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
Editorial Board

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
Web site:

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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2007, Number 8

Editorial - 'New American Studies' in Germany? Some Observations from Ground Staff

"...the white women all go for sex": Discourses of Gender, Race, Ethnicity in the American Woman's Rights Movement, 1869

As an emancipating movement for women, the American Woman’s Rights Movement can be considered as a "counter public sphere" which transgressed dominant orders of gender. In their alliance at the outset of Reconstruction, women's rights activists not only sought gender equality, but under the label of "universal suffrage" connected it to the ideal of racial equality. The discussion about the introduction of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1869 is understood as a political intersection for the movement since the movement, which initially promoted "universal suffrage," then disbanded on grounds of racism, sexism and nativism which appeared in different antagonistic arguments that were brought forth to either promote the amendment or to oppose it. This paper analyzes the discourses of gender, race, ethnicity in the internal discussions of the Woman’s Rights Movement and seeks to answer whether or not it transgressed prevailing notions of racism, nativism and sexism in order to achieve emancipating potential for women.

The Spectacle of the Other: Representations of Chinatown in Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon (1985) and John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Since the late nineteenth century, Chinatowns have always been portrayed on the silver screen as spaces of danger, spiritual and moral decadence, and 'otherness.' This paper examines the representations of Chinatowns in two movies released in the 1980s, Year of the Dragon (1985) and Big Trouble in Little China (1986), while addressing plausible reasons for the endurance and durability of the negative depictions of Chinatown.

Battleground Masculinity: Gendertroublers and Gatekeepers in Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986)

In the years following its release in 1986, Oliver Stone's Vietnam war film, Platoon, received a great amount of attention in academia. A critical look from the vantage point of contemporary Queer and Gender Studies, however, can still contribute valuably and reveal issues hitherto untouched. My paper discusses how, besides fighting a military war, the film's three protagonists are deeply involved in negotiating masculinity as they assume positions not only in an oedipal arrangement but also in the contest between gendertroublers and borderpatrols.

"The Tiger's Eyes Are Like My Own": Depictions of Japaneseness in Contemporary American Movies

In our world today, different nations and cultures are interconnected via media technologies like films, television and the Internet. In this context, Sociologist Arjun Appadurai discussed the influence of the media in our global present and suggested a new role for the imagination. Japanese electronic entertainment products and anime cartoons are well known in the U.S. today and Hollywood is shifting away from representing outdated, negative stereotypes in more recent movies like Lost in Translation (2003) and The Last Samurai (2003).

"The Tube is Flickering Now": Aesthetics of Authenticity in Good Night, and Good Luck

The article examines the Clooney/Heslov/Soderbergh production Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). Its unusual visual style (cinematography, mise-en-scène, etc.) enables an immediate aesthetic viewing experience of Cold War America. Drawing on Fluck's discussion about aesthetics and its socio-cultural function, the "docu-drama" (Doherty 53), while referring to the era of McCarthyism, serves as an instance of articulation for the dissatisfaction with contemporary American politics.

"Yo-ho, A Pirates Life For Me" – Queer Positionalities, Heteronormativity, and Piracy in Pirates of the Caribbean. A Queer Reading.

At first sight Walt Disney's box office hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) appears as a product of Hollywood's (hetero)normative blockbuster industry. It is a film that apparently caters for the needs of contemporary western mainstream audiences. Yet, as this paper will argue, the movie is fused with potentially queer elements, moments, and signifiers. Drawing on a broad working definition of 'queer,' this paper will present a 'queer reading' of the film. It will elucidate how Pirates of the Caribbean lends itself to such a reading not only due to the ambivalent and campy figure of Captain Jack Sparrow, but also due to the film's only seemingly classical narrative structure and protagonists. Moreover, it will analyze the figure of the pirate in the light of Foucauldian heterotopias.

George Gustav Heye and the National Museum of the American Indian - Collecting the Collector

On September 21, 2004 the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) opened its doors to the public. This essay will look at the institution's history, especially its collector, George Gustav Heye, and his representation inside the museum walls. Oscillating between honored patron and greedy businessman, the labels and objects explore his personality but conceal his relationship to the cultures he collected that remained extraordinarily superficial. The problem will be illustrated by using museum labels to explore their implicit rhetoric.

Other Issues

2013, Number 14.1,
2012, Number 13,
2011, Number 12,
2010, Number 11
2009, Number 10
2008, Number 9
, 15.1
, 14.2
2006, Number 7
2003, Number 4
2004, Number 5
2005, Number 6