Founded In    1999
Published   annually
Language(s)   English, German

Fields of Interest


literary studies, history, popular culture and media cultures, visual culture, political science, sociology, and geography

ISSN   1861-6127
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Editors: Susanne Leikam, Sascha Pöhlmann, Juliane Schwarz-Bierschenk, and Klara Stephanie Szlezák
Address: University of Regensburg
Department of English and American Studies
93040 Regensburg
Phone: +49 941 943 3475
Fax: +49 941 943 3590
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Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

We invite postgraduate researchers to send us their contributions. We especially encourage young American Studies scholars who have just or are about to finish their master’s or doctoral theses to send us their submissions. We welcome papers from the various areas of American Studies, such as literature, history, popular culture and media cultures, visual culture, political science, sociology, and geography.

Papers should be between 6 and 10 pages in length, including a list of works cited. Prospective authors should also include an abstract of no more than 60 words and a brief CV. We refer authors to the guidelines of the COPAS style sheet available on our web site. Authors should submit their manuscripts via email as attached documents in MS Word format. The manuscripts will then be reviewed by the editors. This process takes about 1-2 months. There will be no print journal-style editing process. Responsibility for content and form remains with the author. Authors agree to consider scholarly comments on their papers that are in accordance with the standards and etiquette of critical discussion.

Scholars interested in guest-editing an issue should contact the editors. For further inquiries please also contact the editors.


COPAS: Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies


Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies (COPAS) is devoted to research by young Americanists. The e-journal was conceived as an opportunity for publication in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies and as an easy-to-access platform for scholarly exchange by young Americanists. The publication project originated in the 1999 Postgraduate Forum of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS) in Regensburg. It is located at the Chair of American Studies at the University of Regensburg. The editors are Susanne Leikam, Sascha Pöhlmann, Juliane Schwarz-Bierschenk, and Klara Stephanie Szlezák. COPAS connects its readers and contributors to ongoing and recently completed research projects in American Studies. It publishes papers from the various areas of American Studies, such as literature, history, popular culture and media cultures, visual culture, political science, sociology, and geography.


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2003, Number 4

From Opposition to Integration: Stages in the Development of the "New Woman" in Selected Provincetown Plays

This essay argues that the nineteenth-century philosophy of bi-polarity, as manifest first and foremost in the concept of separate spheres, is still largely unaltered in the short plays of Susan Glaspell, Neith Boyce and Rita Wellman, the three most prolific female playwrights among the Provincetown Players. The plays analyzed in this paper include Glaspell's "Trifles" (1916), "The Outside" (1917), and her short comedy "A Woman's Honor" (1918), Wellman's "Funiculi Funicula" (1917) and Boyce's "Constancy" (1915), "The Two Sons" (1916), and "Enemies" (1915), the latter of which Boyce co-authored with her husband. Although the artistic merit of these short plays has often been challenged, they deserve recognition as important literary, cultural and social documents that reflect sincere attempts to fuse theatrical originality with social concerns. The cultural and social aspect in focus here is the New Woman. In spite of depicting more or less successful representatives of the New Woman, the worlds presented on stage are marked by the established polar categories. Although displaying the ambitions of the New Woman, the female characters are trapped in polarized worlds.

“Sex in Bed or Sex in the Head?”—A Transatlantic Love Affair

In early 1947, the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir traveled across the United States. During her four-month voyage she met and fell in love with the then quite famous American novelist Nelson Algren of Chicago. At the time both were in their late thirties. When she had returned to France, she wrote Algren that she had put aside the project she had begun prior to her departure for America (The Other Sex, 1949) and undertaken to write a book about the New World, for "something [had] happened [...] and it was the beginning of love." The journey, she continued, for this reason had to be preserved. Apparently, the passion she had experienced with Algren (it is said that with him she enjoyed sex for the first time in her life), above all had an impact on her primary occupation in life: her writing. In my paper, I look at how de Beauvoir reflected on her affair with Algren in three different works, i.e. her America Day by Day (1947), her novel Les mandarins (1954), and the third volume of her memoirs (1963). All three books were written at different stages of the relationship, and therefore offer quite diverse perspectives that taken together add up to a more comprehensive picture of the affair. When writing America Day by Day, de Beauvoir was deeply in love, and Algren returned this feeling. Yet, Algren does not appear as a predominant figure in the book he inspired; he is hardly mentioned. For, de Beauvoir thought that once she wrote about someone or something, it was lost to her. She consequently had to find a way to write about him-he preoccupied her mind-without actually writing about him. She succeeded in doing so by writing about his America, i.e. the places he showed her. Whatever she sees fascinates her. In fact, this fascination reflects her admiration of Algren rather than of America. By 1954, the romantic phase of the affair was over; a first rupture had occurred. In the novel, de Beauvoir's alter ego Anne from the beginning sees that the affair is doomed to fail. There is a life before and after the trip to America. Both lovers' inability to give up their previous life for a mutual future is a hovering threat from the moment they first lay eyes on one another. During her trip to America Anne looks at Lewis the person directly rather than to convey an emotional but indirect portrait of him by means of describing his surroundings. By the time de Beauvoir published the third volume of her memoirs in 1963, she claimed that all feelings for Algren had died. The few paragraphs dealing with him are written from great distance. In facts, she concentrates on the long and dangerous passages to and from America rather than to write about him. Her infatuation with the American writer is likened to a nervous condition possibly to be remedied with medication. As a prior reason for the relationship to start, she indicates her (masculine) desire for a short sexual adventure in America. Little surprisingly, Algren broke with her for good after he had read the "hateful" book. Nonetheless, his memory of her was alive until his last interview shortly before his death some twenty years later. De Beauvoir in turn, though she was buried next to Sartre, had wished to be buried wearing the ring Algren had given her once upon a time, and so it was done. As one critic observed, in the end, she was more comfortable with sex in the head than with sex in bed.

Other Issues

2013, Number 14.1,
2012, Number 13,
2011, Number 12,
2010, Number 11
2009, Number 10
2008, Number 9
2007, Number 8
, 15.1
, 14.2
2006, Number 7
2004, Number 5
2005, Number 6