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MASNEWS 01/2008: From MAS to William and Mary

End of application process
Berlin Seminar 2008
New Publication
Life after the MAS
GAAS Annual Convention

Dear all,

DjnewsletterWelcome to the Heidelberg Center for American Studies’ MAS newsletter! This edition covers some exciting spring time highlights: from the 2008 Berlin Excursion, which included a lecture by former U.S. Congressman and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle at the American Academy, as well as our Alumni activities and a recent publication from erstwhile MAS staff members.

Please feel free to forward our newsletter to anyone interested in American Studies. Of course, we appreciate any feedback you would like to share with us.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Detlef Junker
HCA Founding Director


MAS 2009: End of application process


On March 31, the application deadline for the MAS 2009 expired. The MAS coordination team received applications not only from the United States and Europe, but also from, among others, Iran, Vietnam, and Tunisia.

Bel Etage Web Our online application for the MAS Class of 2010 opens October 2008, with March 31, 2009, being the closing date for applications.


Over the course of the past four years, 68 students from 25 countries have enrolled in the MAS. Joining the MAS promises a profoundly international experience and the opportunity to gain inside knowledge on the United States from an outside perspective.




Berlin Seminar 2008: MAS Student Trip to the German Capital

Kamila Janiszewska (MAS 2008) reports on this year’s transatlantic seminar in Germany’s capital, Berlin.

Berlin 2008 Web In spite of challenges from the weather and public transport, the 2008 MAS class trip to Berlin went according to plan and exceeded expectations. The five days we spent in the capital showed as yet unexplored aspects of American Studies in Germany. The city’s impressive architecture and the culinary charm of Currywurst and beer made us want to echo JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner.”


During the visit to the Kennedy museum, we had the chance to see how impressive and meaningful President Kennedy’s visit to Berlin really was. The tour of the library of the Bundestag offered us another – by no means final – peek into the world of great politics, while the meeting with Mr. Stanley Otto at the U.S. embassy shed more light on German-American relations and the challenges and rewards of a career in diplomacy. Other highlights of the trip were a guided tour of the Jewish Museum and the JFK Institute library. On our way to the latter, we were caught in traffic and soaked by rain but fortunately made it without losses in people and battle spirit.


The most exciting event for most of our class was the evening at the American Academy. We had the honor to attend Senator Thomas Daschle’s lecture on solutions to the global energy crisis. Introduced by President Richard von Weizsäcker, Senator Daschle spoke about shared responsibility and the importance of an international exchange of ideas concerning energy solutions and answered questions from the audience. After the lecture, we had the opportunity to speak with him and take a photograph for the HCA archives.


Crowning this extraordinary evening was our run for the S-Bahn, fast and swift, high heels and elegant dress notwithstanding. Suffice it to say that we concluded our visit in Berlin with humor and gusto.


New Publication: “Mission and Menace: Four Centuries of American Religious Zeal”

This spring, former HCA staff and faculty members Prof. Robert Jewett and Ole Wangerin published “Mission and Menace: Four Centuries of American Religious Zeal (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008)”.

Jewett Book Web Their book, which presents a comprehensive view of American religious history, is the result of three years of lectures and seminars at the HCA from 2004–2007. As the authors acknowledge in their preface, “the lively exchanges with brilliant students from all over the world and auditors from Heidelberg enabled us not only to refine our critical perspective but also to gain a global view of the issues.” The final outcome is a survey that reveals how American religion has been a blessing to the world in some ways and a menace to peace in others.

A German translation of “Mission and Menace” will be published in September 2008.




Life after the MAS: Heidelberg, Hong Kong, Williamsburg

Selina Lai Suet Lin (MAS Class of 2006) reports on her fortunes after graduation.

Selina Lai WebI had learned a lot in Heidelberg to begin with, and am going to take the knowledge and experience from there with me wherever I go in the future. I had such a great experience in Heidelberg, and I still remember the New Year countdown up on the castle, and the great dinner at Prof. Junker’s house with others. After having graduated from the MAS 2006, I returned to Hong Kong well prepared to take up the position as a lecturer in American Studies at Hong Kong University. Besides, I attended conferences and published in academic journals and encyclopedias such as the Columbia Journal of American Studies, Magill’s Survey of American Literature, International Fiction Review, and the Encyclopedia of the Culture Wars. I was all the more excited to receive an offer from the College of William and Mary to earn my doctoral degree in American Studies starting this fall. Much as I have lost my heart in Heidelberg, I am looking forward to bringing with me the unique experience I had from there to Williamsburg in the coming years.





Further News from the HCA

HCA hosts Annual Convention of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS)

The HCA is proud to act as the local organizer of the 55th Annual Convention of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS) to be held May 15-18, 2008, at the University of Heidelberg. The GAAS promotes and encourages the study of American culture and history in Germany. Its annual meetings serve as a forum for debate and networking in the broadly defined field of American Studies.

Dgfa 2008 Web This year’s meeting will be devoted to “The American Presidency and Political Leadership.” An issue with special relevance in an election year, participants will approach the topic from their respective disciplinary perspectives. The conference will include scholars from the fields of literature, cultural studies, media and film studies, history, and political science. The meeting will encompass workshops in which work in progress will be discussed as well as lectures by distinguished speakers from different specializations in American studies. Participants include historian H. W. Brands (University of Texas at Austin), political economist Andreas Falke (Nuremberg-Erlangen University), political scientist Michael A. Genovese (Director, Institute for Leadership Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles), and professor of English Dana D. Nelson (Vanderbilt University, Nashville).


Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx (The Shipping News; Brokeback Mountain) will read from her new collection Fine Just the Way It Is. The conference will be rounded off by a public forum headlined “The American Presidency: Mission Impossible?” and featuring several of the already mentioned scholars as well as journalists Katja Gelinsky (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Stefan Kornelius (Editorial Page Editor, Süddeutsche Zeitung).


For further information please visit the website of the German Association for American Studies or the website of the conference.




Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA)
Curt und Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais
Hauptstraße 120
69117 Heidelberg
Tel.: + 49 6221 543710
E-Mail: hca@uni-hd.de

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Latest Revision: 2018-05-23