Founded In    2007
Published   annually
Language(s)   English
     

Fields of Interest

 

interdisciplinary american studies scholarship

     
ISSN   1865-8768
     
Editorial Board

rotating

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Detailed submission guidelines are available at: www.aspeers.com/submit
- Articles should not exceed 10,000 words in length (including notes, abstract and works cited) and must be written in English.
- Contributors must be enrolled in an MA(equivalent) program at a European University at the time of submitting.

     
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American Studies Leipzig
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aspeers: emerging voices in american studies

The editors at aspeers recognize the quality and importance of work being done at the graduate level in European American Studies Institutions.
Advanced students all over Europe produce outstanding and innovative American Studies scholarship. However, many excellent student theses, essays, and papers are not receiving the attention they deserve.

Therefore, aspeers seeks to give emerging scholars a voice: A platform to showcase their work beyond the graduate classroom and a forum for discussion and exchange. We believe that such wider circulation of graduate scholarship has great potential to further energize the field of American Studies. At the same time, aspeers offers emerging scholars the unique opportunity to publish and get recognition for their research at an early point in their careers.

For more information please reference our call for papers (www.aspeers.com/cfp), or visit our website at www.aspeers.com.

aspeers is a project within the American Studies MA Program at the University of Leipzig, Germany. With most members of the reviewing editorial staff being MA candidates, it currently is the only peer-reviewed publication channel for graduate students in European American Studies programs.

 

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aspeers 11 (2018), 11

With its 2018 issue, aspeers explores the topic of Alternative Americas, acknowledging that every decision, depiction, description, and analysis of ‘America’ is an alternative to the multitude of competing visions. The articles in this issue contribute to the emerging scholarship surrounding intermediality studies and Afropolitanism, as well as to more established areas of inquiry such as gender studies and postmodernism.

Foreword


Introduction: Starting Off a New Decade: On Alternatives, Contestations, and an Infinity of Possibility


The Heterosexual Economy in Uncle Tom's Cabin: The Threatening Presence of the Taboo in the Domestic Novel


Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin depicts a violent society shaped by and built around slavery but also offers a possibility of liberation from the sins it causes. This paper focuses on the novel's construction of alternatives to its main story as it positions the taboos surrounding gender and race against its Christian narrative. It is thus imperative to read Uncle Tom's Cabin considering Monique Wittig's work since it uncovers what is hinted at but never enacted. It is the unsaid that unveils the most dangerous aspects of a society in crisis, a society that at times even toys with the realization of the taboo. Categories of being, as conceptualized by Wittig, reveal their core when threatened by the anxieties present in the novel's characters and overall economy. The overarching equilibrium in Uncle Tom's Cabin is constantly challenged by the loss and following reestablishment of balance through the deterritorialization and reterritorialization of its characters. This article demonstrates how the domestic novel might be less conventional than it appears and how it sheds light onto the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in the violent spaces created by Uncle Tom's Cabin.

"Now Fact Has Become Opinion": 'Fake News' and the Search for Truth in The Daily Show


As an emerging phenomenon during the US presidential campaign 2016, 'fake news' has added a new layer to debates on media truthfulness. Donald Trump's use of statements which share characteristics with 'fake news' and are characterized by an indifference to facts has been magnified by journalists' inability to effectively fact-check his claims. My article uses the comedy program The Daily Show With Trevor Noah as a case study to highlight its critical interrogation of the media, its exposure of Trump's communication strategy, and its conviction in finding a discernible truth in relation to fake news. First, I outline the characteristics of 'fake news,' then I demonstrate how aspects of the postmodern carnivalesque are present in The Daily Show and used to highlight features of Trump's assertions. The program utilizes postmodern techniques to both mimic and critique the way in which the statements of the US President are covered by the media. I argue that the The Daily Show employs postmodern techniques such as Jürgen Habermas's concept of strategic speech to expose similarities between 'fake news' and the statements made by President Trump. Moreover, the show utilizes a questioning technique in its interview segments adhering to Habermas's parameters for communicative speech, which highlights the show's modernist understanding of a discernible truth.

