16 – 19 June 2011, Regensburg

Transnational approaches and theories have been reshaping the interdisciplinary field of American Studies at least since the turn of the millennium. The extension of traditional perspectives on the United States or on North America to include Atlantic Studies, Hemispheric Studies, Studies of the Americas, and Pacific Studies has generated fundamental questions with regard to the contents and concepts of ‘American Studies.’
Transnational approaches and comparative perspectives support and emphasize the exploration of multidirectional processes of interaction and transfer. These processes problematize the nation state as a point of reference for political, social, economic, and cultural systems. Concepts and categories such as, e.g., nation, identity, and American exceptionalism, are reevaluated and discussed in the context of globalization and virtualization processes. At the same time, these concepts and categories are investigated with regard to their lasting impact and appeal. As part of the ‘transnational turn,’ paradigms of migration and cultural mobility have taken definitions and practices of American Studies beyond traditional geographical and disciplinary limits.
Transnational American Studies examines the global role of the United States from a multitude of different angles, covering inside as well as outside perspectives. Individual studies focus on representations of transnational experiences and intercultural phenomena, past and present, in literature, film, photography, painting, music, memorial architecture, festival culture, material culture, etc. The plenary lectures and workshops of the 2011 Annual Conference of the German Association for American Studies will position transnational American Studies with respect to the theories, concepts, and contents governing such work. The conference will assess the insights and results that may or may not be gained from transnational perspectives, approaches, and materials. It will try to test and determine the significance and implications of the ‘transnational turn’ for the future of American Studies.

Plenary Speakers:
Maria Diedrich (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
Shelley Fisher Fishkin (Stanford University, CA)
Kristin Hoganson (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL)
Alfred Hornung (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Ian Tyrell (University of New South Wales, Sydney)