Winter Term 2018/2019

Below you will find all classes taught by staff members associated with the Chair of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies during the winter term 2018/2019. Additional courses will be added throughout the following weeks.

Prof. Dr. Mark U Stein
AOR Dr. habil. Markus Schmitz
Felipe Espinoza Garrido
Deborah Nyangulu
Julian Wacker

Prof. Dr. Mark U Stein

Postcolonial Poetry
094672 | Seminar | Wed. 10:00-12:00 | ES 131 | 2 SWS

This seminar reads a range of Anglophone poetry from around the globe and engages with theorisations of such texts as well. Which forms, which styles, which sounds do they produce? How do they relate to specific cultural and geographical contexts and how do they exceed them? Which texts and which traditions are cited, recirculated, or critiqued? From protest to queering, from pedagogy to performance, which functions are wielded by these poems? If you'd like to think about and discuss questions like these, then this class could be for you.

Ramazani, Jahan, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Poetry. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

'Remember the Ship in Citizenship': Migration, displacement, refugeeship
094591 | Lecture | Mon. 12:00-14:00 | JO 1 | 2 SWS

"The migrant" is taken to be the root of a so-called crisis by many. Arguably, crises are what causes migration, because "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark", as Warsan Shire wrote. This lecture focuses on literary and cultural products which reflect on migration, displacement, and refugeeship. After engaging with these and related terms on a conceptual level, we will read anglophone texts from a range of backgrounds. The aims are to generate a critical historical perspective on literatures of displacment and refugeeship; to compare texts from different periods and cultural backgrounds; and to engage with political and cultural interventions wielded by these cultural texts.

Caribbean Sounds: 'The hurricane does not roar in pentameters'
094722 | Hauptseminar | Thurs. 14:00-16:00 | ES 130
What does the Caribbean sound like? How can the Caribbean be represented? In his study, The History of the Voice, the Jamaican critic Kamau Brathwaite argues that the ”hurricane does not roar in pentameters.” As a Caribbean phenomenon, the hurricane, cannot be adequately expressed in a European form. More generally, Caribbean experience, culture, and thematics require Caribbean Creoles as opposed to standard English, and they require a range of poetic forms, Brathwaite suggested. This seminar engages with lyrics, poetry, and other text types in order to engage these questions. Writers on the syllabus include Derek Walcott, Una Marson, Louise Bennett, The Mighty Chalkdust and others.

Postgraduate Class (Literary Studies)
094721 | Kolloquium | Thurs. 10:00-12:00 | ES 333 | SWS 2

This is the first of a two-semester postgraduate class (Research Module I) for students of National & Transnational Studies. It is designed to assist students in defining individual fields of interest, topics, and approaches that are appropriate for independent study and that may lead to (or are relevant for) their final Master theses. The class is organized as a combination of presentations and in-class discussions and individual supervision outside the classroom.  Focusing on the participants’ needs for their own projects within the MA curriculum it provides a collaborative forum for the critical reflection of provisional research conceptions.

Students are expected to give an oral presentation on a subject of their choice and contribute regularly to discussions in class.


AOR Dr. habil. Markus Schmitz

Master-level seminar "Nation, Nationalism, Transnationalism": Historical and Theoretical Foundations
094716 | Master Seminar | Tue. 14-16 | ES 130 | Thu. 16-18 | ES 130 | 4 SWS

The so-called transnational turn marks one of the most recent epistemological shifts in the humanities and social sciences. It has profoundly challenged traditional assumptions on what scholarly practice is supposed to be on a truly global and transdisciplinary level. This course explores a wide variety of texts, issues and concepts which are central to the study of nationhood, nationalism and transnationalism. It sets particular focus on tensions between competing national and cultural concepts as well as on epistemological differences between national and transnational approaches for the study of culture and society.
Our in-class discussions will draw on a wide range of shared readings. The selection of texts will invite class participants to an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing especially on the fields of history, the social sciences, as well as literary and cultural theory. Topics to be discussed include: pre-modern notions of political and cultural community; the historical formation of modern national identifications; the transformation of national(ist) discourses in different socio-historical and/or cultural contexts such as anti- and post-colonial nation building; the tension between pedagogical and performative dynamics in the ambivalent construction of the nation and the  ongoing re-making of national belonging;  critical strategies of questioning the nation’s imagined cohesion and the essentialist claim of people and home; (critical) cosmopolitanism; gendered aspects,  racialized identifications, and class dimensions of and in national(ist) discourses; gender and sexuality in cross-cultural (mis-)representations; racism; ethnic nationalism, anti-colonial struggle, national liberation and the question of violence; nation(alism) and language policy; minori­ties; regionalism; stateless nations; civil wars and the refugee regime; transnational developments in the fields of supra-national cooperation; global capitalism, neo-colonialism and cultural globalization; (trans-)migration and diasporic identifications, eco-critical perspectives on the world society in the epoch of the anthropocene.
In class we will explore these and related topics by reading and critically discussing a number of theoretical texts and case studies from different parts of the world, including the British Isles, the Americas; South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. While the focus is on historical, political and theoretical issues, we will also include short literary representations and other cultural representations (i.e. audio-visual works) to see how wider socio-political phenomena are negotiated in the spheres of literature, music, film or the arts.

