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Paths Crossing

Essays in German-American Studies


Cora Lee Kluge

This book is based on a symposium which took place in April 2009 and was part of a year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It presents ten essays by scholars from North America and Europe working in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences that endeavor to move the discipline of German-American studies away from the narrowly conceived historical investigation of the migration of ethnic Germans to America that has dominated the field for decades. The traditional understanding of what it meant to be German-American as well as the myths associated with the ethnicity, language, and literature of this large group of immigrants are thrown into question and reassessed, and potential directions for the future of the field – as it exists on both sides of the Atlantic – are posited. The novel approach of this volume examines German-American studies from historical, literary, cultural, geographical, and linguistic perspectives, among others, and seeks to redefine the field as the study of the total experience of German-speaking immigrants and their descendants as seen in a global, multicultural, and interdisciplinary context.
Contents: Cora Lee Kluge/Mark L. Louden: German-American Studies: An Expansive - and Expanding - Field – Jost Hermand: Forced Out of Hitler’s Reich: Five Eminent Madisonians – Walter D. Kamphoefner: Elvis and Other Germans: Some Reflections and Modest Proposals on the Study of German-American Ethnicity – Hartmut Keil: «That Species of Property»: Francis Lieber’s Encounter with Slavery and Race – Hugh Ridley: Sealsfield’s Das Kajütenbuch: The Half-Unfolded Spring of German and American Literature – Lorie A. Vanchena: Taking Stock: The Disappearance of German-American Literature? – Daniel Nützel: German-American Dialects on Different Paths to Extinction: Examples from Haysville, Indiana and New Ulm, Minnesota – Steven Hoelscher: Performing the American Myth by Speaking German: Changing Meanings of Ethnic Identity between the World Wars – Uwe Lübken: Situating Natural Hazards in German-American Studies – Louis A. Pitschmann: Advancing German-American Studies in the Digital Age: Opportunities for Collaboration.