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
Publisher   Winter
Editorial Board

General Editor:
Oliver Scheiding

Review Editor:
Christa Buschendorf

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

Managing Editor:
Damien B. Schlarb

Assistant Editor:
Nele Sawallisch

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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
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Amerikastudien / American Studies


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. Special-topics issues alternate with regular ones. Reviews, forums, and annual bibliographies support the international circulation of German and European scholarship in American Studies.
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


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Amerikastudien / American Studies 2008: Die Bush-Administration: Eine erste Bilanz, Vol. 53, No. 3

Einleitung: Die Bush-Administration: Eine erste Bilanz

Another Failed Presidency? Eine vorläufige Einschätzung der Präsidentschaft von G.W. Bush

This article is an attempt to evaluate the presidency of George W. Bush close to the completion of his second term, using Stephen Skowronek’s model of presidential leadership. I argue that Bush started out as a ‘preemptive leader,’ having to work against the hybrid regime established by the Clinton Administration (in conjunction with the Republican congressional majority in the 90s). His presidency was transformed by the terror attacks of September 2001 into a ‘reconstructive leadership,’ giving him the opportunity to reshape the foreign and domestic policy consensus and the major features of the international system. However, the ill-fated Iraq invasion doomed his reconstruction project to failure. Losing credibility with domestic and foreign audiences over his counterfactual interpretation of the war as part of the fight against terrorism, he basically lost “control over the meaning of what he did” (Skowronek, Politics). Skowronek’s model does not allow for the failure of ‘reconstructive’ leadership. In order to explain Bush’s failure, Fred Greenstein’s model of presidential leadership qualities is used to show that Bush failed largely because of his cognitive style, that is, his inability, for ideological and personal reasons, to frame the foreign policy challenges he faced in a coherent manner. It is argued that the assessment of failed presidency is not premature, as the administration at midway of its second term had little room left to get itself out of the impasse in which it found itself after the Iraq invasion. Also in domestic policy, it had exhausted most of its options.

Was war mit Amerika los? Die politische Landschaft der USA in der Ära George W. Bush

The article discusses variations of two competing interpretations of recent changes in the American political landscape and confronts them with several counter-narratives about preferences and attitudes of the American electorate: first, the thesis of a politically polarized America (‘red’ and ‘blue’) and the thesis of the United States as a ‘right nation’ are explored. How does polarization manifest itself, and how is it measured? Do certain segments of the electorate—white male working-class Americans from rural areas—keep the Republicans in power by voting against their economic interests, as Thomas Frank has argued, and if so, what can Democrats do about it? Have conservative forces gained hegemony over political discourse in the United States during the George W. Bush era? One of several counter-narratives, which is analyzed in the second part of this article, holds that the thesis of a polarized America is a widely believed myth, but that the claim of America as deeply divided on fundamental political issues is a misconception created by the media and the pundit industry. The polarization thesis, as a counter-narrative put forward by political scientists such as Morris P. Fiorina argues, mistakes the polarization of the political class in Washington, DC, for the polarization of the American public, which, according to Fiorina’s interpretation of survey data from various waves of National Election Studies, is not supported by the available data on voter preferences and attitudes. In a similar fashion, the thesis of working-class conservatism as a source of Republican strength is debunked by several academic political scientists. In the final part of this article, merits and pitfalls, strengths and weaknesses of the polarization thesis and its counter-narratives are weighed and discussed.

Lessons To Be Learned: Die Bush-Doktrin, der Irakkrieg und die präventive Weltordnungspolitik der USA

George W. Bush’s concept of preventive war, which has been a centerpiece of the so-called Bush doctrine, has failed. Three years after the beginning of the Iraq war, the United States started facing the most serious foreign policy crisis since Vietnam. What lessons can be drawn from the failure of the Bush doctrine for U.S. foreign policy making after 9/11? The article focuses on the framing of the Iraq war by the administration, the failure of the national security decisionmaking system, the lack of congressional oversight, the cost sensitivities of a rational public, and the lack of international support in mapping out the prospects for U.S. world order policy after 9/11.

Wolfowitz’ Weltbild verstehen: Entwicklung und Profil eines ‘demokratischen Realisten’ vom Wohlstetter-Schüler zum Weltbank-Präsidenten

This article provides an intellectual portrait of Paul Wolfowitz, the often proclaimed ‘architect’ of the war against Baghdad, focusing on the foreign policy views of this neo-conservative. Wolfowitz, who saw himself as a ‘democratic realist,’ was mainly influenced by military strategist Albert Wohlstetter, his wife Roberta, and also by former Senator Henry M. Jackson and, contrary to popular opinion, not so much by Leo Strauss. In addition, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor is among the major factors affecting Wolfowitz’s thinking. The most important dimensions of his complex world view consist of exaggerated threat perceptions, a dichotomous thinking, a preference for military answers to political problems, and preventive strategies, which in turn include policy options as well. Later in his life, when he was influenced by his official positions in Asia, the dimensions of human rights and democratization became additional dimensions of his world view. These factors explain to a large extent Wolfowitz’ strong anti-Saddam position, but also to some degree his policy as the President of the World Bank. Despite his embracing of human rights and of democratization, the ‘national interest’ of the United States was defined by him in a more comprehensive way. This led to different policies in terms of military intervention (as in the case of Iraq) or in terms of staying out of a conflict (in the case of Somalia).

