Prof. Dr. Holger Kersten
Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

 
 

Veranstaltungen im Wintersemester 2017/18
Lehrangebot im Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


Vertiefungsmodul: Amerikanistik Literatur I
Exploring "the under-world of London": Jack London's The People of the Abyss
Di, 12:00 - 14:00, Seminarraum 2 (ehem. SR 1.03) [AKStr.35]

Jack London was one of the most popular and highest paid writers of his time. Between 1900 and 1916, he published more than 50 books, hundreds of short stories, and a large number of essays. Several of his publications have become classics and enjoy a widespread popularity in the United States and abroad. London is best known for /The Sea Wolf/, /White Fang/, and /The Call of the Wild/, a novel listed by the Library of Congress as one of the "Books That Shaped America." In addition to his fiction, London also published a number of books drawing on the author's own life, often displaying his political and social views.

Based as it is on his personal experience during a 1902 sojourn in London, /The People of the Abyss/ is one example of this type of text. Jack London himself had a special appreciation for this book. "Of all my books," he told his wife near the end of his life, "I love most 'The People of the Abyss.' No other book of mine took so much of my young heart and tears as that study of the economic degradation of the poor." Although the book was first published in 1902, modern readers can easily see that its main themes – poverty, social justice, determinism, and the responsibilities of the individual – still resonate in the 21st century. This course will provide students with opportunities to analyze, discuss, and understand The People of the Abyss in the context of American literature and culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. It will also encourage students to explore the value of the ideas set forth in this publication.

The success of this class will depend on a thorough knowledge of /The People of the Abyss/ as well as on active student engagement and participation. Therefore, prospective participants are expected to have purchased and read a copy of the book by the beginning of term. Although there is currently no scholarly edition that I can recommend for purchase, it is important that all students have access to a printed reading copy of the text. Make sure that you get a copy that includes the photos that make up a special feature of this book.

Students are also strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves in advance with the general aspects of this subject. They must be prepared to participate actively in class and to commit themselves to weekly reading and writing assignments. To receive full credit for this class (5 CP), students will have to produce a "Hausarbeit." More information about the specific requirements will be announced in the first class session. A summary of the main requirements has been placed in the folder "Dateien" in Stud.IP.

Please use Stud.IP to register for this class. LIAS will be used as an online communications platform during the semester.


Vertiefungsmodul Kulturwissenschaft I; Angloamerikanische Kultur: Geschichte der USA
Dissent and Resistance – An American Tradition
Do, 10:00 - 12:00, Medienraum [Mel]

In his publication Dissent in America, Ralph F. Young declares that "dissent is central to American history." As his anthology reveals, there is no phase in American life in which political decisions have not been opposed by people who felt that they deviated from America's fundamental values. From the episodes of religious dissent in the 17th century to the most recent forms of resistance against the proposed policies of President Trump, Americans have exercised their fundamental right to express their opinions on and their opposition to problematic cultural, social, and political attitudes and policies. In this way, they have embodied the long tradition of democratic debate in American culture.

By examining selected examples of American dissent and resistance at different points in American history, this class explores the ways in which American citizens have taken up what appeared to them as problematic and contentious issues in their culture. By taking an active role in their society, they addressed questions of ethical import and became actively involved in the struggle to live up to the promises of the American constitution.

Drawing on various types of primary documents, including speeches, legislative acts, letters, essays, as well as research literature, this course will familiarize students with a central aspect of American history and culture.

Students interested in signing up for this class must be prepared to participate actively in class and to commit themselves to weekly reading and writing assignments. Reading material will be made available in the course of the semester.

Please use Stud.IP to register for this class.


Anglistik Literaturwissenschaft: literarische Gattungen und Gattungstheorien II
Literature Between Art and Activism: T.C. Boyle's A Friend of the Earth
Do, 14:00 - 16:00, Seminarraum 23 (Raum 2.01) [LuWu 2]

T. C. Boyle is a bestselling novelist and short fiction writer whose work has been praised for its quirky characters, unexpected and often bizarre situations, and his stylized prose. Several of his novels take their cue from historical characters and events, and many of his texts satirize human hypocrisy, self-indulgent materialism, self-importance and other ills and foibles of society.

A number of his publications are devoted to the natural environment, an issue which, as he confessed in an interview "obsesses" him. Boyle, a recipient of the Henry David Thoreau award for excellence in nature writing (2014), is concerned about a world in which humans are confronted by a multitude of threats and dangers, but he attempts to find a counterweight to an entirely gloomy worldview. "What sustains me, mentally," he said in an 2016 interview [ . . . ] is nature and my art."

Set in the year 2025, A Friend of the Earth tells the story of Tyrone Tierwater and his attempts to deal with a world endangered and then transformed by the effects of climate change. As Boyle interweaves Tierwater's personal history with environmental changes, he invites his readership to reflect on the consequences that follow from the personal, economic, and political decisions that people make. Although it was published in the year 2000, the novel is, as a reviewer stated in December 2016, "more timely today than ever. In an era of climate crisis, the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry, and the election of a US President hell-bent on destroying what piecemeal environmental protections currently exist, there is much about this novel that resonates deeply."

Prospective participants are expected to have purchased and read a copy of the book by the beginning of term. Although there is currently no scholarly edition that I can recommend for purchase, it is important that all students have access to a printed reading copy of the text. Students are also strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves in advance with the general aspects of this subject. They must be prepared to participate actively in class and to commit themselves to weekly reading and writing assignments. To receive full credit for this class (5 CP), students will have to produce a "Hausarbeit." More information about the specific requirements will be announced in the first class session. A summary of the main requirements has been placed in the folder "Dateien" in Stud.IP.

Please use Stud.IP to register for this class. ILIAS will be used as an online communications platform during the semester.


Forschungskolloquium Angloamerikanische Kulturwissenschaft / Literaturwissenschaft
Forschungskolloquium Amerikanistik: Literatur und Kultur
Di, 14:00 - 16:00, Adam-Kuckhoff-Straße 35, SR 3.04

This class will provide students of all study programs with a forum to present and discuss their current research projects for written their final thesis.

Please use Stud.IP to register for this class.


 
  Version vom 15.01.2018