S. Election Day Results
As you may have heard, the results from this year’s mid-term elec­tions are quite clear: con­trol of both the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will … Continue reading U.S. Election Day Results

B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bag
Amer­i­cans have nev­er paid for gro­cery bags – paper or plas­tic. Mar­kets would even dou­ble-bag on request. No charge. Hence, we were slow to observe that … Continue reading B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bag

An Early Halloween Treat — Patricia Briggs at Leuphana
Hal­loween arrived ear­ly at Leuphana this year – to be pre­cise around the end of May. That is when best-sell­ing Urban Fan­ta­sy writer Patri­cia Brig­gs con­duct­ed … Continue reading An Early Halloween Treat — Patricia Briggs at Leuphana

Tricks or Treats – Halloween Goes German
It’s the time of the year for the undead to become alive again and for the liv­ing to be giv­en the creeps. It’s a time of … Continue reading Tricks or Treats – Halloween Goes German

The Fault in Our Stars 
Hazel Grace Lances­ter will nev­er be a nor­mal teenag­er. She doesn’t know that peo­ple don’t do pot but smoke it, or what it feels like to … Continue reading The Fault in Our Stars 

The U.S. Election Project
Let’s face it: Gen­er­a­tion Y – affec­tion­ate­ly known as Gen ‘Why’ – is not exact­ly polit­i­cal­ly mind­ed. This was all the more due cause to devel­op … Continue reading The U.S. Election Project

A Study Trip to Las Vegas?
Yes, a Study Trip!

The two-semes­ter project, “Eth­nic Stud­ies and Eco-Crit­i­cism Meet Inter­cul­tur­al Exchange: A Study Trip to Las Vegas,” brought togeth­er stu­dents and fac­ul­ty from Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty in Lüneb­urg … Continue reading A Study Trip to Las Vegas?
Yes, a Study Trip!

A Night in Berlin with Michael Lederer
The U.S. Embassy Lit­er­a­ture Series at the Eng­lish The­atre Berlin in coop­er­a­tion with Pal­mArt­Press pre­sent­ed Michael Led­er­er on Feb­ru­ary 11, 2014. In the fol­low­ing video, Led­er­er … Continue reading A Night in Berlin with Michael Lederer

A Game of Thrones: Heroes Wanted
We all know him—the tall, strong, brave man. The hero. The prince. The knight in shin­ing armor whose deci­sions are infal­li­ble, his visions wide-rang­ing, and his … Continue reading A Game of Thrones: Heroes Wanted

Number 13: Unbraiding the Short Story
Regard­less of the field, con­fer­ences come in all shapes and sizes. Some are for­got­ten quick­ly while oth­ers become engraved in one’s mem­o­ry. The lat­ter expe­ri­ences are … Continue reading Number 13: Unbraiding the Short Story

Shooting for the Stars: Creativity and Competition in the English Classroom
It has been my expe­ri­ence that com­pe­ti­tion, apart from the kind found in tele­vi­sion quiz shows, is often frowned upon in Ger­many. For Amer­i­cans, how­ev­er, com­pe­ti­tion … Continue reading Shooting for the Stars: Creativity and Competition in the English Classroom

Creative Writing Contest for Non-Native Speakers
When I entered a cre­ative writ­ing con­test for non-native speak­ers of Eng­lish, the 2014 Dani­il Pashkoff Prize, I nev­er imag­ined I would win 3rd prize in … Continue reading Creative Writing Contest for Non-Native Speakers

Only Lovers Left Alive – A Stroll Down Eternal Lovers’ Lane
After a three-year respite, icon­ic inde­pen­dent film­mak­er Jim Jar­musch is back with a qui­et­ly intrigu­ing new film: Only Lovers Left Alive – a tale of two lovers and … Continue reading Only Lovers Left Alive – A Stroll Down Eternal Lovers’ Lane

Obama’s Clean Air Act
The Ger­man dai­ly news­pa­per, Der Tagesspiegel, recent­ly fea­tured an arti­cle on Pres­i­dent Obama’s pol­i­cy for lim­it­ing green­house gas emis­sions. Pres­i­dent Obama’s envi­ron­men­tal stance was a con­tribut­ing … Continue reading Obama’s Clean Air Act

How Do Americans Really Talk?
We know that not all Amer­i­can Eng­lish is the same: South­ern­ers love to talk about sip­ping ‘coke’ while drink­ing a sprite; New York­ers talk about their … Continue reading How Do Americans Really Talk?

New Kids on the Blog
As the lat­est edi­tion to the ‘ASJ fam­i­ly,’ we would like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to intro­duce our­selves to cur­rent as well as new fol­low­ers of … Continue reading New Kids on the Blog