Gescheiterte Eindämmung: Die Nonproliferationspolitik der Bush-Administration gegenüber der aufstrebenden Atommacht Iran

A close look at the Bush administration’s policy towards Iran reveals a continuation of U.S. policy to contain Tehran. Yet at the same time, there seems to be no change in policy from Tehran. The Bush administration accused Iran of working on a nuclear weapons program as well as of supporting terrorism in the Middle East. Inside the U.S. there is an ongoing debate between those favoring either engagement or isolationism. Comparing the Clinton administration’s Iran policy (which contained many features of the current policy) there is no doubt about the domination of the isolationist fraction. Appeals for dialogue with Iran were only met with little response, and prominent experts judge U.S. policy here a failure. This article explores the domestic background of U.S. policy towards Iran and reveals why the focus has been on containment. Change in the U.S. policy towards Iran is not expected unless Congress drops its tough stance towards Tehran and U.S. presidents revoke the misguided ‘rogue state’ rhetoric.

“A More Compassionate America?”—Die Sozial- und Bildungspolitik der Bush-Administration

The essay takes a close look at George W. Bush’s social and education policy reforms during his two terms as president of the United States. Part one examines the ideological concept compassionate conservatism and how it relates to Bush’s social policy agenda. Part two analyzes the major legislative social and educational reform projects during Bush’s first term. The third and final part of the essay takes stock of the social policy. In the process, the essay will focus on how successful President Bush was in the legislative process and how these reforms have affected the problem of poverty in the United States.

Die Bush-Administration und die Reform von Corporate Governance

In 2001 and 2002 numerous corporate scandals shook the United States. When it became public that highly acclaimed corporations such as Enron and WorldCom had manipulated their balance sheets to deceive analysts and investors, the press and the public partly blamed the Bush administration for the scandals because of its corporate-friendly policies. Moreover, close personal ties between the President as well as high-ranking officials of his staff and some of the managers involved became known. The administration was faced with two separate, but closely related problems. First, it had to dispel all speculations about a direct involvement of its members in the fraudulent practices and their attempted cover-ups within the corporations. Second, it was under pressure to initiate a reform of the corporate governance system in order to prevent further scandals. This essay examines how the Bush administration proceeded to handle both problems.

Mehr als Alibisuche? Kontinuität und Wandel in der US-Klimaschutzpolitik

The article discusses the George W. Bush Administration’s decreasing influence on U.S. climate change policy during the first and second term. It focuses on multilateral developments, government activities on the national and supranational level, and regional initiatives. After its turn to open unilateralism in 2001, President Bush was confronted with harsh criticism. The rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, however, only cashed the cheque of the Senate’s Byrd/Hagel Resolution. Still opposing the Kyoto approach of multilateral negotiated reduction targets, President and Congress were re-engaging in the multilateral arena. In summer 2005, the USA launched the Asia-Pacific Climate Pact. Furthermore, through the American offer to negotiate a new multilateral agreement to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the period after 2012, there was some evidence of newly developing U.S. leadership. Although many of President Bush’s initiatives remained merely symbolic, I argue that they nevertheless reflected fundamental shifts in U.S. climate policy. The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 challenged the Bush Administration’s original strategy of semi-isolationism. Particularly the economic performance of the European cap and trade-system and the expected gains of investments in so-called ‘clean-tech’ increased proactive lobbying in the U.S. Hence we were able to observe regional initiatives and several attempts of bipartisan legislation to limit GHG emissions which confronted the Bush Administration with mounting political pressure.

Other Issues

Amerikastudien / American Studies 2018: Digital Scholarship in American Studies, Vol. 63, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2018, Vol. 63, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2017: Marx and the United States, Vol. 62, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2017, Vol. 62, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2017: Poetry and Law, Vol. 62, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2017, Vol. 62, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016: Environmental Imaginaries on the Move: Nature and Mobility in American Literature and Culture, Vol. 61, No.4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016: Turkish-American Literature, Vol. 61, No.2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2016, Vol. 61, No.1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2015: 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 2015: Network Theory and American Studies, Vol. 60, No.1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014: South Africa and the United States in Transnational American Studies, Vol. 59, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 3,
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2014, Vol. 59, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2013: Iconographies of the Calamitous in American Visual Culture, Vol. 58, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2013: Pragmatism's Promise, Vol. 58, No. 2
Amerika Studien / American Studies 2013, Vol. 58, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2012: 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
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011: American Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Vol. 56, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2011, Vol. 56, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010: African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges , Vol. 55, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010: Trauma's Continuum -- September 11th Reconsidered, Vol. 55, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010, Vol. 55, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2010: Poverty and the Culturalization of Class , Vol. 55, No. 1
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 4
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009: American History/ies in Germany: Assessments, Transformations, Perspectives, Vol. 54, No. 3
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009, Vol. 54, No. 2
Amerikastudien / American Studies 2009: 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, 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
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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
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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