Lecture Series


© A. Franzus

Guest Lectures in American Studies Münster | Winter Term 2022-2023

The Talks:

  • Mascha Lange, Leipzig University, “Vulnerable Worldmaking: Subverting Gendered Violence in Contemporary Life Writing” | November 3rd | Register here.
  • Maria Sulimma, Freiburg University, “Leisure in the Postindustrial City: Gentrification and Literature” | November 24th | Register here.
  • Xine Yao, University College London, “Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling” | December 8th | Register here.
  • Eugenie Brinkema, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Get Out; Or, How to Read a Sunken Form" | January 19th | Register here.
| Info Session Vassar College

Vassar College Info Session

© Bildheim

DiverSeries focus

From Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black to Amazon’s Transparent to Paramount’s Star Trek: Discovery – contemporary television and streaming media arguably have become more inclusive than ever, giving stories and screen time to cultural differences and showcasing racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity across genres. The research and teaching focus “Diverseries” of American Studies Münster critically examines this recent attention to diversity politics in television storytelling: In what ways do contemporary TV series really promote equality and social justice? What kinds of affective economies do these series help circulate and who are their intended audiences? To what extent are “diverseries” symptoms of the neoliberal commercialization of difference that seldom goes beyond tokenism? And how do the algorithmic structure and international reach of most streaming services shape the representation of diversity?

The “Diverseries” focus will feature regular guest lectures, classes, discussion events.

The first event in this series was held on May 5, 2022. Barbara Maly from the University of Vienna gave a talk on “The (Impossible) Promise of Diversity - Netflix and Cultural Politics.”

  • 23 November 2022 | Guest Lecture: "More than Just Remembering: Gender, Seriality, and Television" by Prof. Maria Sulimma

    This lecture was part of our Diverseries initiative and collaborated with the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics."

  • 17 November 2022 | Guest Lecture: “Introduction to Public Writing“ by Prof. Irina Dumitrescu

    This interactive lecture offered participants a crash course in writing for the general public, including the range of genres scholars can write in, how to find outlets open to new writers, how to pitch those outlets and how to deal with editors and revisions professionally. Further, various issues raised by “public writing” were explored, such as how to balance and integrate scholarly writing with creative work, what rigour looks like in other genres (and where we have to ensure it ourselves), and the unexpected pros and cons of public writing.

    Irina Dumitrescu is Professor of English Medieval Studies at the University of Bonn, where she organizes the Bonn Lectures in the Public Humanities. She is the author of The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge, 2018), a study of the role of difficult emotions in early medieval pedagogy. She has edited or co-edited four essay collections and two journal special issues, including Rumba Under Fire: The Arts of Survival from West Point to Delhi (Punctum, 2016), on the role of the arts in times of crisis. Irina is a columnist at the Times Literary Supplement and co-hosts a podcast with Mary Wellesley at the London Review of Books. Besides these publications, she regularly writes for the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Los Angeles Review of Books, Longreads, Times Higher Education, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    As a memoirist, she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, shortlisted for the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, and received the McGinnis-Ritchie Award for nonfiction. One piece was included in Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen and Bob Atwan, with five others selected as notables between 2013 and 2021. Her essays have also been reprinted in Holly Hughes’ Best Food Writing 2017, Jay McInerney’s Wine Reads: A Literary Anthology of Wine Writing (2018), Longreads, The Rumpus, and in the Romanian literary journal Scena9.  Her writing can be found at www.irinadumitrescu.com and her newsletter at www.irinadumitrescu.substack.com.

    The lecture was co-organized with the Graduate School Practices of Literature.


  • 22 June 2022 | Creative Writing and Editing Workshop with Jessica Cole

    This workshop, led by Jessica Cole, was for students who wanted to share their work, practice creative writing following prompts, and learn how to give and work with feedback.

  • 21 June 2022 | Guest lecture: "Erasure as More than Form: 21st-Century American Poetry and Politics" by Mahshid Mayar

    This guest lecture was part of the seminar “The New Poetics: Introduction to 21st-Century American Poetry.”

