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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2012, Number 13,


The U.S. Filibusters in Transnational Newspaper Discourses, 1855-1857

The essay focuses on the transnational entanglements between the USA and Nicaragua in the mid-nineteenth century, when U.S. adventurers (so-called 'filibusters') started private invasions to the American isthmus. One embodiment of these entanglements was El Nicaraguense, a bilingual newspaper published by the invaders and distributed in the USA and Central America. The article analyzes how the paper contributed to the incorporation of Nicaragua into the U.S. colonial realm.

Blank Gaze and Vacant Skull: Cinema & Brain(s) & (Dis-)Affection in Recent Mindful and Mind-Related US Cinema

Screens and brains are peculiar processual frames and/or framing devices. This essay which is part of a larger project intends to demonstrate the value of neurocinematic frames for both cultural studies and scientific considerations. The fusion of theories of cinema and neuroscience needs a media theory that is informed by the affective turn in the humanities. The delicacy of neurocinematic frames becomes visible once they get torn and ruined by diverse depressed, entropic, and disaffected minds as trains of thought that seem to disperse and combust. These phenomena give the project traction and focus. A certain kind of film theory might challenge traditional scholarly concepts of the mind but leads towards a fertile enunciation of the volatile and fragile (en-)trails of thought itself.It is a film theory that includes autopoietic psychological systems in the sense of Humberto Maturana and others which was formulated first and foremost by Gilles Deleuze in his two monographs on movement-images and time-images (2006, 2009).

"I was a stuffed toucan": Poetic Self-Positioning in Robert Lowell's Life Studies

This paper addresses identity construction in Robert Lowell's Life Studies. I argue that references to family, history and other poets indirectly inform the presented self image and call this process poetic self-positioning. In contrast to earlier psychoanalytical and biographical readings, this interpretation is based on the notion of narrative identity. Additionally, I stress the relevance of the concept of 'emotion' to identity constructions.

Humor and Ambivalence in the Novels of Toni Morrison

Rarely can one find pure comedy in Toni Morrison's novels, as humor is usually either part of a double discourse in which traumatic experiences are 'confronted' through a game of perspective, or a means of emphasizing a tragically flavored situation through situating it in a context open to ambivalence. If personal or collective tragedy cannot be eliminated, at least it can be counteracted, just as power relations can be influenced through humor. Apart from being a way of diminishing the tension of trauma or oppression, humor implies freedom of thought and interpretation even when dominant ideologies and discourses aim at enforcing specific institutionalized representations and definitions of self and other. At the same time, in Toni Morrison's novels 'the comic twist' is represented as a way of displacement and a form of empowerment or healing for African Americans, even when it has to do with self-deprecation or self-irony, as pain becomes laughter and "a litany of humiliation, outrage and anger turned sickle-like back to themselves as humor" (Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon).

Waging a Visual War on Poverty: President Lyndon B. Johnson in Appalachia

The article investigates how press photographs shaped poverty discourses in the historical context of the War on Poverty. Using a picture of President Lyndon B. Johnson and a presumably poor woman as a case study, it examines how iconographic elements and the visualized rhetorical pattern of the American jeremiad serve to situate the poor within dominant middle-class ideologies.

Transatlantic Miscommunication in David Hare's Drama Stuff Happens

This article addresses the transatlantic relations between the United States and Europe and specifically Great Britain in the context of post-9/11 international politics as reflected in the drama Stuff Happens (2004) written by British playwright David Hare. It focuses on the way recent history is performed and contextualized in dramatic form and analyzes the function and power of the theatricalization of historic events and particularly of finding ways to address 9/11 on a stage. Furthermore, it discusses the method of mixing parts of public speeches quoted verbatim with fiction and its effects on readers and audiences. The play addresses the struggles and fragility of international diplomacy in the aftermath of 9/11. It reflects a general skepticism towards politicians and their decisions as well as the helpless position of millions of observers who are affected by these decisions and yet feel like they have no influence. This article sees post-9/11 verbatim theater as a chance for playwright and spectators to get access to the world of politics and to take part in the process of writing transatlantic history. More generally, through the ex­ample of this play, the article aims at discussing new challenges and functions of post-9/11 theater.

Event{u}al Disruptions: Postmodern Theory and Alain Badiou

This (rather theoretical) paper juxtaposes three 'postmodern' tendencies (epistemology, monocentrism and its idea of events) with Alain Badiou’s ontological approach that implies multiple multiplicities and the singular event. By referring to the work of Jacques Derrida, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, as well as Gilles Deleuze, I seek to offer an insight into postmodern (Literary and Cultural) theory's attachment to certain beliefs that pose problems to movements of resistance, as well as conceptualizations of anything 'new') By introducing Alain Badiou's thoughts on postmodern theory as well as his divergence from this path, I illuminate his potential for critical analyses in American Studies to come.

Re-writing 'Woman': New Woman Hybridity in Araki Iku's "The Letter" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Turned"

Turn-of-the-century (1890-1920) short fiction in Japan and the United States portrays the New Woman as a figure of hybridization subverting the legitimacy of binary gender codes. This article outlines how Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "Turned" and Araki Iku's "The Letter" exemplify and interrogate the hybrid nature of the New Woman concept. The concept of hybridity serves to reveal female identity as negotiable and permeable, simultaneously disclosing the New Woman as a transnational figure, which enables a broad set of cultural interpretations.

Good Mob, Bad Mob: Violence and Community in The Cattle Queen of Montana (1894)

Focusing on the genre of the Western pioneer narrative, notably Mrs. Nat. Collins's The Cattle Queen of Montana (1894), the article will discuss literary representations of violence and community in the context of the accelerating westward movement on the North American continent around the mid-nineteenth century. Drawing on the theories of Georges Sorel and Richard Slotkin, the article emphasizes the productive dimensions of violence and argues for an increased recognition of the multiple intersections that connect violent acts to processes of communal bonding. The settling of the American continent was an intrinsically violent endeavor, and consequently, it will be argued, violence became a fundamental factor in shaping the modes of social interaction and communal cohesion in the 'new' nation. The literary accounts of Western pioneer narratives in general provide fascinating insights into these intricate processes and contribute to an enhanced understanding of the role of violence in the settling of the West. Collins's narrative, while maintaining a clear-cut division between the 'acceptable' violence of the settlers as opposed to the 'unacceptable' violence of the natives, relates the inherent brutality of frontier conditions with unflinching bluntness and at the same time reflects on the repercussions this violence has on emerging structures of community. By providing a reading of this narrative as well as of some of the illustrations that accompany it, the article will highlight the continuities between violence and community in the mid- nineteenth century United States and the role Western pioneer narratives played in developing these continuities.

Other Issues

2013, Number 14.1,
2011, Number 12,
2010, Number 11
2009, Number 10
2008, Number 9
2007, Number 8
, 15.1
, 14.2
2006, Number 7
2003, Number 4
2004, Number 5
2005, Number 6