Founded In    1956
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English, German
     

Fields of Interest

 

literature, cultural studies, history, political science, linguistics, critical theory, teaching of American Studies

     
ISSN   0340-2827
     
Editorial Board

General Editor:
Oliver Scheiding

Review Editor:
Christa Buschendorf

Editorial Board:
Christa Buschendorf
Andreas Falke
Hans-Jrgen Grabbe
Alfred Hornung
Sabine Sielke

Managing Editor:
Damien B. Schlarb

Assistant Editor:
Nele Sawallisch

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Manuscripts and books for review should be submitted to the editorial office in Mainz. There is no obligation to review unsolicited books.
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheiding
FB 05 Dept. of English and Linguistics Amerikanistik
Johannes Gutenberg - University Mainz
Jakob Welder Weg 20 (Philosophicum II), room 02-229
55128 Mainz, Germany
Phone: +49 6131 39 20 296
Fax: +49 6131 39 20 356
Email: amst@uni-mainz.de
In view of the computerized production of the journal, manuscripts of articles and reviews can only be accepted if submitted as computer files (preferably MS Word) and accompanied by a printout. Please note the following formal requirements:
– Article manuscripts - manuscript text, abstract, notes, list of works cited - should not exceed 60,000 to 70,000 characters (including spaces).
– All articles must be preceded by an abstract in English of no more than 200 words.
– Since Amerikastudien / American Studies follows a blind-review system, articles should contain no references to the author.
– An Amerikastudien / American Studies style sheet is available under http://www.amerikastudien.de/quarterly/
The editorial team gladly provides a MS Word document template file (DOT) that is used for pre-typesetting (preflighting).

     

Amerikastudien / American Studies

ALTTEXT

Amerikastudien / American Studies is the journal of the German Association for American Studies. It started as the annual Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien in 1956 and has since developed into a quarterly with some 1200 subscriptions in Europe and the United States. The journal is dedicated to interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives and embraces the diversity and dynamics of a dialogic and comparatist understanding of American Studies. It covers all areas of American Studies from literary and cultural criticism, history, political science, and linguistics to the teaching of American Studies. Thematic issues alternate with regular ones. Reviews, forums, and annual bibliographies support the international circulation of German and European scholarship in American Studies.
(www.amerikastudien.de/quarterly/)
Editor: Oliver Scheiding
Address: Amerikastudien/American Studies
FB 05 Dept. of English and Linguistics Amerikanistik
Johannes Gutenberg - University Mainz
Jakob Welder Weg 20 (Philosophicum II), room 02-229
55128 Mainz, Germany
Phone: +49 6131 39 20 296
Fax: +49 6131 39 20 356
Email: amst@uni-mainz.de

 

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Network Theory and American Studies, Vol. 60, No.1

Introduction: Network Theory and American Studies


The Network as a Category in Cultural Studies and as a Model for Conceptualizing America


The article presents a short survey of the definitions, areas of use, and terminological properties of 'the network.' Networks are understood as empirical entities as well as conceptual models, and the network is conceived of as a descriptive as well as an analytical category. Its main properties are recursive interconnectivity, nodality, as well as distributed agency. The links are at least as important as the individual nodes, and networks are always dynamic and emergent entities. The essay discusses representations of networks as well as the network itself as a form of representation. It looks at the Internet as the master network of our times, at knowledge networks, as well as at globalization -- which can be conceptualized within the model -- and then discusses the ways in which 'America' can be better understood by thinking about it in terms of network structures. This concerns early uses of the metaphor in literature, the shift to relational and processual thinking in Pragmatism, as well as political structures. Finally, network structures are explored in narration, painting, as well as music. The article introduces the conceptual tools and framework for the more specifically focused essays that follow in this issue.

Networks NOW: Belated Too Early


What is it about networks that makes them such a compelling, universal concept? How has 'it's a network' become a valid answer: the end rather than the beginning of the analysis? Why and how has it become the diagram for both global capital and contemporary U.S. society? This article addresses these questions by arguing that networks have been central to the emergence, management, and imaginary of neoliberalism, in particular to its narrative of individuals collectively dissolving society. Tracing the ways in which networks, or more precisely the mapping of networks, were embraced as a way to evaporate the postmodern confusion that dominated the late-seventies and early-eighties, this article reveals that the force of networks stems from how they are imaged and what they are imagined to do. Networks allow us to trace and to spatialize unvisualizable interactions as flows: from global capital to environmental risks, from predation to affects. To begin to imagine networks differently, this article argues that, rather than focusing on network maps and connections, we need to think about new media in terms of habitual repetition and leaks.

Dj Vu: Serres after Latour, Deleuze after Harman, 'Nature Writing' after 'Network Theory'


In today's academic landscape, network theories are gaining in discursive and operational currency. In his book Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics, for instance, Graham Harman introduces Latour's actor-network theory into what Harman calls "object-oriented philosophy." In order to understand the success of recent network theories and to put them into both historical and conceptual perspectives, this essay revisits some network theories avant la lettre. Such an 'archaeology of the future' is needed because neither Latour nor Harman reference important precursers of network theory, such as Gregory Bateson, Gilles Deleuze, or Michel Serres, in any serious manner. First, the essay describes some of the main characteristics of Latour's actor-network theory in the light of and against Harman's argument in Prince of Networks. Second, it shows in what ways the practice of 'nature writing' could be thought of as a precursor of network theory. Third, it delineates some Deleuzian concepts that might be helpful for future network theories. In its conclusion, this essay argues that 'doing network theory' implies a number of fundamental changes in the practice of literary and cultural studies, as well as in the practice of the humanities in general.

