"Tracing Early American Captivity Narratives" (TEACaN) is an interdisciplinary research project that brings together literary and cultural studies, computational linguistics, and geoinformatics (GIS). The research focus is set on captivity narratives—often seen as the first genuine US-American literary genre—and their function in the representation and imagination of communities in North America. The research corpus is comprised of narratives by and about captives taken in different contact zones in the Western hemisphere, thereby connecting European cultural centers with regions of Africa as well as North and South America. Based on already established research, TEACaN expands the field of transnational Captivity Studies by undertaking a computerized analysis of about 400 captivity narratives published between 1500 and 1900. The project aims at revealing topological and topographical demarcations and connections to further study captivity narratives’ multidimensional relationships with each other as well as their geographical dissemination. The use of GIS-software, web-based tools for text analysis and computational linguistic methods aims to advance to state of research in the following areas: a) transnational developments in literary history; b) questions of authorship in relation to the narrating agency; c) the set-up of a particular captivity narrative “grammar” (the event structure and motifs) from transhistorical and transnational perspectives. This in-depth and quantitative study of intertextual interdependences and paratextual relations seeks to further explore the constitutive significance of captivity narratives for the early American literary marketplace.

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Teaching Interculturality, University of Stuttgart (Sept. 26, 2014)
A joint venture of AQUA-KOLA and the Department of English and American Studies

Objectives of the Workshop “Teaching Interculturality”:
The beneficial role of literature in the teaching of intercultural
competence has been a core concern in the EFL classroom. The
literature of ethnic groups and culturally marginalized “others” seems
to facilitate access to a world and a past removed, offering an
education in perspective-taking, and empathy. This is how literature
molds cosmopolitan citizens, “intercultural speakers”, used to
switching cultures, codes and contexts, and at home in transnational
imaginaries. Even so the difficulties and limitations of teaching such
intercultural competence, the dangers of decontextualized readings
and commodification have been widely explored.
The aim of this workshop is to re-engage with Byram’s influential
notion of the “intercultural speaker”. We seek to offer ways of
addressing the potential as well as the difficulties of the situated
nature of the “reading process” and formation of interpretive
communities in the classroom. How can we offer ways of developing
methodological competence, and reflexive reading processes, in light
of these concerns, and in particular, at the intersection of cultural and
literary studies?
Visit our website for updates and further details in September:

Visualing Australia, University of Stuttgart
(Sept. 27, 2012)


Das Konferenzthema nimmt sich visueller Repräsentationen
Australiens an. Gefragt wird danach, wie Australien in Bildern,
digitalen Medien, Museen und kollektiven Narrativen imaginiert
und inszeniert wird. Das Ziel der Konferenz ist es, Verbindungen
aufzuzeigen zwischen historischen Wendepunkten in Politik, Gesellschaft
und Kultur und bestimmten Visualisierungen, in denen
sich ein neues Selbstverständnis ausdrückt.
Die Beiträge und Diskussionen sollen dazu beitragen, eine Kulturgeschichte
des Australienbildes zu erstellen. Hierbei soll es
nicht nur um das „Selbstbild“ Australiens aus einer inländischen
Perspektive gehen, auch umgekehrt wird die Rezeption Australiens
in anderen Kulturen, speziell Europa, durch spezifische
Bilder und Ikonographien beeinflusst. Zwischen diesen beiden
komplementären Perspektiven entsteht ein Spannungsfeld, das
den Gegenstand für interdisziplinäre und transkulturelle Fragestellungen

Weitere Informationen:

International Conference, UNIVERSITY OF STUTTGART
(July 16-19, 2009)


Locating Postcolonial Narrative Genres

International Conference, Stuttgart University, July 16-19, 2009

The prominence of questions of cultural identity in postcolonial studies has prevented due attention to concerns of literary form and aesthetics. Genres like the novel have often been condemned as ultimately complicit with dominant Western enlightenment agendas and local forms of articulation have frequently deconstructed them or redefined their properties. While considering the politics of cultural production and the tensions involved, our main aim is to explore the faultlines of generic transformations and of the emergence of new genres. In which way have marginalized cultures been concerned with traditional forms like the epic or the novel, how has e.g. the postcolonial epic re-conceptualized the burden of traditional nation-founding myths or the postcolonial novel deconstructed implications of the history of (auto)biographical models and of enlightened individualism? Such questions have special urgency in the context of cultures with strong oral traditions. The conference will focus on the evolution of specific narrative techniques as part of an emerging postcolonial aesthetics.


(06. - 07.02.2009)


Moving Images - Mobile Viewers: 20th Century Visuality

Vision and movement seem to have shifted centre stage in modes of experience in the last century: as a result of their joint effect slow contemplative gazes at static images seem to be increasingly displaced by distracted, ‘vernacular’ ways of seeing. Looking out of the window of a speeding car, receiving photographs of planet earth from outer space, watching the flickering images of the TV screen, scrolling through a text, zooming in on a location in Google Maps, or sending images via mobile phones or webcams - all these are unique visual experiences that were impossible before various inventions in the 20th century originated completely new kinds of movement. The double meaning of “moving images” is meant to signal the specificality of motion to these imagi(ni)ngs and at the same time to express the emotional power of those visual images which are able to transcend the constant stream of images in contemporary perception.

Conference Website
Call for Papers (pdf)

International Conference


Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-Nation

We would like to invite you to our international conference 'Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-Nation' that will take place on July 17th-20th 2008 in Freudenstadt-Lauterbad, at the Black Forest. The conference invites a cross- and interdisciplinary approach to the circulation of signifying practices and the interplay between various semiotic systems, e.g. film, fiction and photography in 20th-century Anglophone contexts.

Conference Website

17. - 20.07.2008

Prof. Dr. Walter Göbel
Noha Hamdi
Sarah Säckel


"Das andere Amerika"

Sabine Metzger, Mannheim
Patrick O'Donnell, East Lansing, USA
Carsten Schinko, Stuttgart
Thomas Wägenbaur, Bruchsal
Heide Ziegler, Stuttgart