Summer term 2010

Below you will find all classes taught by staff members associated with the English, Postcolonial and Media Studies in summer term 2010.

Please note that this is only an overview.

Prof. Dr. Mark Stein
Dr. Marga Munkelt
Dr. Silke Stroh
Dr. Markus Schmitz
Dr. Christine Vogt-William

Prof. Dr. Mark Stein

Postcolonial film cultures: a critical survey

095239 | Vorlesung | 2 SWS | Tue. 16-18 | Audi Max

This lecture focuses on anglophone postcolonial cinemas. This includes Third Cinema or imperfect cinema and its transfer to African and Caribbean cinema, as well as popular film, art cinema and 'mainstream' feature films that capitalise on the postcolonial. The lecture also looks at a range of regional traditions, including African, Caribbean, Indian, Australian, native North American and black British cinema.


Black British Film

095899 | Hauptseminar | 2 SWS | Wedn. 18-20 (14tägl.) in room 101 and Thur. 8.30-10 in room S3

Black and Asian Britons have been represented in British films since the 1920s. This seminar, however, will focus on Black and Asian British films that have been made from the 1970s onwards, in the wake of Horace Ové Pressure (1975), the first Black British feature film. Written by Ové and Sam Selvon, Pressure was the struggle between first- and second-generation Caribbean immigrants to the UK. When the TV station "Channel 4" was founded in 1982, its explicit remit to serve minority interests meant that black film production received a lot of support and stimulation. Playing Away (1986), based on a script by Caryl Phillips, was one of the first films fully funded by Channel 4. Companies such as Sankofa, Ceddo, Retake Film and Video and Black Audio Collective, emerging from the workshop movement, produced their first feature films, Passion of Remembrance (1986), Majdhar (1985), Testament (1988), resepectively, in which black actresses were given lead roles for the first time in British cinema. The 1990s arguably built on some of the gains of the 1980s. Isaac Julien's Young Soul Rebels (1991), an interracial gay romance set against the political turbulence of 1980s Britain, was inspired by the success of My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). Ngozi Onwurah became the first Black British female director of a feature film with Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), and Julien Henrique's musical feature Babymother (1998) told a story entirely within a closed Black British environment. The noughties saw two big budget films starring Black British talent - Hotel Rwanda (2004) and Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and there is a confidence among new Black British writers and directors, who are finding crossover audiences with gritty realistic teenage dramas such as Bullet Boy (2004) and A Way of Life (2004).

The class consists of two parts: a weekly seminar on Thursday mornings and bi-weekly screenings on Wednesday evening. Student presentations will be assigned during our first (mandatory) session in February (see notice board for details).


Betreuungsseminar Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft (für Examenskandidaten)

095975 | 2 SWS | Thur. 14-16 | H 19

Diese Veranstaltung ist auf die Bedürfnisse von Studierenden zugeschnitten, die sich bei mir zum Examen angemeldet haben, die bei mir eine Modulabschlussprüfung absolvieren, oder denen ich vom Prüfungsamt als Prüfer zugewiesen wurde.

Die Veranstaltung befasst sich - in unterschiedlichen Sitzungen - mit allen Prüfungstypen; es geht es um schriftliche Prüfungen (Klausuren), mündliche Abschlussprüfungen (Staatsexamen/Magister), Modulabschlussprüfungen (mündlich, schriftlich) sowie um die Anfertigung von schriftlichen Hausarbeiten bzw. Examensarbeiten. Spezifische Probleme und Strategien der Prüfungsvorbereitung werden besprochen; Prüfungssimulationen können durchgeführt werden.

Der Syllabus wird in der ersten Sitzung am 22. April gemeinsam erstellt. Teilnehmer besuchen nur die für sie relevanten Sitzungen, sowie zwei verbindliche Plenarsitzungen.

Persönliche Anmeldung ist nicht erforderlich (sie erfolgt in der ersten Sitzung am 22.4.10), aber die elektronische Anmeldung in HISLSF ist erforderlich.

1. Session: 22.4.2010 (obligatorische Sitzung)

Set Text: "Dissemination" by Homi K. Bhabha (Ordner zur Veranstaltung in der IB)


Postcolonial, Transnational, and Transcultural Studies (Postgraduate class)

096178 | 2 SWS | Wedn. 16-18 | 101

The colloquium provides the space for discussing recent as well as by now classic texts from postcolonial, transnational and transcultural studies. The thematic focus for the winter semester will be social, cultural, and intellectual transmigrations. It is also a forum for presenting ongoing reserach towards MA-, Staatsexamen-, PhD-theses, or Habilitationen. 


Kolloquium (Promotion)

092536 | 1 SWS | Mon. 14-16 | 401

In this  forum, members of the Graduate School Practices of Literature present their work in progress.