Network and Seriality: Conceptualizing (Their) Connection


Just as the concepts of networks and networking, the principle of seriality and forms of series production have enjoyed much currency lately in divergent fields of scholarly and scientific inquiry. Moreover, both networks and series are increasingly recognized as viable structural patterns of media and media formats. Why is it, then, that we embrace the trope of the network wholeheartedly and tend to downplay the insistence of seriality? This essay first addresses a few possible answers to this question to subsequently explore the proximity of the two concepts.

America as Network: Notions of Interconnectedness in American Transcendentalism and Pragmatism


The network represents a prevalent figure of thought in U.S. American culture. This essay argues that American Transcendentalism and Pragmatism, as precursors to current network theories, share a particular mode of 'networked thinking' that relies on concepts commonly associated with 'America' or 'Americanness' such as decentralization, informal associations, mobility, adaptation, and distributed power relations. The reading of some exemplary texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, William James, and Gertrude Stein examines the various ways in which they propose and negotiate visions of interconnection in relation to notions of the self, creativity, and geographical/cultural space. As a more or less explicit conceptual model, the network allows these texts to explore epistemological, aesthetic, and political questions in relation to conceptions of the U.S. as a constantly shifting, yet integrative configuration.

"The Irreducible Complexity of the Analog World": Nodes, Networks, and Actants in Contemporary American Fiction


Using Bruno Latour's Actor-Network-Theory as an interpretative framework, this paper discusses Daniel Suarez's Daemon (2006) and Richard Powers' Gain (1998) as two contemporary novels that attempt to represent (and ultimately map) a world governed by social/technological/economic networks. Both texts investigate what happens to our notions of agency and self-determinacy when characters and environments are conceptualized as distributed processes of interconnectivity and recursiveness. Whereas Daemon largely relies on particularized and psychologically coherent characters who have to navigate a networked world in which a decentralized computer system begins to take over the United States, Gain pushes the network trope even further by suggesting that the individual itself (both as a social and as a narrative construction) is actually a complex network and that fiction must respond to this paradigm by reevaluating both realistic and postmodern modes of representation.

The Novel as "the Most Complex Artifact of Networking": The Relevance of Network Theory for the Study of Transcultural Fiction


While the study of networks has proliferated in the information, social, and natural sciences, literary critics to date have been hesitant to examine the theoretical implications of network analysis for literary and cultural studies. This essay explores the contribution that network theory can make to the study of transcultural fiction and, hence, by extension, to transnational American Studies. Transcultural narratives aim to forge new connections between diverse literary and cultural traditions. They privilege connectivity, reciprocity, and processuality to undermine notions of cultural purity, autonomy, and stability and to undo the essentialist concepts of identity and alterity these give rise to. Taking Junot Daz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) as its test case, this essay argues that the concept of the network provides a productive heuristic tool for the analysis of the discursive concerns, representational strategies, and cultural relevance of transcultural fiction.

Toward an Integrative Model of Performance in Transnational American Studies


This essay argues for a deeper and more theoretically funded integration of Performance Studies approaches into the field of (transnational) American Studies. It suggests that issues which have become central to the American Studies agenda in the wake of the transnational turn can be fruitfully and at times more adequately addressed by the study of 'cultural performances.' We explore theoretical parameters rooted in both fields and link them to conceptual (hypo-) theses that call for and highlight the potential of such an interdisciplinary and integrative approach. Based on the idea of culture as a corporeal, communal, and dynamic event rather than a stable textual product, we position the local particularities of cultural performance vis--vis the dynamics of global mobility. For this purpose, we propose a twofold understanding of 'cultural performance' that fuses two disciplinary trajectories: First, we need to examine the role and impact of 'cultural performances' as particular acts of cultural expression (like daily rituals, festive occasions, or theatrical events) in transnational contact zones -- sites in which cultures meet, grapple with each other, and inevitably negotiate questions of socio-political agency, representation, and power. Second, we need to develop and evaluate 'cultural performance' as a methodological approach for the study of transnational processes.

Other Issues

South Africa and the United States in Transnational American Studies,
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 3,
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 1
Iconographies of the Calamitous in American Visual Culture, Vol. 58, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 3
Pragmatism's Promise, Vol. 58, No. 2
Amerika Studien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 1
Tocqueville's Legacy: Towards a Cultural History of Recognition in American Studies , Vol. 57, No.4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, 57.3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012 - Conceptions of Collectivity in Contemporary American Literature, Vol. 57, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, Vol. 57, Vol. 1
American Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Vol. 56, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012, Vol. 56, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 1
African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges , Vol. 55, No. 4
Trauma's Continuum -- September 11th Reconsidered, Vol. 55, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010, Vol. 55, No. 2
Poverty and the Culturalization of Class , Vol. 55, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 4
American History/ies in Germany: Assessments, Transformations, Perspectives, Vol. 54, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 2
Appropriating Vision(s): Visual Practices in American Women's Writing, Vol. 54, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008, Vol. 53, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 - Die Bush-Administration: Eine erste Bilanz, Vol. 53, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008, Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 Vol. 53, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008 - Inter-American Studies and Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 53, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007, Vol. 52, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007 - Teaching American Studies in the Twenty-First Century, Vol. 52, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007, Vol. 52, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2007 - Transatlantic Perspectives on American Visual Culture, Vol. 52, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006, Vol. 51, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006 - Asian American Studies in Europe, Vol. 51, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006, Vol. 51, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2006 - Multilingualism and American Studies , Vol. 51, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005, Vol. 50, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005 - Early American Visual Culture, Vol. 50, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2005 - American Studies at 50, Vol. 50, Nos. 1/2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.2
Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature, Vol. 60, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2015, Double Issue, Vol. 60, No. 2/3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.1