Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner

Vorlesung (gemeinsam mit Claire M. Massey) "Border Cultures: Theorizing and (Con-)textualizing North American Borders"
Mi 18-20 Uhr
B 3 2, Hörsaal 003


This lecture attempts to establish the border paradigm as an aesthetic category that has defined North American literature and culture from its inception and that has performatively constituted itself at the moment of intercultural encounter. Border thinking allows students of North American Studies to rethink not only their object of analysis—North America—but also their scholarly interactions with American and Canadian literatures. It opens a revisionist approach to North American literature that entails a remapping of national traditions within a large web of transhemispheric perceptions. Border thinking, we will show, has not only emerged with the growing importance of the U.S.-Mexican border since the 1990s but lies at the heart of American literature and culture. It inhabits border spaces, which are spaces “where cultures conflict, contest, and reconstitute one another” (Smith 1993:169).

Focusing on the multiple interdependencies between the United States and its neighbors in the Americas, we will talk about a great variety of texts which deal with borders, ranging from literary texts that deal with or are set in borderlands spaces (e.g. Chicano/a literature, Native American/First Nations literature) to films (e.g. Western movies), TV series (e.g. The Bridge), and other cultural productions and border performances (e.g. the works of Guillermo Peña, Coco Fusco, Monica Palacios, Kent Monkman).


Vorlesung "Foundations of Cultural Studies"
Di 12-14 Uhr

This course is intended to make students familiar with the various theoretical approaches and practices common to the study of culture. It should introduce students to the intellectual roots and contemporary applications of Cultural Studies, focusing on the theoretical bases for the analyses of meaning and power in the production and reception of texts. While this class will offer various approaches to the study of cultures in the English-speaking world, it should also provide students with an opportunity to do Cultural Studies. In our analyses we will therefore draw on a wide range of cultural material (literature, television, films, and commercials) and explore the ways in which questions of representation are interrelated with issues of identity, in particular racial/ethnic, sexual, class, and regional differences.

Texts: A course reader will be made available for purchase.