“Questions of the Archive”
May 20 – June 3, 2017 in Nürnberg


in cooperation with Florida International University and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Following the widely discussed archival turn in the humanities, this summer school focused on questions of the archive, its production, authority, and transformation.

We sought contributions in the broad interdisciplinary field of American studies that problematize and analyze questions of the archive with regard to

a) poststructuralist scholarship on the contingency of the archive and the epistemic anxieties it reveals,

b) assumptions of authority based on power relations (evident in canon debates and absences in the archive), and

c) more recent technological developments and the changes they imply (big data, digital humanities).

The technology of the archive informs both history and memory, and thus the archive can claim to be invested with legitimacy and status.

Questions of knowledge production in the present moment are prominently addressed by Diana Taylor (“archive and repertoire”), Ann Laura Stoler (“the colonial archive”), and James Clifford (“archival silences”); these scholars call attention to explicit and implicit assumptions about archival energies in both preserving knowledge for future generations and potentially withdrawing it from ongoing public circulation. Next to these theoretical considerations, we will explore different kinds of ‘official’ archive (material, oral, digital, and so forth), forms of subverting the archive (‘ghosts’ in the archive), and alternative archives in a global, postcolonial world.



Program of the 9th International Summer Academy


1. key-note lectures by US and European speakers – including:


Colleen Boggs
Author of Animalia Americana: Animal Representations and Biopolitical Subjectivity (2013, Columbia UP) and Civil War Substitutes: How the Military Draft Changed America (forthcoming)

Markus Heide
Author of Grenzüberschreibungen: Chicano/a-Erzählliteratur und die Inszenierung von Kulturkontakt (2004, Winter) and co-editor of Hemispheric Encounters: The Early United States in a Transnational Perspective (2016, Lang)

Gesa Mackenthun
Author of Metaphors of Dispossession: American Beginnings and the Translation of Empire, 1492-1637 (1997, U of Oklahoma P) and Fictions of the Black Atlantic (2004, Routledge)

Donald Pease
Author of The New American Exceptionalism (2009, Minnesota UP), co-editor of Futures of American Studies (2002, Duke UP) and Re-Framing the Transnational Turn (2011, Dartmouth College P)

Lloyd Pratt
Author of Archives of American Time: Literature and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (2010, U of Pennsylvania P) and The Strangers Book: The Human of African American Literature (2015, U of Pennsylvania P)

Martha Schoolman
Author of Abolitionist Geographies (2014, U of Minnesota P)

Barry Shank
Author of A Token of My Affection: Greeting Cards and American Business Culture (2004, Columbia UP) and The Political Force of Musical Beauty (2014, Duke UP)

Ann Laura Stoler
Author of Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009, Princeton UP) and Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times (2016, Duke UP),

and others

2. work-in-progress presentations by the doctoral and postdoctoral participants,

3. workshop sessions in which participants discuss key texts in the field.

The program also included a cultural program in and around Nürnberg and trips to Munich and Bamberg as well as visits to museums, and other cultural events related to the overall theme of the summer school.

We encouraged applications from doctoral (and postdoctoral) candidates working in the field of American studies (in its broadest sense) on questions of the archive. Acceptance to the Summer Academy included a full academic and cultural program, accommodation, and a travel grant. The tuition fee was 300 €.


The summer academy is organized by and in cooperation with



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 Florida International University