Tag Archives: Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

The Reviews Are In: Babylon Berlin Sets the Scene for Unusually Visionary Television, Intercontinentally

By Hannah Quinque

CC BY-SA 4.0, Lear 21

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 just how phe­nom­e­nal­ly a big bud­get can be spent on a TV series – with­out com­pro­mis­es between bom­bas­tic mon­tages and cin­e­matog­ra­phy for lovers, between fast-paced sto­ry devel­op­ment and cred­i­bly com­plex char­ac­ters, that is.

For Baby­lon Berlin, pro­duced in Ger­many by Ger­man pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, the com­mit­ment to an unflinch­ing and unre­served depic­tion of a nation on the verge of fas­cism pays off. As a bit of an inside tip, the show’s spec­tac­u­lar efforts are appre­ci­at­ed far beyond its coun­try of ori­gin, as demon­strat­ed by almost exclu­sive­ly glow­ing U.S. reviews.

Read more »

We Sing America

By Bobbie Kirkhart

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 patri­ot­ic music, although some of the lyrics are much too bel­li­cose and vir­tu­al­ly all of it is much too reli­gious for this athe­ist to embrace. And the music itself may or may not be Amer­i­can. Indeed, the music of one of our most promi­nent songs, “My Coun­try ‘Tis of Thee,” is the British nation­al anthem “God Save the Queen.” This ren­di­tion is sung by Aretha Franklin at Barack Obama’s inauguration:

Per­haps more iron­ic is the fact that our nation­al anthem, “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner,” a poem writ­ten in praise of our efforts against the Eng­lish in the War of 1812, is set to the tune of a British drink­ing song, “The Anacre­on­tic Song.”

Read more »

Happy Pride Month!

By Henrike Kattoll

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 gay bar locat­ed in Green­wich Vil­lage. Before the riots, the police rou­tine­ly raid­ed the Mafia-run gay bars to harass or detain mem­bers of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­ni­ty. On the morn­ing of June 28, 1969, a sur­prise raid took place at the Stonewall Inn. The angry patrons and neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents, fed up with the con­stant police harass­ment and social dis­crim­i­na­tion, gath­ered out­side the bar and became increas­ing­ly agi­tat­ed about the police aggres­sive­ly man­han­dling peo­ple. Soon after­ward, the onlook­ers began to throw objects – pen­nies, bot­tles, and cob­ble stones – at the police. The full-blown riot con­tin­ued for five more days, involv­ing thou­sands of peo­ple clash­ing with law enforce­ment on Christo­pher Street and neigh­bor­ing roads. The fab­u­lous Mar­sha P. John­son, a Black drag queen, is cred­it­ed for throw­ing the first stone – although she’s nev­er con­firmed it.

Read more »

On Bloomsday, Dublin Comes to Many U.S. Cities or ‘Milly Bloom Also Has a Few Words to Say’

By Deborah A. Cecere

James Joyce stat­ue, Earl Street North, Dublin https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Joyce_statue,_Dublin_1998.jpg

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 cel­e­brat­ed in many U.S. cities, around the globe, and par­tic­u­lar­ly in Dublin, the set­ting of the nov­el. The event is named for one of the novel’s pro­tag­o­nists, Leopold Bloom. The nov­el takes place on June 16, 1904, the day that James Joyce met his lat­er wife, Nora Bar­na­cle. Cel­e­bra­tion activ­i­ties include dress­ing up in peri­od cos­tumes, read­ings, the­ater per­for­mances, film screen­ings, and art exhibits asso­ci­at­ed with the nov­el and Joyce’s writ­ings and life. The live­li­ness of the fes­ti­vals tes­ti­fies to the fun of read­ing Ulysses, espe­cial­ly if it’s read aloud. The nov­el is often mis­tak­en­ly described as inscrutable for the aver­age read­er, but it is per­haps more accu­rate­ly described as sur­pris­ing­ly readable.

In hon­or of Blooms­day, I’ve imag­ined a tongue-in-cheek let­ter of con­do­lence from Mil­ly Bloom, now fifty-two, but at the time of the nov­el the fif­teen-year-old daugh­ter of Leopold Bloom and his wife, Mol­ly, to Mrs. Joyce (born Nora Bar­na­cle). The let­ter is dat­ed 1941, nine­teen years fol­low­ing the novel’s pub­li­ca­tion and thir­ty-sev­en years fol­low­ing that famous day in Dublin in 1904.

Read more »

A Human or Non-Human Companion? The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

By Maria Moss

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 pub­li­ca­tions from the U.S. Well, The Friend is a nov­el (the sixth!) by a woman whose name I’d nev­er encoun­tered before: Sigrid Nunez. Not George Saun­ders or Col­son White­head, not Joan Did­ion or Louise Erdrich, but Sigrid Nunez. And when I saw a Har­le­quin Great Dane on the cov­er, I knew I need­ed to read it. 

Read more »

Happy Belated Birthday, Bob Dylan!

“Bob Dylan (Bring it All Back Home Ses­sions)” by ky_olsen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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 be sur­prised if you couldn’t name at least one of his songs.

The Amer­i­can Stud­ies Blog decid­ed to hon­or him not with a list of his numer­ous achieve­ments, awards, and fun facts as oth­ers have already done that for us. Instead, we want to share a bit of his music that con­tin­ues to inspire new generations.

 

Read more »