American Studies in a Transatlantic Perspective: Cultural Mobility and Intercultural Exchange - 1st International Summer Academy

May 9 - 23, 2009 in Munich, Germany

At this summer academy we discussed contemporary phenomena of cultural mobility and intercultural exchange in the context of a "transnational turn" in the field of American Studies and a "spatial turn" in literary and cultural studies.

Space and mobility in US-American discourses are of highly symbolic value and play a central role in the foundational national mythology which circulates also in a global context. American myths of mobility have already begun to be analyzed by the socalled New Americanists who focus on moments and processes of intercultural exchange instead of unified, 'exceptionalist' narratives. Along those lines our summer academy seeked to address current issues in American history, culture, and literature.




The program of the academy was structured into three parts:
1. key-note lectures on crucial issues of cultural mobility and transatlantic exchange
2. discussion of seminal scholarly texts in the field, and
3. work-in-progress presentations by the doctoral participants.

Speakers and Topics
Prof. Dr. Heike Paul (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg): "Cultural Mobility"
Prof. Dr. Klaus Benesch (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich): "Mobility and Rootedness"
Prof. Dr. David Nye (University of Southern Denmark, Odense): "Mobility, Technology, and the Production of Difference"
Prof. Dr. Barrett Watten (Wayne State University, Detroit): "Mobility and Poetics"
Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (University of Regensburg): "Transatlantic Cultures of Memory"
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Freiburg (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg): "Transatlantic Discourses on Religion and Atheism"
Prof. Dr. John Stauffer (Harvard University): "Space, Mobility, and Self-Making"
Prof. Dr. Carla Harryman (Eastern Michigan University) reads from her new book of poems Adorno's Noise

The summer academy also included a cultural program (Rahmenprogramm): a reception at the Amerikahaus, excursions to Dachau and Neuschwanstein, and visits to museums and places of special interest in Munich.

We asked doctoral students working in the field of American Studies on issues of cultural mobility, transatlantic cultural transfer, space, globalization, migration, and related topics in American literature, history and culture to apply electronically with a statement of purpose, CV, 2-page project description, and one letter of recommendation.

Participants were selected based on the strength of their applications. Acceptance to the Summer Academy includes a full two-week academic and cultural program, two-week accommodation, and a travel grant. All participants had to pay 150 € tuition.

Supporters and cooperations
Bavarian America-Academy (BAA), Friedrich Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Wayne State University, Detroit, and the University of Southern Denmark, Odense.