Summer term 2009

Below you will find all classes taught by staff members associated with the English, Postcolonial and Media Studies in summer term 2009.

Please note that this is only an overview. For a full description including requirements for admission, etc., please follow the link.

Prof. Dr. Mark Stein
Dr. Marga Munkelt
Dr. Silke Stroh
Dr. Markus Schmitz
Jessica Voges, M.A.

Prof. Dr. Mark Stein

Caribbean Literature

No.: 094481 | Vorlesung | 2 SWS | Wedn. 16-18 | room: AudiMax Engl. Sem.

This lecture provides a survey of the history of anglophone and anglocreole Caribbean literatures. Poetry, drama, and prose are examined with respect to the history of colonialism, slavery, indenture, nationalism, and genocide; the experience of migration, diaspora, and racism; as well as the processes of linguistic creolization, cultural syncretism, transnationalism, and transculturation. The lecture opens with early modern ideas of the New World and the 'colonial encounter' which are considered via the figures of Prospero, Caliban and Robinson Crusoe. After touching on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writing, the lecture will centre upon twentieth-century cultural production and finish with more recent works. Dominant paradigms of Caribbean literary criticism such as anti-colonialism, nationalism, and 'doubly-colonised' women are explored alongside more recent subjects and texts. It will emerge that Caribbean literary and cultural identity is deeply affected by the history set in train by the arrival of the Europeans and the populations they displaced.

Anmeldung via HISLSF

Literature: The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature. Ed. Allison Donnell and Sarah Lawson Welsh. London: Routledge, 1996.


Postcolonial Translocations: Links Across Borders

No.: 094989 | Hauptseminar (LK2) | 4-stündig | Frid. 10s.t.-14 (17.04. - 29.05.2009) | room: H19

This seminar deals with translocation: referring not only to a process (the transfer of people, cultural products, borders), but also a new type of location (a translocation) consisting of fractured and variously connected spaces, translocation is clearly multiform. As a concept, it exceeds a simple 'change of location' or 'dislocation' and it can leave open points of departure and destination.
This seminar will open by considering theorisations of translocation and related phenomena. This will be followed by reading a range of novels and one drama which, in one way or another, represent or respond to translocation. This seminar will close with a meeting between students and (some of) the authors whose works we will have read.

Student presentations are assigned during a first obligatory first seminar session (30.01.2009, 12:00, see notice board for details); this will enable students to work towards their oral project and their mid-term paper (Hausarbeit) over the semester break.

Prerequisites for accreditation (HS Schein) include: knowledge of all set texts by 17.04.2009 (short test); active participation in the seminar; participation in a study group; oral presentation incl. written report; session chair; and, if applicable, a mid-term paper (6000 words, MLA-style) due on 29.05.2009.

Reading: to be announced - see notice board.


Reading the Caribbean

No.: 095380 | Hauptseminar | 2 SWS | Thurs. 10-12 | room: H19

To this day, the Caribbean has significant ties to Amerindian cultures, Africa, America mainlands, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere. This class will look at how anglophone Caribbean literature has emerged in a force field between nationalism and transnational connections. The class runs alongside my lecture on Caribbean literature and provides the opportunity to explore and discuss a range of texts covered in the lecture.

This class is open to students of the MA in National and Transnational Studies and to other, interested advanced students.

We will study the following authors/texts:

  • Earl Lovelace, The Dragon Can't Dance
  • VS Naipaul, Suffrage of Elvira (t.b.a.)
  • George Lamming, Pleasures of Exile (essays)
  • Samuel Selmon, short stories
  • Derek Walcott, Omeros, "The Schooner Flight"
  • Olive Senior, short stories
  • David Dabydeen, Slave Song
  • Grace Nichols, i is a long-memoried woman
  • Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Island

Student presentations are assigned during a first obligatory first seminar session (30.01.2009, 10:00, see notice board for details); this will enable students to begin their reading early and to work towards their oral project during the semester break.