Class-participants will get access to an electronic course folder with all set texts. In addition an extended reading list will be provided.
First in-class meeting: 16. October

Postgraduate Class (Literary Studies)
094725 | Colloquium | Research module II | Wed. 14-16 | ES 226 | 2 SWS

This postgraduate class is designed as a collaborative forum for MA NTS students to present and discuss their individual MA NTS thesis projects. Students are expected to build on knowledge, experience and skills gained in Research Module I to further develop their independent studies in a conceptually coordinated way and present first significant textualized steps which will complement their Master theses. The class also offers space for the discussion of post-MA career plans and ways of realizing them.
First class meeting: 17 October

Colloquium Postgraduate School Practices of Literature
094739 | DoktorandInnen-Kolloquium | Tue. 18-20 | room: t.b.a.

Dieses Kolloquium ist ausschließlich für Promovierende der Postgraduate School Practices of Literature geöffnet.


Felipe Espinoza Garrido

To be announced


Deborah Nyangulu

Social Protests, Social Media, and Hashtag Movements
094698 | MA Seminar | Tues. 10-12 | Room t.b.c.
This seminar open to MA students explores the link between social protests and social media networks with a focus on hashtag activism. The idea is to understand hashtag activism as not only a virtual occurrence but also as emerging out of and grounded in social protests (and to some degree also solidarities). Each week a group of students will research a specific hashtag movement focusing on how and why it emerged, and its effects. Some of the overall questions that will be answered in this seminar include: what is the relationship between networked social movements and political change, what are the differences between networked social movements and populist reactions of ideological nature, what is the role of celebrity in advancing hashtag movements, how and which hashtags come to matter.
Some of the hashtags to be researched in this seminar include #MeToo, #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall, #BringBackOurGirls, #PrayforParis. Students are also encouraged to suggest hashtags emerging from various parts of the world (email me your suggestions before our first session: ). While the seminar will be biased towards hashtags targeting social protest, we will also consider how the hashtag can function in multiple ways, eg to rally behind a cause (eg #IceBucketChallenge) or as an instrument of control and profiling by institutional power (eg #Nafri).
First session: 16.10.2018.
Preparatory reading: Manuel Castells’ Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age 2nd Edition (2015).
Students enrolled in this course will receive an email before our first session with further course readings and a tentative course outline. Make sure to check your university email before classes commence.

Hotspots in Literary/Cultural Studies and Linguistics
094715 | Lecture Series | Tuesdays 18 – 20 | ES131
In this lecture course, different scholars who work at the English Department present a lecture (followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion) either from a project they are currently working on, or from their area of specialization in general. This gives students the opportunity to gain insights about various fields within linguistic, didactic, literary and cultural studies with regard to Anglophone literatures, languages, and cultures, and the large extent of different subjects of research and teaching represented at the English Seminar.
First meeting: 16.10.2018 (students only)

Communicating Texts and Theories: Gruppe III
094640 | BA Übung | Tuesdays 10 – 12 | ES3
This exercise course (Übung) requires active class participation from students. We will explore how various theories can be used to interpret a literary text as well as how various contexts (historical, political, social, cultural, etc) come to bear on the production of a specific literary text. Please acquire and read the following novels before the first day of class: Imbolo Mbue's Behold the Dreamers (2016) and Ian McEwan's  Atonement (2001) . Each student will be expected to give an oral class presentation to pass the course. A course folder will be made available on Learnweb.
First day of class will be 16.10.2018. To all students enrolled in this course: please check your university email once the winter term starts as I will email you further course information.


Julian Wacker

"Edwardian Fiction and Empire"
094629 | Mon 14-16 | ES130

Although any periodization is always subject to scrutiny, Edward VII.’s ascendancy to the throne in 1901 and the beginning of World War I in 1914 demark what is commonly referred to, historically speaking, as ”The Edwardian Era”. In many ways, the Edwardian period inhabits an odd space in-between: While it stands in the shadows of Queen Victoria’s long reign throughout the nineteenth century, it precedes WW I and its fundamental impact on British society. In terms of literary categorization, this arguably manifests itself in Edwardian fiction’s positionality between the Victorian Bildungsroman and twentieth-century modernist writing. Retrospectively described as a ‘golden age’ of leisure life and upper-class splendor, Britain also witnessed shifts in its interior landscape with the working-class and women gaining a stronger political influence.

This seminar interrogates how Edwardian fiction responds to the aforementioned developments. More specifically, we will look at how Edwardian fiction engages with representations the British Empire and its still continuing, yet already crumbling influence after the turn of the century. How do Edwardian novels narrate imperialism? Do these texts perpetuate or subvert problematic representations of colonized people? In which ways do gendered portrayals of Empire manifest in literary terms after the shift from a female to a male sovereign? These are but a few questions that will guide us through the semester.

Reading: to be announced.