Guest Lecture on U.S. Immigration History by Fulbright Scholar Andrew Urban

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 12:00 in HS10

English Department, University of Klagenfurt

U.S. Immigration History and the Contemporary Politics of Immigration Control

The first portion of this talk will explore contemporary debates about immigration and asylum policies in the US, and the resurgence of xenophobia, racism, and nativism in American culture. Among the questions to be addressed: how have policies, enforcement measures, and rhetoric in the United States changed since Donald Trump took office in January 2017? To what extent do the policies and discourses advanced by President Trump represent a dramatic departure from previous administrations? Professor Urban will also examine the different proposals for immigration policy reform that have originated from the American right, center, and left in recent years – ranging from proposals to construct a U.S.-Mexico border wall to calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

The second portion of this talk will shift focus to efforts by public historians, artists, and activists to bring to the American public more critical accounts of the United States’ immigration history, and to create a “usable past” that can inform dialogue in the present. Professor Urban will discuss how museums, online exhibitions, and other forms of public-facing scholarship have sought to challenge and complicate mythologies surrounding assimilation, legal vs. illegal immigration, and the United States’ image, as Emma Lazarus famously put it, as a refuge for “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Finally, the talk will conclude with a discussion of Professor Urban’s work in Klagenfurt, and the class project that his students are conducting on the history of Displaced Persons Camps in post-World War II Carinthia. Professor Urban will share primary sources from the United Nations United Relief and Rehabilitation Administration archives that his students are working with, and how these documents are being used to spur conversations among Austrian students about refugee politics in Europe today.

Andrew Urban is an Associate Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His first book, Brokering Servitude (NYU Press, 2018), examines how federal immigration policies and private entrepreneurs shaped labor markets for domestic service in the nineteenth and early-twentieth century United States, and dictated the contractual conditions under which migration occurred. His current research project explores the history of Seabrook Farms, a frozen foods agribusiness and company town in southern New Jersey that recruited incarcerated Japanese Americans, guestworkers from the British West Indies, as well as Estonian Displaced Persons and stateless Japanese Peruvians during the 1940s. Additional information on Professor Urban’s scholarship can be found here:

Workshop with Wojciech Malecki on Empirical Methods in Literary Studies

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 10:30-11:30

English Department, University of Klagenfurt

Based on his extensive experiences in the empirical study of literary texts with an interdisciplinary team of psychologists and biologists at the University of Wroclaw, Wojciech Malecki will discuss with the Narrative Encounters team how we can study the attitudinal impact of stories experimentally. Why Is empirical evidence Important in the study of literary texts? What methods are most appropriate for such studies? And what do we gain by using the method of controlled experiment to test the impact of stories on actual readers? These are some of the questions we will address in the workshop.

foto: charles loyer Mit Literatur gegen den Rassismus


5. Oktober 2018, 06:52
foto: ap
US-Präsident Donald Trump übte Kritik an den Footballspielern Colin Kaepernick (re.) und Eric Reid, die während der amerikanischen Hymne kniend gegen die alltägliche Polizeigewalt gegen Schwarze protestierten

Können Romane dabei helfen, Vorurteile zwischen ethnischen Gruppen abzubauen? Ein Projekt an der Universität Klagenfurt will diese Frage beantworten Was macht man im schwärzesten aller Schwarzenghettos? Klar, Marihuana anbauen. Und Wassermelonen. Und was macht man, wenn der Vater von Cops erschossen und der schwarze Stadtteil von der Karte getilgt und gentrifiziert wird? Vor Gericht ziehen. Darum kämpfen, dass die Segregation wieder eingeführt wird. Und die Sklaverei. Bis zum US-Höchstgericht. – Die erzählerischen Eckpunkte der tabulosen Literatursatire The Sellout des US-Autors Paul Beatty schneiden sich durch die Eingeweide des politisch korrekten Lesenden, indem sie rassistische Klischees auf zynische Weise aufbereitet. – Mehr

Die Presse – Romane als Wunderwaffe gegen Diskriminierung?

von Cornelia Grobner

Die Amerikanistin Alexa Weik von Mossner untersucht ethnische amerikanische Literatur. In einem dreijährigen Projekt beleuchtet sie die Rolle von Empathie und Emotion beim Schreiben und Lesen von Fiktion.

„Sie bringen Drogen, sie bringen Kriminalität, sie sind Vergewaltiger.“ Donald Trump ist nicht zimperlich, wenn er über Migranten oder Minderheiten spricht. Nicht selten mischen sich diskriminierende Stereotypen in die Reden des US-amerikanischen Präsidenten – und sie fallen auf fruchtbaren Boden. Gegenentwürfe zu dieser Meta-Erzählung, nach der Schwarze, Muslime und Menschen mexikanischer Herkunft eine Bedrohung für die Nation sind, finden sich vor allem in der Literatur.

Was bewirken diese Texte bei Leserinnen und Lesern der Mehrheitsgesellschaft? Machen die Romane sie gar zu besseren Menschen? Diesen Fragen geht derzeit die Amerikanistin und Literaturwissenschaftlerin Alexa Weik von Mossner von der Alpen-Adria-Universität in Klagenfurt gemeinsam mit den Doktoratsstudierenden Marijana Mikić und Mario Grill nach. Sie beschäftigt sich bereits seit einem Jahrzehnt mit dem Zusammenspiel von Literatur, Textproduktion und Rezeption in Bezug auf Emotionen und Mehr

Romane als Wunderwaffe gegen Diskriminierung?

Narrative Encounters Project starts on October 1st

Can novels make us care about Others? Can they even make us better citizens, as the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum has argued? And if so, how exactly do they go about that?

Research has shown that literary fiction enhances our capacity to understand other’s mental states and that it can make us less racist, but can it indeed rewire our brains and connect us all, as has also been argued? And what role does our own cultural context and our personal experiences play in that rewiring process? These are some of the questions that the Narrative Encounters team aims to tackle over the coming three years. Focusing on the American cultural context, we will explore how contemporary literary texts by African American, Chicano/a and Muslim American writers engage readers and what larger implications such imaginative engagement can have. To do this, we will use the analytical tools of cognitive narratology – a theoretical approach that draws on research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology – and bring them in conversation with more contextually oriented approaches and with empirical research on actual readers.

This inevitably will mean a lot of reading and writing, but the project will also include a range of talks, discussions, and workshops that bring together scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds who share our interest in ethnic American literature and culture and in the psychological dimensions of reading. Regular updates and announcements related to the project as well as occasional field notes are available here.