2009 BM2 Introduction to Anglophone Cultural Studies, Part 2

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See for part 1: 2008-09 BM2 Introduction to Anglophone Cultural Studies, Part 1

The individual Courses

  • Mo, 10:00 - 12:00, A06 0-001, Olaf Simons: 29 Participants
  • Mo, 18:00 - 20:00, Raum: A10 1-121a, Julia Meier
  • Tu, 12:00 - 14:00, A10 1-121, Annika McPherson
  • Tu, 16:00 - 18:00, A10 1-121a, Christina Meyer
  • We, 16:00 - 18:00, A11 1-101, Annika McPherson
  • We, 18:00 - 20:00, A06 0-001, Christina Meyer
  • We, 18:00 - 20:00, A10 1-121, Olaf Simons: 24 Participants

General Course Outline

Cultural studies have seen major developments over the last two decades. These developments have not only transformed approaches to research methodology, but are also questioning existing understandings of related matters such as disciplinary boundaries, academic topics, questions of periodization, epochs, and categorization. This is part 2 of the introductory module “Introduction to Anglophone Cultural Studies.” The “Übung” will be conducted in smaller groups and is designed to lead into practical work with materials. Reading suggestions and additional texts will be made available on the reserve shelf (“Handapparat”) in the library and/or on Stud-IP.

Objectives of this “Übung” are to prepare students for participation in critical debates surrounding the historical contexts and modes of analysis of different cultural products of the Anglophone world by

  • developing an understanding of the issues and questions dealt with in cultural studies
  • developing the necessary (practical) skills for historical contextualization and cultural analysis
  • applying these skills to selected topic areas and cultural products/phenomena in the context of historical developments and current critical debates

Students will become familiar with

  • a variety of discourses and different conceptions of ‘history’ and ‘culture’
  • historical and present day socio-cultural and political debates
  • critical schools of thought
  • media-specific forms and methods of cultural analysis

Students will

  • research and assess relevant database information
  • produce and discuss outlines of different source material and critical debates
  • apply media-specific approaches for contextualization and analysis
  • situate critical debates and methodological approaches
  • position a cultural product within its wider context and current relevance
  • formulate discourse- and context-specific questions for further research

This “Übung” is mandatory for BA students in Anglistik/Amerikanistik Prerequisites:

  • regular attendance
  • mandatory session for everybody: May 19, 2009!!!
  • two written assignments (60% of the overall grade for the module)

Language in class: English


  • Jasmin Bashale: Mo 10-12, S 2-204
  • Florian Gubisch: Mo 12-14, A10 1-121a
  • Manuel Saralidis: Mo 18 - 20, A01 0-009

Florian Gubisch's tutorial on Monday 18th will be in A 10 1-121a. See you there. Please print out film analysis handout.

Session 1: Organisation and Introduction


  • Methods and principles in Cultural Studies,
  • explaining the outline of this course
  • Text: Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustav Vassa, the African, Written By Himself. 1789
  • close reading of frontmatter & beginning of first chapter; structure of the book
  • “Nationallizenzen” and ECCO

Homework Read Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789) either Norton Critical edition or pdf-files given on the page

  • Vol. I, Ch. V-VI, (better: at least up to VI)
  • Vol. II, Chaps. IX-X
  • close readings
  • read the Excerpt handout, look through the pdf files of the original text, gather information.

Session 2: Text Analysis

  • discussing the mandatory readings

Session 3: Historical Contextualization

  • clarifying the frameworks
  • group work (material distributed in class)

Materials to look at as course preparation

Two Spiritual Autobiographies
  • John Bunyan, The pilgrim's progress from this world to that which is to come delivered under the similitude of a dream, wherein is discovered the manner of his setting out, his dangerous journey, and safe arrival at the desired countrey London: Printed for Nath. Ponder, 1678. Wikipedia EEBO
  • An Account of Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of a Private Gentleman [...] to be communicated to the publick after his decease [...] the second edition, with additions from the author's original papers London: N. Cliff/ D. Jackson, 1711. ECCO
The three Parts of Robinson Crusoe
  • Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe part 1: The life and strange surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, mariner: who lived eight and twenty years, all alone in an un-inhabited. London: W. Taylor, 1719. ECCO
  • Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe part 2: The farther adventures of Robinson Crusoe; being the second and last part of his life, and of the strange surprizing accounts of his travels London: W. Taylor, 1719. ECCO
  • Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe part 3: Serious reflections during the life and surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe: with his vision of the angelick world. Written by himself London, W. Taylor. 1720 ECCO