  • 19 June 2022 | Juneteenth Dialogues with Shermaine Jones

    Shermaine Jones from the Virginia Commonwealth University held a talk about "Blackness & Breath-taking." She explored the ways that Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric and artist Shaun Leonardo’s “I Can’t Breathe” community workshops, as well as “The Breath of Empty Space” installation, engage the question at the center of Christina Sharpe’s concept wake work, “What [does it take], in the midst of the singularity, the virulent antiblackness everywhere and always remotivated, to keep breath in the Black body.”

  • 19 May 2022 | Guest lecture: “Home and the Question of Imperial Exteriority: At-Home-Ness & Home-Less-Ness in Late-19th-C. School Geography” by Dr. Mahshid Mayar

    A literary critic and a cultural historian of the US, Mahshid Mayar is assistant professor of American Studies at Universität Bielefeld. Currently, she is also a research associate at the English Department, Amherst College, Massachusetts. Mahshid’s current research and teaching interests lie in 21st-century poetry of protest, silence and absence, new empire studies, 19th-century cultural history of the US, historical childhood studies, and history of race and racialization. In Erasure: Poetics, Politics, Performance, which is the title of her Habilitation project, Mahshid interrogates the intercutting of the empire’s politics and poetics in 21st-century examples of poetry of erasure. Mahshid is the author of numerous works on the entangled histories of childhood, empire, and education in the United States, including her first book, Citizens and Rulers of the World: The American Child and the Cartographic Pedagogies of Empire that has been published by the University of North Carolina Press. Together with Marion Schulte (English linguistics, Rostock), Mahshid has edited the essay collection Silence and Its Derivatives: Conversations Across Disciplines (currently in press with Palgrave Macmillan). Mahshid has held fellowships at the University of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and at Amherst College, Massachusetts.

    This lecture was part of Kolloquium Familie und Verwandtschaft: Historische und Aktuelle Zugänge SoSe 2022, organized by Michael Hecht, Isabel Heinemann, Silvia Schultermandl, Elisabeth Timm, Bettina Bock Von Wülfingen, and Julius Virnyi.

  • 3 June 2022 | Poetry Writing Workshop with Sylee Gore: What happens when you take 21st-century US poetry to an18th-century German garden?

    The greenhouses, lakes, and lawns are our second classroom as we explore US poets writing today. Drawing inspiration from generative experiments and the poems we read, we took a field trip to the Botanical Garden to expand our drafts. After the workshop, writers had time to work on their poems. A special edition of the WWU-based literary journal Satura showcased participants’ writing in a print and online issue.

    This generative poetry workshop was open to everyone curious about contemporary US poetry.

    Sylee Gore is an Indian American poet who works with image and text. She has led poetry workshops for the British Council and Oxford University. She recently won the Bird in Your Hands Prize (Northern Arizona University) and the Lord Alfred Douglas Memorial Prize (Oxford University). Her writing appears in Brooklyn Review, Dialogist, Guesthouse, Harvard Review, NationalPoetryMonth.ca, and elsewhere. She reads at the European Poetry Festival in London this June.

  • 9 February 2022 | Workshop: From Ideas to Books with Prof. Merve Emre

    In this workshop, Merve Emre presented her current project “Love and Other Useless Pursuits” to the participants.

  • 7 December 2021 | “American Cultures as Transnational Performance” by Dr. Leopold Lippert

    This talk was part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics."

  • 16 November 2021 | “Intimate Archives and Experimental Narratives of Transnational Kinship” by Prof. Silvia Schultermandl

    This talk was part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics."

  • 2 July 2021 | Workshop: “Writing About Fiction” by Gulsin Ciftci

    This workshop was for students of the English Department who need an overview of how to work with and write about literary texts within an academic framework.

  • 19 June 2021 | First Annual Juneteenth Dialogues

    Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, former Poet Laureate of the city of Houston, read from her poetry collection Newsworthy, which was published by Bloomsday Literary in 2019. Newsworthy examines incidents with police brutality and the Black body and how the media chooses to report them. It won honorable mention for the Summerlee Book Prize, was a finalist for the Writer's Guild of Texas Book Award, and received a Pushcart Nomination.

    To commemorate the proclamation of the end of slavery on June 19th, 1865 and to enter into a conversation about contemporary systemic racism in the US, the performance was embedded within a roundtable discussion on poetry, politics, and publishing.