Founded In    2007
Published   annually
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest


interdisciplinary american studies scholarship

ISSN   1865-8768
Editorial Board


Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Detailed submission guidelines are available at:
- 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.

Mailing Address

American Studies Leipzig
Beethovenstr. 15
04107 Leipzig

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 (, or visit our website at

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 1 (2008), 1

The inaugural issue of aspeers is a snapshot issue, designed to give an impression of the range of graduate-level American studies in Europe. It contains six academic and five artistic contributions, as well as one piece by a professor in the field.


Greeting by the General Editor of Amerikastudien/American Studies

The Influence of Sigmund Freud's Clark Lectures on American Concepts of the Self

The following paper assesses the impact of the five lectures given by Sigmund Freud during his brief stay in America in 1909. I will argue that the talks he presented mark a distinct shift in American self-understanding: American approaches to mental illness had been based on the so-called somatic style, which held a purely mechanistic view of the human mind and body, thus treating only the symptoms of apparent psychological ailments. Acknowledging the psyche as a factor in its own right, psychoanalysis greatly challenged American ideas, and Freud's theories about infantile sexuality undermined the contemporary American emphasis on Civilized Morality. After his departure, a heated controversy ensued among professionals in the US. However, in the wake of Freud's lectures, American psychiatrist James J. Putnam turned his back on the somatic style he had previously practiced. In the winter of 1909-10, Putnam set out to defend the concept of psychoanalysis among his American colleagues and thus prepared the ground for its acceptance into the mainstream of US psychology. Simultaneously, Freud's theories underwent a significant Americanization and, in turn, freed American society from the constraints of a Puritan morality and gave the nation a new sense of self-awareness.

Seeing Through the Bell Jar: Distorted Female Identity in Cold War America

Through the character of Esther in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, this essay investigates the struggle of middle-class white women coming of age in 1950s America to achieve personalized identities. It argues that the Cold War era led to the creation of an ideology of cultural containment, enforcing prescriptive roles on women within an American suburban, conservative, and conformist setting. Investigated here are methods by which this model of domesticity was promoted. Also, examined here is the fracturing of identity those methods caused in women, who were unable to fully assimilate themselves into this role. Butler's theory of performativity is employed to assess strategies of female identity formation. Furthermore, it indicates how functionalist approaches arising from popular Freudianism defined gender roles as principally biologically determined and saw differing models of sexuality and female dissatisfaction as illnesses treatable by psychology. In this context, Esther's search for a self with whom she can identify becomes the novel's principal quest and is, by drawing on the concept of hyper-realism, explored through the processes of observation, reflection, and image reproduction.

Don DeLillo and Society's Reorientation to Time and Space: An Interpretation of Cosmopolis

This essay reads Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis as a novelization of social theories of time and space as expressed across various academic disciplines. Changing conceptions of time and space point to an underlying change in the social structure. I thus view DeLillo's novel as social theory. Economist Jeremy Rifkin recently wrote, "[t]he great turning points in human history are often triggered by changing conceptions of space and time. Sometimes, the adoption of a single technology can be transformative in nature, changing the very way our minds filter the world" (89). Eric Packer lives in a world with a multitude of adopted new technologies. His reflections on language embody this mental filtering. Cyber-capital, and digitization in general, represent these new technologies. Packer's desire to "live on a disc" (105), epitomizes the novel's portrayal of changing conceptions of time and space. This paper thus explores expressions of the inadequacy of contemporary language under these "turning points in human history." It demonstrates how statements on language reflect society's mental filtering or changing orientation to time and space. Cosmopolis could be viewed as a redescription project.

Hybridity as a "Narrative of Liberation" in Trevor D. Rhone's Old Story Time

"The problem is important. I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of color from himself" (8), writes Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks. Patrick Taylor has been identifying what he calls the "narrative of liberation" throughout Fanon's critical work, and his analysis of this can be linked with phenomena of hybridity. In Trevor D. Rhone's play Old Story Time, hybridity is presented as such a liberating narrative. Hybridity is included in the play on several levels, beginning with the setting. The vernacular used by many of the play's characters also reveals its hybrid character. Furthermore, on the formal level Trevor Rhone has created a drama that resists categorization into the Western form of epic drama by emphasizing the role of the Caribbean storytelling tradition. On the level of characters, Miss Aggy overcomes her self-destructive internalized racism in the final scene when she accepts the hybrid nature of her identity. In this sense, Old Story Time incorporates what Taylor terms an "imperative of liberation" (188). Read as an allegory to the society of the West Indies, the play calls for the acceptance of its hybrid nature as a means of overcoming the colonial legacy.

"An Older Light Than Ours": Faulkner's Reflections on Race and Racism in Light in August.

This article examines William Faulkner's reflections on race and racism in Light in August, by focusing on the crucial role that consciousness and psychology play in the novel for the construction of characters and their view of reality and of themselves. Light in August does not reproduce the South's pervading racism as experienced by Faulkner, but undertakes a close dissection of a collective racialized imaginary. In order to support this argument, the analysis focuses on three different aspects: First, the narrative strategy of alternating subjective perspectives that explores the consensus-building dynamics, which condition perception and cognition as much as they generate prejudice and racism. Second, the community's conception of race as an existential condition of insurmountable ontological difference appears to be intimately wedded to common concepts of gender. This conception is radicalized through a Protestant spirit of guilt and punishment as existential imperatives. Finally, the article analyzes Joe Christmas as a psychotic character by examining the process of his narrative construction and analyzing the extent to which his dubious racial identity and existential dilemma are presented as the result of racist discourse and not of "incompatibilities of blood."

Rereading American Hardcore: Intersectional Privilege and the Lyrics of Early Californian Hardcore Punk

In this article, I deal with the Californian youth subculture of hardcore punk. Despite the fact that the majority of the subculture's main protagonists were white male adolescents from the suburban middle class and thus occupied privileged social positions, they presented themselves as misfits, outcasts, and victims of society. In order to establish a critical approach to this movement, I effectively reverse the concept of Intersectionality as it is defined in Avtar Brah and Ann Phoenix's essay "Ain't I a Woman? Revisiting Intersectionality" (2004) and move the focus to the interlocking privileges that reveal the hardcore punks' advantageous subject positions. I will then perform a contextual close reading of three exemplary song lyrics that helps to point out if or in how far the respective adolescents reflect on the privileged backgrounds they come from. Do they acknowledge the advantages that go along with their allegedly-normative status as white male Americans? How do they deal with them and do they succeed in establishing a credible contra-position?

Two John Smiths and a Tent

Museum of Communism


Illiterate Fish

House of Fiction

Other Issues

aspeers 11 (2018), 11
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