American Studies


In the tradition of American Studies, we are concerned with literatures and cultures of the Americas. Therefore, we engage in literary studies (esp. literary theory and literary history), area-specific cultural studies and cultural history (also from a transnational perspective) as well as in cultural theory and general cultural studies (with a focus also on non-literary socio-cultural processes).

American Studies at Erlangen: A Brief History

American Studies at Erlangen draws on a long tradition. The American Studies department was the first to be established in Bavaria after the Second World War and Eduard Brenner was its first appointed chair. Brenner at the same time served as the first post-war president of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuernberg. His successors in American Studies include Theodor Wolpers (from 1961) and Hans Joachim Lang (from 1967), under whose aegis the department was greatly expanded. In 1987, Helmbrecht Breinig became chair of American Studies and, from 1998, served as the first director of the newly founded Bavarian American Academy in Munich. The differentiation of research fields was accompanied by an expansion of the cultural area of studies (USA, Canada, Caribbean), by internal research differentiation (race, class, gender) as well as by a turn to cultural theory.
As of 2004 Heike Paul serves as chair of American Studies, in particular North American cultural and literary studies. She is also the director of the Bavarian American Academy since 2017. As of 2009 Antje Kley holds the newly established chair of American Studies, in particular literary studies. The department is today united with English and Romance Studies in the Department Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Romanistik.