Accreditation (HS Schein) include: Knowledge of all set texts by 16.04.2009 (short test); active participation in the seminar; participation in a study group; oral presentation incl. written report; session chair; and, if applicable, a mid-term paper (6000 words, MLA-style) due on 29.05.2009.
Reading: to be announced - see notice board.


Betreuungsseminar Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft (für Examenskandidaten)

No.: 095158 | Seminar | 2 SWS | Frid. 8-10 | room: 101

This seminar is aimed at students in the last phase of their studies. If you are about to or in the process of writing your final exam thesis or are preparing your oral/written exams, this is a forum for clarifying issues that arise. We will discuss work in progress, technical aspects of research and thesis-writing. Students only attend the first session (17.04.2009), two plenary sessions, and those sessions which are relevant to them.

The class is also a forum for students taking any kind of oral or written exam with me (Magister, Staatsexamen, Modulabschluss, etc.). Students writing their MA-, BA-, or Staatsexamens-theses under my supervision and those who are examined by me are expected to participate this seminar.

Anmeldung via HISLSF and per email an unter Angabe von Namen, Matrikel-Nr., Fachsemester und Studiengang.

Reading: Homi K. Bhabha, "DissemiNation: Time, Narrative, and the Margins of the Modern Nation".


Postcolonial, Transnational, and Transcultural Studies

No.: 095333 | Oberseminar | 14-tägig | Thurs. 16-18 | room: N.N.

The colloquium provides the space for discussing recent as well as by now classic texts from postcolonial, transnational and transcultural studies. The thematic focus on the summer semester will be social, cultural, and intellectual transmigrations.

Anmeldung via HISLSF und per email an unter Angabe von Namen, Matrikel-Nr., Fachsemester und Studiengang.


Dr. Marga Munkelt

Cultural Difference in Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus and Othello

No.: 094915 | Hauptseminar (LK1 and MEd, Level 2) | 2 SWS | Wedn. 16-18 | room: 032

One focus of the seminar will be on the presentation of ethnicity and strangeness in two Shakespearean tragedies. Whereas in Titus Andronicus (first performed in 1594), Aaron, the barbarous "blackmoor", is the incarnation of evil, ten years later in Othello (first performed in 1604), the Christian Moor Othello (who is "far more fair than black") illustrates the corruption of goodness by a white villain. The apparent simplicity of the black-and-white pattern and its reversal turns out, however, to be deceptive, because the suggestion of definite cultural differences and their association with moral values is questioned in both plays. A second focus in the seminar will be on the characteristics of  both works as playtexts that are meant to be performed rather than as works intended to be read. Our analysis of the two plays will, in addition, be embedded in the history of Shakespeare scholarship as well as in the theoretical framework offered by Postcolonial Criticism.

Course requirements:

  • regular attendance and active participation in class discussions
  • an in-class presentation
  • a midterm research paper

Participants in the seminar must read both texts before the semester. There will be a mandatory short test in the first class meeting.

Preliminary meeting and enrolment (Vorbesprechung und Anmeldung):
There will be a mandatory preliminary meeting in the last week of January 2009 in which the enrolements will take place.
Die Vorbesprechung mit Anmeldung findet am Montag, dem 26. Januar 2009, um 12:15 in Raum H19 statt.

First meeting: see notice board


  • Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. Ed. Alan Hughes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. (New Cambridge Shakespeare)
  • Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Norman Sanders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. (New Cambridge Shakespeare)
  • (Any other modern critical edition is also welcome.)

Writings of Mexican-American Authors

No.: 095414 | Seminar | room: 032
(MA National and Transnational Studies; Module: "Minorities and Migration")

The main goal of this course is to cover a lot of reading-material in order to assemble a solid foundation for the development of a Mexican-American emphasis in this part of the module.
For obvious reasons, we will read with a stress on the twentieth and the late nineteenth centuries, but a few texts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will be included for information on elements in the past (e.g. historical or mythical figures and rituals) that play a role in the lives of Mexican Americans today. We will also address the political and ideological implications of terms other than Mexican American that are applied to this minority group.
Among the texts on the reading list will be fictional as well as non-fictional writings. Not all the fictional texts will be "high" literature, as we will, for example, also listen to and analyse corridos and Hispanic folk songs. In order to be able to combine quantity with quality in a satisfactory way, each participant in this course will specialise on either an author, a topic, a genre or element of the past (etc.) treated in the texts on the reading list, about which he or she will then talk to the other class members - using the theoretical framework taught in the seminar on "Minorities and Migration" when possible or applicable.