Dr. Marga Munkelt

Chicano Drama

095760 | Hauptseminar | Wedn. 14-16 | 031

This course will focus on Chicano (i.e., Mexican-American) Drama among the variety of plays by those ethnic groups in the USA often collectively labeled “Hispanics” or “Latinos.” Not infrequently, Chicano Drama is identified with the name of Luis Valdez, who founded the nonprofessional Teatro Campesino in the 1960s in order to give a voice to the so-called farmers’ riots in California under César Chávez. After his role as playwright and director of a group of farm-workers, Valdez went through various
artistic phases, until, in the 1970s, he became also commercially successful with his famous Los-Angeles production of Zoot Suit. This play then became the first (and only) production of a Chicano play on Broadway. Its being turned into a movie in 1981 initiated Luis Valdez’ current activities as a film-maker.
A major part of the semester will be devoted to selected plays by Luis Valdez. We will, in particular, examine the ways in which he uses traditional Mexican-American myths, themes and literary forms to make his plays entertaining as well as politically instructive. Thus, in line with Bertolt Brecht’s concept of the epic theatre, he integrates non-dramatic elements into his plays–such as narratives, romances or ballads sung to music (corridos) and a narrator or commentator. We will, in addition, be concerned with various female playwrights and discuss plays by Josefina López, Cherríe Moraga and Estela Portillo Trambley, among others. Our class work will be embededed in an exploration of both, drama as the genre to be performed in the theatre and drama as the genre sharing characteristics with the medium film.

All class members will participate in a study group and write an individual research paper. All participants must have read Zoot Suit before the beginning of the semester: there will be a short test in the first class meeting.
A mandatory preliminary meeting (“Vorbesprechung”) will take place in the first week of February 2010. Please see notice board.

First Meeting:
See notice board.

Valdez, Luis. Zoot Suit and Other Plays. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press, 1992 (ISBN: 1-55885-048-1).
Feyder, Linda, ed. Shattering the Myth: Plays by Hispanic Women. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press, 1992; 2nd printing 1994 (ISBN: 1-55885-041-4).
Other texts will be made available.

Seminar für MEd. Gym/Ges, BK, BAB -
nicht für MEd. GHR!

Shakespeare and Genre

096288 | Seminar | 2 SWS | Tue. 14-16 | H20
Master of Arts “British, American and Postcolonial Studies,” 2. Semester
Wahlpflichtmodul II.1.1: Texts & Categories in Historical Perspectives

The first collection of Shakespeare’s plays, the First Folio (1623), classifies the 36 plays canonised seven years after his death as Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Since the eighteenth century, when editing Shakespeare began to develop as a discipline, editors have tried not only to determine possible characteristics of these three categories but also to explain the inclusion or exclusion of problematic candidates. Although the Folio classification has not altogether been abandoned, in most modern critical editions additional categories like “Romances” or “Problem Plays” have been created and some of the traditional categories have been further subdivided into classes like “Roman Plays” or “Königsdramen” and the like. Since,
interestingly, in modern editions some of Shakespeare’s plays appear in what seems to be opposing categories (e.g., Troilus and Cressida and The Two Noble Kinsmen appear both as comedy or tragedy; Pericles and The Tempest as both comedy or romance, Richard the Second as both history or as tragedy, to name only a few), it seems worth while investigating the stability of early modern and current genre characteristics as well as evaluating them against classical theories of genre like Aristotle’s.
The goal of the seminar is to identify classical and native elements of English drama in Shakespeare’s plays, on the one hand, and to explore their developments, refinements and variations across the Shakespeare canon, on the other. Among the plays suggested for discussion will be representatives from both Shakespeare’s Elizabethan and Jacobean phases, such as The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and All’s Well That Ends Well; Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth, and
Richard the Third; Julius Caesar or Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Two Noble Kinsmen. The final decision about the plays will be made in a preliminary meeting.

Course requirements:
individual or group presentation and a research paper.

Preliminary meeting:
There will be a mandatory preliminary meeting (“Vorbesprechung”) in the first week of February 2010. See notice board.

Texts will be announced after the preliminary meeting.
To those students who are interested in purchasing a complete-works edition, I recommend The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans et al. ( 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997) or The Complete Works, ed. David Bevington (6th ed. London: Longman, 2008), although it does not contain The Two Noble Kinsmen). Individual good modern critical editions are easily available, for example the New Cambridge Shakespeare, the Arden Shakespeare or the Oxford Shakespeare.