Sewing Modernity: How the Sewing Machine Allowed for a Distinctively Feminine Experience of Modernity


Whether it allowed for women's employment, mass production and consumption of ready-to-wear fashion, encouraged their creative individuality through sewing patterns, accompanied them into the public sphere, or triggered their sociopolitical emancipation in protest marches: the sewing machine played a decisive part in women's experience of American modernity, mass culture, class, and (feminist) emancipation. Within symbiotically related experiences of modernity and mass culture, this paper reads the sewing machine as feminine modernity's very 'motor' that allowed for a distinctively feminine experience of modernity in New York City. It took up a complex middling position that oscillated along the public versus private sphere continuum, (class-biased) roles of producer and consumer, and, in a bidirectional movement, at once expanded and enforced women's spatial and socioeconomic boundaries. Emanating from theoretical frameworks of separate spheres and modernity in a gender context, I analyze this cultural artifact's representation. By examining contemporary sewing machines' designs and patterns of use as implied by trade cards and other forms of advertisement that targeted women of varying class, economic, and family status backgrounds in the modern era, the central role this machine played can come to the forefront.

Coming of Age in the Context of Hyperemotional Listening and Cognitive Mapping: Navigating the Emotional Landscape in Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why


Jay Asher's debut young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why is comprised of thirteen transcriptions of the late Hannah Baker's anecdotes which she recorded onto tapes before committing suicide, interspersed by Clay Jensen's reactions to said recordings. The novel is presented in the form of a dual narrative, switching back and forth between the points of view of the two protagonists. In addition to the represented medium of audio, the cartographic plays a dominant role in mapping the emotional landscape Clay experiences in the course of listening to Hannah's tapes and assessing his own role in her story. This essay explores to what degree the covertly intermedial interface of the novel contributes to the creation of narrative meaning, assessing the media-emotion nexus underlying the narrative. This article highlights the challenges of assessing the tracing and translating of the aesthetics of audio into text. Additionally, Marie-Laure Ryan's concept of cognitive mapping is applied to Asher's novel, thereby examining the interplay between the media of audio and the cartographic to establish the emotional landscape that characterizes this contemporary young adult suicide novel.

Afropolitanism for Black Women: Sexual Identity and Coming to Voice in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah


In discussing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's award-winning novel Americanah, this article aims to expand Taiye Selasi's concept of Afropolitanism. This term holds that Africans of the world "must form an identity along at least three dimensions: national, racial, cultural -- with subtle tensions in between," and my article proposes to include a sexual identity category. Considering the ongoing racist stigmatization of black sexuality in Western societies, I want to suggest that Selasi's conceptualization of Afropolitanism, while potentially open to expansion, is currently incomplete. It is crucial for female Afropolitans to form a racialized sexual identity as well. Drawing on black sexuality scholarship as well as insights regarding theories of intersectionality, I argue that through the detailed exploration of the protagonist Ifemelu's sexual identity, Americanah broadens the concept of Afropolitan identity construction for black heterosexual women. Ultimately, the novel insinuates that becoming a full subject is only possible when female racialized sexual experiences are consciously lived through and confronted, so that the voices of female Afropolitans can emerge.

Visions of America: An Interview with Professor Donald E. Pease


Other Issues

aspeers 9 (2016) - American Youth, 9
aspeers 10 (2017), 10
aspeers 8 (2015) - American Health, 8
aspeers 7 (2014) - American Anxieties, 7
aspeers 6 (2013) - American Memories, 6
aspeers 5 (2012) - American Food Cultures, 5
aspeers 4 (2011) - Nature and Technology, Revisited, 4
aspeers 3 (2010) - Crime and America, 3
aspeers 2 (2009) - Migration and Mobility, 2
aspeers 1 (2008), 1