There will be a preliminary meeting (Vorbesprechung) in the last week in January.
The preliminary meeting will take place on Tuesday, 27 January 2009, from 9-10 in room 401.

Selected Texts:

  • Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me, Ultima. 1972. New York: Warner Books, 1994 (etc.).
  • Castillo, Ana. So Far From God: A Novel. Harmondsworth: Penguin/Plume Books, 1994.
  • Castillo, Ana. My Father was a Toltec and Selected Poems 1973-1988. New York: Norton, 1995.
  • Feyder, Linda, ed. Shattering the Myth: Plays by Hispanic Women. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1992; 2nd printing 1994.
  • Munkelt, Marga, ed. Mexican-American Short Stories. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2004.
  • Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. 1981. New York (etc.): Bantam Books, 1983 (etc.).
  • Valdez, Luis. Zoot Suit and Other Plays. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1992.

Other texts will be announced. Selected other texts (especially poems and corridos) will be made available in a reader.

Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaftlicher Grundkurs II

Group 1: No.: 094255 | Grundkurs | Tues. 16-18 | room: Audi Max
Group 2: No.: 094260 | Grundkurs | Frid. 10-12 | room: H19

The primary goal of this course (GK2) is to provide an overview of various literary theories and different methods of literary analysis applicable to British Studies, American Studies and the so-called New English Literatures. Another course objective is to introduce some of the most important bibliographies in our field and to make the students familiar with the basic methods of scholarly research.

Participants in this course will extend their critical vocabulary and will gain an insight into the ways in which critical theory can illuminate specific texts and current debates. Using theoretical strategies such as structuralism, feminist criticism, new historicism and postcolonial criticism, students will explore questions such as class, gender, race, authorship, canonicity, textuality and intertextuality, and they will address interactions between literature, politics, history and culture.

Participation in this course requires credit for GK1.


  • Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. 2nd ed. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002.
  • Meyer, Michael. English and American Literatures. 2. überarb. Aufl. Tübingen und Basel: A Francke, 2005 (UTB Basics 2526).
  • Fabian, Bernhard. "Die wissenschaftliche Literatur und ihre Ermittlung." Ein anglistischer Grundkurs. Ed. Bernard Fabian. 9. Aufl. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2004. 256-87 (Kapitel 8).
  • Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights (any edition).
  • Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night's Dream (any edition).
  • Selected short stories, poems and other materials will be made electronically available.

    Buchhandlung: Poertgen-Herder

Anmeldung über HISLSF.

Group 2 (Friday): ERASMUS-Students only: 2 ECTS/ With paper/presentation: 3 ECTS


Dr. Silke Stroh

New Zealand Poetry

No.: 094513 | Seminar/Proseminar (Aufbaumodul) | 2 SWS | Wedn. 10-12 | room: H20

This course will give students the opportunity to further develop their skills in the analysis of poetry, through case studies of a wide range of examples from different historical periods and in different poetic forms. At the same time, the course aims to provide an introduction to the regional/national literature of New Zealand. We will thus also contextualise our sample poems (which will range from the colonial to the postcolonial) with reference to historical, social and wider cultural frameworks, both local and international. Moreover, the course will study different ways in which these poems can be (and have been) approached in literary criticism.

Reading materials:
A list of set texts will be published early in 2009.


