November 2020

Juliane Borosch is reading the article “In Detroit, a Hallowed Ground for Auto Workers Finally Gets Its Due” by Namrata Kolachalam on CityLab. The article sheds light on a forgotten labor protest by Ford workers of the River Rouge factory that is being memorialized in a new city park. The article relates past struggles to current topics of sustainability and social justice. It is not only relevant for the topics we study, but offers some historical depth to workers’ and civil rights efforts during this pandemic and protest movements.



Chris Katzenberg


is reading the fascinating work of the Detroit poet Jamaal May for an upcoming article. May’s recent collections Hum (2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (2016) inspire my thinking about the possibilities of identity construction in present-day, postindustrial Detroit. You can learn more about Jamaal May and sample some of his wonderful poetry at the Poetry Foundation, and I recommend the poem “Shift” (2015).

Maria Sulimma is reading Coffeeland: A History (2020) by Augustine Sedgewick. For my project on literary representations of coffee drinking and cafés, I have already read several international histories of coffee (coffee drinking, coffee growing, coffee trade). This may be my favorite one. Historian Sedgewick expands from the coffee production in El-Salvador, includes a decolonial perspective, and is interested in discourses surrounding energy and coffee as a ‘work drug’ that are very compatible with my research on coffee drinking and industrialism in the 19th century.

Our Past Reading
Prof. Dr. Josef Raab passed away on November 10, 2019 after a long battle against terminal illness. / © L. Raab

Thank you,

to our colleague, advisor, and mentor Josef Raab, who sadly passed away last weekend after a long and brave battle against terminal illness. Josef Raab was the chair of American Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He paved the way for the discipline of Inter-American Studies, significantly shaping its core debates. As a champion and supporter of the Ruhr Center for American Studies, he was also a pivotal figure for the establishment of our City Scripts research group. Josef Raab was a fighter of the good fight, never shy of supporting his students and of positively endorsing as well as tackling his colleagues. He never eschewed an argument he believed in. While he had to take a step back from in-person participation in recent months due to his illness, he was with us in thought and during our research. We lose a professor and mentor, who has accompanied and supported some of us since our bachelor’s degree, a colleague, who challenged us in academic discussions, and most of all a sincere and warm human soul.

All that is left for us to say now is, thank you and safe travels.