Graduiertenkolleg Funktionen des Literarischen in Prozessen der Globalisierung

Links und Funktionen



Vorlesung und Hauptseminar America and its Discontents: Critics, Renegades, Anti-Americans

09.04.2014 – 09.07.2014


Prof. Dr. Klaus Benesch

Zeit & Ort

Vorlesung: Mi 10-12 Uhr; Schellingstr. 3 VG, Hörsaal S 007
begleitendes Hauptseminar: Do 12-14 Uhr; Schellingstr. 3 VG, Raum S 105

The lecture class [Vorlesung] traces the history and tradition of a radical critique of American society, both from within and without of the US. From the 18th through 21st century critics of American politics, lifestyles, and the nation's excessive materialism and religious orientation abound. Frequently setting the stage for a more far - reaching critique of modern society, these critics conjoined in making America at once the laboratory and nemesis of modernity at large. In each session I will discuss individual representatives of this critical tradition – from the 'degeneracy thesis' to Henry David Thoreau and David Walker, and from Ferdinand Kürnberger to Amiri Baraka and Noam Chomsky. Surveying the stark ideological differences and specific expressive forms that mark the rhetoric of discontentment with America, the mission of this class is to remind us that the ongoing critique of America may well be, after all, as American as apple pie.

The upper level discussion class [Hauptseminar] is designed to provide guided reading of the material presented in the lecture class. As a discussion class for advanced students, it is open to both MA and 'Magister' students (the latter need to have passed the "Zwischenprüfung").