Enlightenment & Empire

No.: 094566 | Seminar (Vertiefungsmodul) | 2 SWS | Tue. 10-12 | room: 031

The intellectual, social and cultural achievements of the Enlightenment constitute some of the most important cornerstones of western (and arguably even global) modernity, as well as of widespread notions of what constitutes 'the west' and distinguishes it from the proverbial 'rest' of human cultural and social formations rooted elsewhere on the globe. As such, the Enlightenment also played a crucial role in western ideas of civilisational hierarchies, and in the textualisation of colonial empires. In postcolonial discourse, the deconstruction of eurocentric and colonial traditions thus has also struggled to reassess the legacy of the Enlightenment. This course will thus explore different aspects of the relationship between Enlightenment and Empire through readings in philosophy, history, cultural theory and literature. Topics include Enlightenment theories of civilisation and historical progress: democracy, humanism and universalism in Enlightenment thought and in 18th-20th century social practice; the place of racial difference and colonised peoples in these schemes; and more recent, retrospective discussions (and sometimes re-assessments/reinscriptions) of the relationship between Enlightenment, modernity, cultural difference, race, subordination, emancipation, and global(ising) humanity.

Reading materials:
A list of set texts and further reading suggestions will be made available at the end of WS 08/09. Most set texts will be shorter excerpts from larger works, and will thus be made available in a mastercopy folder in the library.




Dr. Markus Schmitz

British Utopian Literature from the 16th to the 19th Century

No.: 095486 | Hauptseminar (LK1) | 2 SWS | Tue. 14-16 | room: H20

The utopia is a specific form of prose fiction that describes a non-existent society located in time and space. The notion of an ideal society has been a staple element in human history. However the details of this society can, and do, vary radically, produce the broadest possible set of answers to the question of what exactly constitutes an ideal nowhere. While some of the genre's roots can be traced back to ancient philosophical writings, most notably Plato's Republic (c. 370 BC), utopian writing in English was set off in 1551 with the publication of Thomas More's Utopia (in Latin 1516). During the 18th and 19th centuries, utopian fiction became a particular important genre, regularly merging with other fictional genres.

This course investigates the marked changes in focus and interest that have appeared in British utopian writings. It traces how writers, over time, created different versions of ideal societies and explores the fine line separating utopian and dystopian writing. At the same time it encourages students to study the literary history of these imaginary places as inseparable form the worldly histories of the people and cultures that gave birth to them. It was only with the emergence of modern colonialism and global capitalism that we began to see the full development of the specific literary genre. Many writers used the imaginary matrix of alien worlds and societies not only to articulate novel ideas about politics, education, religion, and science but also to produce novel representations of otherness regarding race, class, and gender.

In class, we will critically reflect upon selected utopian works ranging from More's Utopia (1516/1551) to H. G. Well's The War of the Worlds (1898). While reading classics such as Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726) as well as little known British utopias such as James Lawrence's The Empire of the Nairs; or The Rights of Woman (1811) the course introduces class participants to seminal theoretical debates within the field of utopian studies. It invites students studying British society not as it was, but as some of its most engaged writers and critics thought it might be. Hence, the course simultaneously provides critical readings in literary utopias and a stimulating introduction to the history of British political thought in the age of European expansion.

Students are expected to participate actively and to give an oral presentation in class. For accreditation, a mid-term paper (6.000 words, MLA-style, due on 29.05.2009) is required. Participation in the preliminary meeting on 29.01.2009, at 14:00 (s.t.) in room 031 is obligatory. Please sign up for this meeting (see notice board). Introductory texts must be read before the beginning of the semester.

First class meeting: 21 April 2009

Introductory Reading:

  • Davis, J. C. "Utopianism." The Cambridge History of Political Thought 1450-1700. Ed. J. H. Burns and Mark Goldie. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1991.
  • More, Thomas. Utopia [1516]. Ed. and trans. Robert Martin Adams. New York: Norton, 1975.
  • Sargent, Layman Tower. "The Three Forms of Utopianism Revisited." Utopian Studies 5.1 (1994): 1-37.

Additional Reading:

  • Jameson, Frederic. Archaeologies of the Future. The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. London, New York: Verso, 2005.
  • Manuel, Frank E., and Fritzie P. Manuel. Utopian Thought in the Western World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1986.
  • Schaer, Roland, Gregory Claeys and Lyman Tower Sargent, eds. Utopia. The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.


Jessica Voges, M.A.

No classes