2020 Ruhr PhD Forum in American Studies
Call for Papers

31 January to 1 February 2020 at Ruhr-University Bochum and TU Dortmund University

The doctoral colloquium Ruhr PhD Forum in American Studies offers PhD candidates in American Studies from the University Alliance Ruhr (UAR) a forum to present their dissertation projects as work in progress. The UAR consists of the Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. We welcome contributions focusing on the study of American history, culture, media, and literature. Presentations will be discussed by peers, American Studies professors of the three universities, and further senior scholars with a comprehensive perspective on American Studies. Commentators will provide advice and ideas on contents, theoretical foundations, as well as methodology. If you are interested in participating, please submit your proposal to ruhrphd@gmail.com by 1 November 2019.

For more information, please have a look at the complete Call for Papers

Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures:
American Models, Transatlantic Interventions

The research group Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions (short: City Scripts) explores the imaginative strategies and narrative scenarios which the centers of old industries (steel, coal and cars) in the United States and Germany are devising to forge paths into their futures. Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung for four years with a budget of 1.7 million, City Scripts is a joint endeavor of the American Studies Departments of the University Alliance Ruhr (Duisburg-Essen, Bochum, Dortmund).

From 2018 to 2022, seven doctoral candidates and one postdoctoral researcher carry out detailed studies of three prominent concepts of city planning (sustainability, inclusivity, and creativity). The objects of their research will be contemporary paradigms, processes of self-description, and operational strategies - in short, scripts - for the construction of ecologically sustainable, creative, but also socially and culturally inclusive futures for postindustrial cities. As part of City Scripts' innovative research and didactic concept, the researchers will collaborate with civic and industrial partners from urban business, administration, and civil society. Their projects draw on academic research, fieldwork and active cooperation with their respective partners. In doing so, the projects transcend the academic field of American Studies, incorporating approaches from Cultural Studies, History, and Media Studies.

The research group begins from an understanding of the frequently scripted nature of urban transformations as dependent on narrative acts, generic formula, medial forms and structures, figures of thought, as well as cognitive models. Because these urban transformations play into the core competencies of literary, cultural, and media studies as well as historical research, they require the sustained disciplinary attention of scholars in American Studies. US-American models are still powerful for these processes of urbanization, whether as blueprints or as emblems of developments to be feared. With its groundbreaking de-/re-industrialization processes and its shrinking, aging, and yet increasingly diverse population, the Ruhr region ("Ruhrgebiet") in which the research group is located resembles certain American cities. In a transatlantic comparison between two paradigmatic regions of postindustrial urban decline and restructuring, the German Ruhr region and the US-American Rust Belt, the researchers will undertake the study of American postindustrial scripts and their transatlantic (re)formulations.

For more information, please visit the official website

About the RuhrCenter of American Studies

RuhrCenter of American Studies

The RuhrCenter of American Studies

The RuhrCenter of American Studies integrates the rich American Studies resources of Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, and the University of Duisburg-Essen.The inaugural ceremony of the RuhrCenter of American Studies took place on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 with a key-note address by Carol Kahn Strauss, Executive Director of the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, on European Emigrés and the Transformation of American Culture. Our international Ph.D. program in Transnational and Transatlantic American Studies is open to young scholars from around the world. Research at the RuhrCenter of American Studies has a transnational, a hemispheric, and a transatlantic perspective; it focuses on American History, Literature, and Culture as nationally diverse and multi-ethnic as well as globally contextualized and interconnected. We invite you to join our group of international and interdisciplinary young scholars opening up new and exciting areas in American Studies.
Contact: dietmar.meinel[at]uni-due.de

Ruhr-University Bochum

American Studies in Bochum follows a historical as well as literary and cultural studies trajectory. Our approach to North America's history, culture, and literature is interdisciplinary and transnational, taking into account globalization, diaspora, and other current academic approaches and fields of research demanding a rethinking and reconstitution of our understanding of the United States and Canada. In American Studies we deal with different media – literature, poetry, film, television, archival material, etc. – and we investigate the construction of identities and communities in relation to space and history. Urban Studies, regionalism, and Body Studies help us to understand changing realities and conceptualizations of "nation – region – home," "race – class – identity," or "gender – beauty – body," their effects on North American culture, economy, and politics, as well as the processes that generate or shape change. Our interactive modes of teaching are based on our research; they involve students, doctoral researchers, and colleagues alike. We foster ties with other American Studies specialists in the U.S., Germany, and other parts of Europe; ties that provide for exchange opportunities and also result in inspiring lectures, workshops, and conferences supporting our transnational understanding of American Studies by enriching the regular curricula.

TU Dortmund

American Studies in Dortmund focuses on the manifold literary, cultural, and media texts in transatlantic narratives. We view American culture as a system of relationships and investigate the extensive discursive networks in which it is embedded – both on a national and an international level. As researchers we deal with 19th, 20th, and 21st century American spaces, media, and technologies. Our main objective is to understand the many stories that are shared and contested across the Atlantic Ocean and how they manifest themselves in all kinds of texts from novels, poems, essays, and histories to paintings, films, or computer games. In our project-oriented courses we promote individual research interests and encourage cooperative work. Our American Studies program interacts with many other departments and programs at TU Dortmund University, including religion, journalism, urban/regional planning, marketing, and engineering. Members of these programs frequently participate in the weekly meetings of the doctoral research group as well as in collaborative projects. We maintain student and research exchanges with fifteen colleges and universities all around the United States offering students and researchers direct and privileged access to overseas academic resources and networks.

University of Duisburg-Essen

American Studies at Duisburg-Essen is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of North America, its manifold and often conflicting cultural geographies, literary and cultural production, and multi-ethnic urban and rural societies. Major fields of inquiry include early modern, colonial, romantic, and contemporary literature and history, urban spaces and places, ethnicity, hemispheric and transatlantic relations, film, and television. We are particularly interested in the interconnections between U.S. American and Canadian, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures and literatures as well as in the imaginary and actual crossings of multiple borders in the Americas from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. Our program organized the 2010 inaugural conference of the International Association of Inter-American Studies and it is centrally involved in the university’s Main Research Area "Urban Systems." In collaboration with our international partners we engage in interdisciplinary research and teaching on issues ranging from urbanity and cosmopolitan networks for the production, distribution, and reception of North American literature, film, art, and performance to cultural hybridity, an inter-American culture industry, and a trans-border consumer culture.

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