Übung zum Seminar "The Condition-of-England Novel from Disraeli to Ali"

096311 | Übung | 2 SWS | Thur. 16-18 | S3

This class is a mandatory supplement to the seminar “The Condition of England Novel” in the module “Systematic Perspectives: Literature” (II.2.1). As outlined in the module description, the objectives of this supplementary class are a specification of the seminar topic, on the one hand, and its intensification, on the other. Thus, the class will focus on Elizabeth Gaskell as a female condition-of-England novelist and will concentrate on her two novels Cranford (1851-53) and North and South (1854-55) as representations of rural (Cranford) and urban (North and South) life in Victorian England.
If time allows, we may also touch on Cousin Phyllis (1863-4).
Our examination of the political/social conditions and gender hierarchies as presented in these novels will be positioned within the framework of the mid-Victorian industrialisation and educational concepts. The class-work will include discussions of such aspects as professional choices for women and possibilities of crossing class boundaries. Our systematic perspectives of literature will also be concerned with the novel as a literary genre (particularly the episodic novel
and the short novel) and narrative techniques as well as with the field of writing and publishing in the nineteenth century.
In addition to the two novels we will read documents of the time.
The class will also be open for upper-level non-BAPS students who are interested in the topic, but they will, unfortunately, not be able to earn credit.
There will be a mandatory preliminary meeting (“Vorbesprechung”) in the first week of February 2010. Please see notice board.

Gaskell, Elizabeth. Cranford and Cousin Phillis. Ed. Peter Keating. Penguin English Library. Harmondsworth and London: Penguin Classics, 1977 (ISBN: 0140431047).
Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South. Ed. Alan Shelston. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2005 (ISBN: 0393979083).

Research Modul I: Postgraduate Class

096273 | 2 SWS | Thur. 10-12

The two-semester postgraduate class intends to assist students in choosing and defining fields of interest within the MA curriculum that are appropriate for independent study. The purpose is to outline possible research areas, topics, and approaches that might ultimately be relevant for students’ final MA-theses or other advanced projects. Although we will continue to discuss key theoretical and methodological aspects within literary and cultural studies, the focus will be on
students’ needs for and progress of their own research. The class will be a combination of in-class discussions and presentations and individual supervision in sessions outside the classroom.
In this second part of the course each student will give at least one in-class presentation (ca. 30 minutes) and write one academic essay (ca. 5 pages).

First meeting:
see notice board

Course details will be discussed in the first class meeting.

The course will take place as announced, but for technical reasons online registration is not yet possible. Please try again later. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Dr. Silke Stroh

William Morris & the Victorian Age

095353 | 2 SWS | Wedn. 10-12

During the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), British society and culture underwent a number of profound transformations. The immensely varied career of William Morris (1834-1896) - writer, craftsman, interior designer, businessman, journalist, political activist, publisher and environmentalist - is a good starting point to explore the social and intellectual history as well as the literature and art of this period.
This seminar will study various aspects of his work and its wider social, intellectual and artistic contexts. Aspects to be covered include industrialisation, urbanisation, mass culture, economic relations, the rise of socialism, medievalism, the Arts and Crafts Movement, gender roles, utopian fiction, and poetry. We will also study aspects of the modern reception of Morris and his age, e.g. in academic criticism and in popular culture.
In addition, we will devote a few sessions to potential professional applications of the course topics in students' intended future careers, e.g. in school teaching and other fields (depending on class composition).

ERASMUS-STUDENTS only: ECTS: 3 credits / with paper, presentation 5 credits
A short preparatory class session will take place in the last week of the winter semester, i.e. on Monday, 1 February, from 4.15 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. in room H 19.

One of the set texts will be:
Morris, News from Nowhere, repr. in News from Nowhere and other writings, ed. Clive Wilmer, London et al.: Penguin 1993, repr. 2004.
A list of further set texts (primary and secondary) will be made available in the near future.
Most texts will be shorter excerpts from larger works, and will thus be made available in a class folder (mastercopies) in the library.


Revolutionary Freedoms: Entangled histories of the American and Haitian revolutions

095368 | 2 SWS | Mon. 16-18

This seminar will explore an immensely popular literary genre from an academic perspective. Aspects to be covered include general definitions and theories of this genre, its history, reasons for its popularity, the detailed analysis of selected influential primary sources, fantasy literature on film, and the role of fantasy in popular culture. In addition, we will devote a few sessions to potential professional applications of the course topics in students' intended future careers, especially in school teaching but potentially also in other fields (depending on class composition). 

A short preparatory class session will take place in the last week of the winter semester, i.e. on Monday, 1 February, from 5.00 p.m. (s.t.!) to 5.45 p.m. in room H 19.

I. Set texts:
A core set text will be:
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (various editions available; no particular editionprescribed).
We will also study 2 additional novels:
one from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (inclusion under the 'fantasy' heading debatable, but this issue will be addressed in class discussions)
and one from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series (possible candidates are Sorcery, Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms and Lords and Ladies).
Details which volumes from these two series will become set texts will be announced by the end of the winter semester.
There will also be a number of shorter set texts (e.g. critical essays). These will be made available in a class folder (mastercopies) in the departmental library.

