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University of Graz

Upper-Division Cultural Studies Seminar

Traditions, Theories, Trailblazers: A History of American Studies

In this seminar we will survey the historical development of the field of American Studies. We will familiarize ourselves with the development of theoretical approaches within their respective historical and geographic contexts. By studying theoretical texts and controversies that resulted from competing approaches, we will not only gain a nuanced understanding of American Studies as a scholarly discipline embedded in a university context, but we will also learn to work more thoroughly and consciously with secondary literature from various time periods and representing specific schools of thought.

In the week before the CCTA event, we will be reading essays about ecocriticism and transnational American Studies by Ursula Heise and Hubert Zapf. We will then discuss how the plays negotiate the nexus between art and activism, between the local and the global, and between the representation of rational arguments and emotional responses. The Pennyless Players – the student drama club of the British and American studies departments – will perform the plays in the class.

The selected plays are:

Vinicius Jatobá, YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER
Marcia Johnson, SINGLE USE
Amahl Khouri, OH HOW WE LOVE OUR TUNA!
Sarena Parmar, THE RUBIK’S CUBE SOLUTION
Ian Rowlands, BOTTOM UP

University of Graz, Austria
American Studies
November 15, 2017

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