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


Veranstaltungen im Wintersemester 2005/2006

Proseminar Kulturstudien
American Popular Culture
Di 9-11 h
  Although it has always been a ubiquitous feature of modern life, "popular culture" has often been dismissed as unfit for serious academic study. In recent years, however, the subject has received more attention in academia and its status has been raised significantly by the work of M. Thomas Inge, Ray B. Browne, C.W.E. Bigsby, and others. These scholars believe that "there is no more revealing index to the total character and nature of a society than an examination of its popular arts and the way it spends its leisure time" (Inge). This class is designed to familiarize students with the basic concepts of popular culture. It will acquaint them with questions of cultural theory and invite them to explore a selection of fields in American popular culture.

Only students who are prepared to participate actively and to commit themselves to a significant number of assignments should sign up for this class. Prospective participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves in advance with the general aspects of the subject. Study material will be made available by the beginning of term.

HS Kulturstudien
Tramps and Homelessness in American Culture
Di 11-13 h


Among the popular images the USA, "the Land of Plenty" has always had a special appeal for immigrants and Americans alike. But the stories of achievement and success which formed the basis of the "American dream" stand in stark contrast to a social reality in which hundreds of thousands of people eked out a living as itinerant laborers. By studying a selection of texts dealing with historical , economic, sociological and other issues connected with the life of the wandering poor, this class will acquaint students with a neglected aspect of life in nineteenth-century America.

Students wishing to participate in this class must be willing to devote significant time and effort to preparatory reading. To obtain a “Schein” for this class, students will be required to work on a series of assignments drawing on the full range of their academic skills. Prospective students are advised to acquaint themselves with the general aspects of the subject ahead of time. The required reading will be made available by the beginning of term.

PS Literaturstudien
Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
Mi 13-15 h

The Scarlet Letter tells the story of a woman who has been condemned to lifelong punishment for committing a single sin but does not allow this unjust sentence to crush her spirit. As one of the great novels in American literature, Hawthorne's classic text is perfectly suited for a class that sets out to acquaint students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to read, analyze, and comment competently on literary texts. Students will learn about the basic concepts of literary scholarship and will have ample opportunities to apply them to the novel.

Prospective participants must be prepared to participate actively and to commit themselves to regular reading and writing assignments. Students are expected to have read the text of the novel by the beginning of term.

Required text (make sure you get exactly this edition): Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Ross C Murfin (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1991). ISBN: 0312035462

HS Literaturstudien
Literary Images of the South Seas
Mi 15-17 h

  The South Seas have always had a fascination for visitors from the Western world. From the early days of travel to the modern era, the tropical landscape and the exotic peoples have been a challenge and an inspiration to the literary imagination. This course will explore how writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Jack London and others recorded their impressions in travelogues and fiction and thus created a body of literature filled with diverse images of the Pacific world.

To receive credit for this class, students are required to complete oral and written assignments and to submit a portfolio reflecting the various activities undertaken throughout the semester. To maximize the time available for analysis and discussion, it is important for students to have read Jack London's The Log of the Snark by the beginning of term.

Required text (make sure you get exactly this edition): Jack London, The Cruise of the Snark (New York : Penguin Books, 2004), ISBN: 0142437735. – Supplementary texts will be made available by the beginning of term.

  Version vom 30.08.2018