II. Recommended (but not mandatory!) additional reading includes:
Tolkien, The Silmarillion
------, The Hobbit
Rowling, J.K. (all remaining six volumes of the Harry Potter Series which are not the set text)
Pratchett, T.: selected other volumes from the Discworld series
It is also recommended that students have a knowledge of at least some of the film versions of the books discussed in class.


Dr. Markus Schmitz

Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism from W.E.B DuBois to Walter Mignolo

096235 | 2 SWS | Wedn. 14-16 | Rm. 401

Cosmopolitan ideas have not only been at work during most moments of modernity but were closely linked to the emergence of the colonial world. The colonization of the Americas in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, and of Africa and Asia in the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, consolidated the image of the West as a geopolitical center that exhibits a chronological movement of global expansion.
While discursive projects toward this kind of planetary order (as represented in the works of Kant, Hegel or Marx) have often failed to escape the ideological frame imposed by colonial-racist practice, at least from the early twentieth century onwards the former silenced and marginalized voices are bringing themselves into the conversation of cosmopolitan projects, rather than waiting to be included.

Critics such as W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Anouar Abdel-Malek, Abdeklebir Khatibi, Walter Mignolo, and Dipesh Chakrabarty argue that the universal (as well as humanism and democracy) can no longer be articulated from one abstract point of view, within a single logic. They do not address problems of global rights, justice and equality as to be thought out by way of inclusion into Western humanity and instead insist articulating these issues dialogic, emerging from the various spatial and historical locations of (post-)colonial difference.  Their criticism takes the form of border thinking or border epistemology - that is to think globalization from the diverse perspectives of people in subaltern positions. Thus border thinking becomes a "tool" of the project of critical cosmopolitanism (Mignolo 2000). While critical cosmopolitanism is necessary related to an increasingly transnational world it is clearly a counter project to colonial and neo-colonial globalization.

This course introduces critical key works that open the possibility of imagining border thinking as the necessary condition for a future cosmopolitanism in which everyone participates instead of being participated. In class we will reflect these works within the cultural and historical context of colonialism, anti-colonialism and post-colonialism to explore the specific geohistorical and ideological formations that shaped them.
The course invites participants studying the idea of cosmo-polis not through the exclusionary Western concept of universal humanity but through works that question the morality of a global community designed on the predicament of European exceptionality and superiority. Going beyond abstract cosmopolitan ideals that had helped to preserve the hegemonic role of Europe and North America it simultaneously provides an introduction to seminal debates within the field of cultural globalization, multiculturalism, and postcolonial humanism.

First class meeting: 14.04.2010

Introductory Reading:

Mignolo, Walter D.. Local Histories/Global Designs. Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledge, and Border Thinking. New York: Princton, NJ: Princton UP, 2000.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: Norton, 2007.

Guests are welcome to participate, however without credits.

Students are expected to give an oral presentation and contribute regularly to discussions in class. For accreditation, a term paper (5.000 words, MLA-style) is required.

Introductory texts must be read before the beginning of the semester.


Dr. Christine Vogt-William

Queer Sexualities in Postcolonial Novels

095391 | Block (14.06.10 - 18.06.10)

Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy (1997)
Shani Mootoo, Cereus Blooms at Night (1996)
Ameena Meer, Bombay Talkie (1994)
Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) = play
My Beautiful Laundrette = Film on DVD


Race and Cultural Identity in Caribbean Women's Writing

095554 | Block  (21.06.10 - 25.06.10)

Oonya Kempadoo, Buxton Spice (2004)
Olive Schreiner, The Arrival of the Snake Woman (1989) = short story
Ramabai Espinet, The Swinging Bridge (2003)
---------------------, Barred: Trinidad 1987 (1992) = short story
Merle Hodge, Crick Crack Monkey (2000)


Incest and Violence in African American and South Asian Women's Writing

095793 | Block  (02.08.10 - 06.08.10)

Nicht für GHR-Studierende!

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1993)
Shani Mootoo, Cereus Blooms at Night (1996)
Arundhati Roy, God of Small Things (1997)
Alice Walker, The Colour Purple (1984)
Steven Spielberg, The Colour Purple (1985) = (Film on DVD)


Partition Novels: Colonial History and Gender Issues in India

095903 | Block (12.07.10 - 16.07.10)

Shauna Singh Baldwin, What the Body Remembers (1998)
Manju Kapur, Difficult Daughters (1999)
Anita Rau Badami, Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? (2007)
Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India (Ice-Candy Man) (1991)
Deepa Mehta, 1947 / Earth (1998) = Film on DVD, based on Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy Man