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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2009, Number 10

Greeting and Opening Address by the President of the German Association for American Studies

Greeting by the General Editor of Amerikastudien / American Studies

COPAS 10 - Reflexivity and (Ex-)Change: New Perspectives from the Postgraduate Forum for German Americanists - Editorial

Depicting 'Natural' Disasters in U.S.-American History and Culture: San Francisco's City Hall as an Icon of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire

The article examines the role that visual representations of San Francisco's first City Hall played in the aftermath of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Not only did they offer a projection screen for the collective trauma but they also provided a starting point for recollection and re-enactment. With the City Hall vicinity as an example, it is further shown that what was perceived at the time as nature's obliteration of the metropolis was rather a man-made disaster.

"Of Vampire Born": Interracial Mothering in Black Women's Speculative Fiction

Focusing on the portrayal of motherhood in black women's speculative fiction, this essay discusses Jewelle Gomez's short story "Louisiana 1850" (1991) and explores how Gomez establishes an egalitarian interracial maternal relationship between a white woman and a slave child. I will demonstrate how the trope of a maternal vampire in particular not only functions in the story to make a mothering relationship plausible, but ultimately challenges and dismantles normative maternal categories, both white and black.

Ambiguity and the Ethics of Reading Race and Lynching in James W. Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)

James Weldon Johnson's novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) discusses the causes, conditions, and implications of passing in a segregated society. The essay argues that the novel's aesthetics of ambiguity conveys and reflects an ambivalence towards the concept of race. Using theories of Geoffrey Galt Harpham and John Guillory, it elaborates an ethics of reading race and lynching in The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

The Impact of Tribal Colleges in the Economic Development of Tribal Communities: A Case Study

The essay examines a fairly new phenomenon in American Education: Tribal Colleges. As unique institutions of higher learning, established to specifically address educational and cultural needs of American Indians, they play a pivotal role in individual student and tribal community empowerment. It will be illustrated in-depth how one particular Tribal College - Salish Kootenai College - positively impacts and greatly contributes to the economic development of its tribal community.

Dystopia, Alternate History and the Posthuman in Bioshock

In dystopian visions articulated at the beginning of the twenty-first century, one can observe a tendency to approach biotechnology as implicating the threat of posthumanity. Different media explore such perspectives on the future and it is the goal of my paper to analyze the specific perspective that informs the medium of video games. I propose to read the game Bioshock from a dialectic of video games studies and literary studies, focusing on its uses of simulation and agency, its appropriation of alternate history and dystopia, and its treatment of a posthuman society.

An Event "Like a Movie"? Hollywood and 9/11

Footage of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 provoked a wide spectrum of viewers to state that what they were witnessing was "like a movie." In a first part, this essay discusses the salience of such a simile by comparing the aesthetics and content of 9/11-footage to the one of Hollywood disaster films. In a second part, Hollywood's immediate reactions as well as its recent movie representations of 9/11 are analyzed.

"Stuff That Happened to Me": Visual Memory in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005)

The article examines the use of graphic images for mnemonic purposes in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005). It argues that through the combination of photographs with magical realist and fantastic passages, the novel provides a commentary on the role of visual representations in the construction of a collective memory of 9/11.

Do the Photos Tell it All? Representing Torture in the Images from Abu Ghraib

In 2004, pictures of U.S. military personnel abusing detainees of the Abu Ghraib prison came to public attention, triggering a new debate on torture. This essay examines the shock potential of the photographs from Abu Ghraib as well as the representability of pain. It argues that the role of photography in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal is a complex and complicated one, oscillating between becoming complicit in the torture and exposing it.

"Ruled By Fiction?" 'Real' Deception and Narrative Truth in Frank Rich's The Greatest Story Ever Sold (2006)

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America is one representative of a series of highly popular, bestselling, creative non-fiction books that critique the Bush presidency. In his book, Frank Rich aims to unveil "the administration's insidious efforts to blur the boundary between its reality and actual reality" (163, emphasis mine). This essay engages the book as a literary text and performs close readings to discuss the textual dynamics within Rich's narrative project. More specifically, it will look at complexities and contradictions in the authentication strategies the text employs and at Rich's attempts to tell a 'true' and credible narrative of the Bush administration's deceit.

Other Issues

2013, Number 14.1,
2012, Number 13,
2011, Number 12,
2010, Number 11
2008, Number 9
2007, Number 8
, 15.1
, 14.2
2006, Number 7
2003, Number 4
2004, Number 5
2005, Number 6