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.


» Visit Journal Web Site

aspeers 8 (2015) - American Health, 8

With its 2015 issue, aspeers explores different facets of American health. The volume investigates “American Health” as a topic that has the potential to cut to the core of a large spectrum of aspects and multiple dimensions of politics, society, and culture.



"Gentrify? No! Gentefy? S!": Urban Redevelopment and Ethnic Gentrification in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles

"Gentrify? No! Gentefy? S!" (Farrell and Medina) is the slogan employed by middle-class Latino bar and start-up owners in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latino, low-income, and working-class neighborhood in East Los Angeles that "[t]ries to [c]hange, but [a]void the [p]itfalls" (Medina) of gentrification. Alluding to the Spanish word la gente (the people), middle-class Latinos aim to improve the neighborhood from within the community in order to maintain the area's Latino character and to avoid the displacement, exclusion, and sociospatial polarization typical of gentrification. Analyzing the potential and limitations of gentefication within the framework of neoliberal urbanization, the paper argues that the notion of gentefication marks a deeply ambivalent, contradictory interrelation of bottom-up momentum for neighborhood improvement and top-down real estate development. As upwardly mobile Latinos assert their desire to remain in the urban core, lower-income Latinos are displaced and class frictions within the ethnic community increase. Moreover, the residents' momentum to positively reconfigure ethnic neighborhoods is often appropriated by redevelopment coalitions that try to render the area attractive for desired consumers via reference to its exotic character. Ethnicity is opened up for consumption as well as urban boosterism, and low-income residents face displacement due to the influx of affluent residents and consumers.

Subtraction from Supply and Demand: Challenges to Economic Theory, Representational Power, and Systems of Reference in Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

Herman Melville's "Story of Wall Street" (1853), in which a lawyer gives an account of the life of the scrivener Bartleby, has been extensively commented on by scholars from a variety of disciplines. Many have found his enigmatic formula "I would prefer not to" to be the embodiment of a long sought-after remedy for seemingly fruitless revolts against oppressive capitalist mechanisms. In order to examine the potential of Bartleby's challenge to power, I will read it against the representational authority of economic theory, and, more specifically, the supply and demand model. The close reading of Melville's short story reveals that Bartleby's resistance to productivity and consumption indeed "opens up a new space outside the hegemonic position and its negation" (iek 393). In addition, I will provide a reading regarding representational power in relation to the narrator and the (de)stabilization of systems of meaning production, in which I will draw mostly on works by Agamben and Deleuze. Bringing together these three readings, however, renders doubtful the potential of such challenges to power. In fact, Bartleby's "I would prefer not to" might end up reaffirming already existing power structures.

'Hottentot Barbie' as a Multicultural Star: The Commodification of Race in Nicki Minaj's Music Videos

This paper is concerned with the ways in which race is commodified in Nicki Minaj's music videos. It is argued that by selling both whiteness and blackness in various forms, Minaj establishes and sustains her persona as a multicultural star and is thus able to satisfy the demands of a wide, racially mixed audience. Most of Minaj's videos are analyzed to support this point. The paper discusses Minaj's music regarding genres and lyrical content, as well as the images in her clips, including her looks and moves. It is demonstrated how Minaj succeeds in and switches between both white-coded pop and black-coded rap music, how she embodies the white beauty standard as well as the exotic, sexual black woman, and how she successfully juggles markers of whiteness and blackness in a way that allows her to use both simultaneously and to easily switch from one to the other without losing credibility. Thus, Minaj becomes a multicultural star who occupies a space beyond common constraints of the conventional black/white binary.

"Within the Circle": Space and Surveillance in Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

The detailed and chilling descriptions of physical violence in many slave narratives often overshadow the fact that slaveholders in the American South also relied on an intricate system of surveillance to control and exploit their slaves. In this essay, I argue that Frederick Douglass's first autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave pictures surveillance, especially its production of space, as a central tool of slavery. The resulting spatial boundaries are invested with metaphorical meaning and serve as an expression of Douglass's emancipation. The first part of the paper considers the plantation architecture and outlines how overseers, slave patrols and panopticism create seemingly impermeable boundaries for Douglass, which are both of physical and psychological nature. I further demonstrate how the architecture of Baltimore's city space leads to a loosening of surveillance and allows Douglass to become literate. Finally, I draw on Jurij Lotmann's theory of aesthetic space in order to analyze how spatial boundaries are crossed and metaphorical boundaries between whiteness and blackness are rendered contingent in the Narrative.

Professorial Voice

"The Ultimate Woman Is a Man": An Analysis of Medical Authority and the (In)Visibility of Intersexuality in House, M.D.

The medical drama House, M.D. has been the subject of numerous publications and has even been used to teach medicine to university students. This paper asserts that the discourses of medical authenticity that surround House, M.D. impart an aura of medical authority to the show that is further enhanced by its performative enactment of medical professionalism. As a result of this, the series is shown to be emboldened with the discursive power of modern biomedicine. Accordingly, this paper argues that the depiction of intersex people as a socially marginalized and medically stigmatized group gains special significance, as the show has the power to either reaffirm or challenge their marginalized status, and, along with that, the underlying heteronormative gender system. Hence, this paper utilizes the concept of heteronormativity in conjunction with Judith Butler's conception of gender performativity and Michel Foucault's theory of the medical gaze to analyze the portrayal of intersexuality in the episode "Skin Deep." The paper demonstrates that rather than unfolding the deconstructive potential of intersexuality, the show reinforces heteronormative standards as it represents intersexuality as a pathological aberration.

The Negotiation of Vegetarianism as a Remedy for an American Sociocultural Schizophrenia in Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals

Reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals with a particular emphasis on the narrative dimension and rhetoric of the text, this article analyzes how Foer's book employs the issue of vegetarianism to reveal and remedy a perceived condition of 'American sociocultural schizophrenia' in the context of modern-day factory farming. In particular, it pays attention to the psychological mechanisms involved in the process of meat consumption. The paper makes visible how Eating Animals employs the narrator's story of achieving a sense of mental wholeness and unity through vegetarianism as a template for the larger state of disconnectedness and alienation with respect to American society and culture. Additionally, it is demonstrated how Foer's text taps into the rhetoric of the American jeremiad in its discussion of vegetarianism in the face of modern-day factory farming to offer this diet as a potential and practical remedy for a perceived state of 'American sociocultural schizophrenia.' In doing so, the article aims to point to the implications of the entailed invocation of American values and identity in the global context of shifting and changing relations of power and identity.

Coda: Editorial Remarks

Other Issues

aspeers 11 (2018), 11
aspeers 9 (2016) - American Youth, 9
aspeers 10 (2017), 10
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