Nordamerikanische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft
North American Literature and Culture Studies has its focus in the literature of the United States and, to a lesser degree, Canada and the anglophone Caribbean – from Herman Melville to Paul Auster, from Olaudah Equiano to Michelle Cliff, and from Edith Wharton to Margaret Atwood. In a bi-annual general survey lecture students are introduced to the development of American literature from pre-colonial times to the present, both in the context of historical events and with regard to the development of literary genres, modes, and movements. Like its US model, the New American Studies, the classes taught in American Literature Studies at Rostock emphasize aspects of ethnicity, gender, and social estate in the formation of American literature, and they frequently look at literary works written in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean in a transnational, comparative fashion – here overlapping with the powerful emerging field of post-colonial literature studies. Recurring themes are, among many others, the myth of the wilderness and the frontier, the representation of migration and slavery in literary texts, the literature of ethnic minorities, the American city, and gothic literature. The development of literary criticism and literature-related cultural criticism is also part of the curriculum.