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The IPP Workshop Series

When Jun 01, 2016
from 02:00 to 04:00
Where Phil I, GCSC, R.01
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 641 / 99-30 055
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The American West | Ioanna Kipourou 

The American West as a Conceptual Framework in Literary and Cultural Studies

This workshop will offer an introductory overview of the concept of the American West with a specific focus on the major concepts of race, gender, sexuality, and class within a literary and cultural framework starting from the era of westward expansion up until today.

During the last few decades, American society seems to be undergoing yet another change that is naturally reflected in its cultural landscape. Exploring culture within the American context as a constantly evolving and multifaceted concept, it is striking that the American West still represents a mythical space of adventure, violence, freedom, individual opportunity, sociopolitical conflict and cultural encounters as well as environmental challenges. The concept of the American West allows for the American society to maintain its national myths and fundamental values that constantly transform yet seem to reaffirm the American imaginary across its diverse demographic groups. This workshop will thus place emphasis on exploring similarities and differences regarding the experiences of the American West as a frontier among different cultural groups in the United States - White, Black, Asian, and Hispanics. We will examine how the American West challenges hegemonic fictions and responds to sociopolitical changes –in terms of racial and ethnic stratification in relation to sociopolitical changes, bilingualism and code-switching, the pursuit of citizenship and issues of immigration.
Through engaging with questions and concerns about American cultural theories and praxis, this workshop will allow participants to reflect upon the current cultural dynamics of the concept of the American West.

Texts (optional reading)

  • L. Robert Kohls. The Values Americans Live by. Meridian House International, 1984.
  • Dan P. McAdams. The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. The Guilford Press, 1997.        

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