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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2011, Number 12,


Building a Better Place: Utopianism and the Revision of Community in Toni Morrison's Paradise

This article examines the role of utopianism in Toni Morrison's 1997 novel Paradise. It argues that, by juxtaposing the all-black town of Ruby with a group of women living in a nearby convent, Morrison revises traditional views of what constitutes the best type of community. She criticizes the idea of utopian perfection predicated on purity and exclusion and envisions an alternative community characterized by ongoing negotiation. Rejecting all utopian master narratives, Morrison projects a better place at a more human scale.

'Only Stones and Stories Remain': Greek American (Travel) Writing about Greece

Since the early 1960s, numerous Greek American authors of the second and third generation have published personal accounts on their travels to Greece. In this paper, I argue that these authors adopt a double perspective, being both 'visitors' and 'locals' who are affiliated with both the 'here' and the 'there.' Returnees often experience a feeling of belatedness when arriving in their ancestral homeland. They overcome this feeling by inscribing themselves into the foreign but - paradoxically - familiar past, and by making a contribution to the Greek diaspora. Although the intersections of travel writing and return writing are strong, in this paper, return writing will be defined as a subgenre of both diaspora writing and travel writing.

The Romantic Veil (of Perception): American Transcendentalism and British Romanticism as a Continuation of Lockean Empiricism

When it comes to the epistemological basis of British romanticism and American transcendentalism, a traditional approach would certainly refer to Kant's transcendental philosophy which is commonly considered an antithesis to Locke's empiricism. A new trend in philosophical research now suggests that romantic theories are an addition to rather than a refutation of empiricism. This essay traces the interdependencies between transcendental thought and empiricism in the writings of Coleridge and Emerson.

A Spiritual Homecoming: Ireland in Contemporary Movies about Irish Americans

The article discusses Irish-Americans' journeys to Ireland in contemporary movies. In the movies Ireland literally enables: the journey affords couples, enlightens characters, and brings families together. Although the narratives at times self-consciously address stereotypes and clichés, Ireland's beautiful scenery and charming people serve as a retreat from the American city and its postmodern vexations. Conflicts within contemporary US-American society are thus resolved by appropriating Irishness and ethnicity. By recurring to stereotypes about Irishness, the movies present the homeland as an alternative and corrective to the daily strife of modern life in the US. The protagonists' identity crises are solved through contact with the Irish community or research into family history; and women find their role by embracing Irish traditionalism and finding an Irish husband. The movies thus illustrate the interdependence of discourses on gender, national identity, and ethnicity

Shifting Spaces in the Critical Regionalist Fiction of New England

At the turn of the twenty-first century, a critical regionalist fiction is emerging. Like its architectural counterpart, this fiction fuses the local with the global by situating current issues in a particular place, simultaneously exerting an emancipatory action. Whether North Dakota, Newfoundland, or Maine, these are places off the literary map. This article explores how critical regionalist fiction is shifting the physical, imagined, and lived spaces of New England.

"Welcome to Our Home!": Staging Practices at Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, today a major site of literary tourism in New England, reaches out to and draws in visitors who wish to experience first-hand the premises where the Alcotts lived and where Little Women, one of America's favorite novels, was written. The essay investigates to what extent, however, this and other house museums rely on staging and argues that a close reading of the material culture reveals the limitations of a claim for 'authenticity.'

"Confusions about the place and the way in which I grew up": Place and Knowledge in Joan Didion's Memoir Where I Was From

This essay is a close reading of Joan Didion's memoir Where I Was From (2003), and it is particularly focused on the spatial aspects of Didion's narrative. I am arguing that the production of autobiographical knowledge in this text is closely linked to the places the narrator is referring to and in which she positions herself. Furthermore, this essay aims at illustrating that Didion's narrative itself functions as a genre-specific site for the production of autobiographical knowledge.

Other Issues

2013, Number 14.1,
2012, Number 13,
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