The research conducted by the American Studies faculty engages with manifold aspects of North American literature, culture and society. While the individual projects when taken together cover almost all of American history, there is currently a focus on the nineteenth century and the contemporary period. Most scholars in the department share an interest in the power of representations of all kinds – for example, "high" and popular literature, film, painting, or non-fictional genres – to shape and negotiate social and political reality. An overview of current PhD and postdoctoral ("Habilitation") projects, as well as completed ones, is available here.
The center of the research activities in the department is the weekly research colloquium, which currently takes place each Thursday afternoon, during which faculty, PhD and advanced M.A. students present their projects.
Our staff members are involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects:
- Astrid Franke, Katharina Motyl and Ferdinand Nyberg are members of the Special Research Area 923 “Threatened Order – Societies under Stress.” They are responsible for project G06: Drugs, power, and marginalization – Cultural reflections of dependence in the U.S.
- Michael Butter was the main proposer and now serves as vice chair of the EU COST Action “Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories” which seeks to bridge the disciplinary and linguistic borders in research on conspiracy theories. The project, which comprises more than 100 scholars from 33 countries and a dozen disciplines, adopts a comparative approach, investigating the causes, manifestations and effects of conspiracy theories in different regions and times, and drawing on insights from history, politics, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and psychology.
- Astrid Franke is a member of the network “Literary Cultures of the Global South” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Academic Exchange Service.
New Publication: The collection "Von Selma bis Ferguson: Rasse und Rassismus in den USA," edited and with contributions by Tübingen American Studies professors Michael Butter, Astrid Franke and Horst Tonn was published in September 2016 ([transcript] Verlag). The book is a result of the highly successful Studium Generale lecture series on African American civil rights since the 1960s, organized by the department in the winter of 2015/2016. American Studies staff members Thomas Gijswijt, Nicole Hirschfelder, Luvena Kopp, and Katharina Motyl have contributed chapters, as have a number of leading international experts on civil rights and race in the United States.