  • Get you share of the National license to access EEBO and ECCO. Click http://www.nationallizenzen.de to apply.
  • Research – where can I find material?
  • Group 1: open access (e.g. the Internet),
  • Group 2: limited access (e.g. online databases),
  • Group 3: on campus library,
  • Group 4: inter-library loan

Page for Equiano Research Results

Session 4: Research Methods


Exercises & Discussions

  • Evaluating the quality of research methods and materials
  • Research Exercise: GVK Plus


  • read the following article: Carretta, Vincent. “Defining a Gentleman: The Status of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa.” Language Sciences 22 (2000): 385-399. link

Session 5: How to Read Secondary Literature


Exercises & Discussions

  • Vincent Carretta's article
  1. structure
  2. argumentation
  3. how does the text deal with primary text?
  4. how does the article deal with a discussion that has evolved around the Equiano narrative?
  5. how do I position myself with respect to the article

Assignment 1: DEADLINE: MAY 19, 2009

  • Compile a Bibliography of secondary research on Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustav Vassa, the African, Written By Himself. 1789
  1. Give a structured analysis of this bibliography:
    • Are there noticeable temporal gaps - remarkable intervals of no research?
    • Is it possible to connect topics of research to individual decades?
  2. Select and digest one article of this list
    • Try to place the article in the overview you gave in question one
    • Give a brief summary of its content and main argument

Session 6: New Perspectives on Equiano

Exercises & Discussions

  • Embedding Equiano in the concepts and approaches of Postcolonial Studies, Diaspora (e.g. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic)

Session 7: 9/11 Naudet Brothers, Media Screening, May 19, 2009

ATTENTION: mandatory for everybody Room: A14, Hörsaal 2 ab 18 Uhr s.t.!

Session 8: Documentary Film


Exercises & Discussions

  • Close analysis
  • Medium “documentary film” – compared to “feature film”; finding a definition; narrative structure? art? fiction?


  • Background reading

Session 9: Representations of 9/11


  • Link

Exercises & Discussions

  • Literature, film, artworks, photography…how does ‘culture’ deal with 9/11


  • Probing research methods – what can I find out about critical discussions on these events?

Session 10: Discourse


  • Link

Exercises & Discussions

  • Roland Barthes and the Mythologies
  • Reading and discussing 3 short articles
  • 5 examples (e.g. photographic images)

Session 11: Constructing/-edness of a Discourse


Exercises & Discussions

  • How is a discourse of terror(ism) formed? The terrorist themselves; media; reception
  • Comparative analysis of British newspapers
  • Goal of the discourse formation ?


  • to be announced

Session 12: From Public to Academic Debates


  • Link

Exercises & Discussions

  • The terror attacks in the framework of multiculturalism
  • Developing theses/statements
  • Structure of an (argumentative) essay


  • to be announced

Session 13: Round-up


Exercises & Discussions

  • Preparations for Assignment 2
  • Evaluation, feedback



Assignment 2 (take-home):

Argumentative essay (approx. 4 computer-typed pages)

Your research essay has to state and develop a thesis/an argument based on a topic of your choice relating to either part 1 (Olaudah Equiano) or part 2 (9/11 and 7/7) of the "Übung." While developing a thesis/statement on a topic of your choice consider the following questions:

  • What do you want to take issue with and why?
  • What is your argument?
  • How does your statement/thesis relate to the current scholarly debate? What is your position?

Based on your research of relevant primary and secondary sources, and with reference to the discussions and exercises during the semester you have to explain why it is important to take up one particular issue and how this issue relates to the current scholarly debate. Cite from the narrative to back up your answers.

Example: My contention is that in his autobiographical Narrative, Olaudah Equiano mimicks the voice of the colonized/other to subvert the British colonial – eurocentric – discourse. I agree with xyz, who claims that…However, I would go a step further an argue that Equiano’s Narrative is…

Format your essay according to the style sheet; you have to indicate quotations and give references, and you need to compile a bibliography at the end of your essay according to the style sheet. For further reference: Aczel, Richard. How to Write an Essay. Stuttgart et al.: Klett, 2006.

Assignment 2: DEADLINE: August 01, 2009