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Vielberth Fellow Prof. Dr. David Savran

This semester, REAF was fortunate enough to be able to bring accomplished Performance Studies scholar Prof. Dr. David Savran (CUNY) to UR as a REAF Fellow with the generous support of the Vielberth Foundation. In addition to his keynote lecture for our anniversary conference (see Highlights: REAF@10 Anniversary Conference), Prof. Savran gave two additional talks and hosted a research roundtable together with Regensburg American Studies students.

On July 3, in a talk titled “The Glass of Water,” he spoke on the performance history, political efficacy, and theatricality of the eponymous mundane object for working-within-the-system environmental protests against coal-mining shareholders. The following day, with his lecture and a colloquium on the lecture’s topic, “Playwriting and the American Apocalypse,” he surveyed the field of post-WW II American stage performances for representations of apocalypse as the un-representable per se, and how the performances use notions of post-apocalyptic temporalities of ‘survival beyond death’ to engage with this currently pressing ecological and political matter. Directly following this talk, Prof. Savran hosted a research roundtable with students of all levels in the American Studies programs, during which he discussed students' projects and referred them back to current debates within the discipline.

REAF thanks Prof. Savran for his academic generosity, his inspiring scholarly integrity, as well as his wide-ranging current research, which we are eager to stay tuned with in the future, and wish him all the best from Regensburg!

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Roundtable with Dr. Jennifer Reimer

On Thursday, 28 June 2018, REAF hosted a roundtable with Dr. Jennifer Reimer (University of Graz, Lise-Meitner Fellow) titled “Academic Freedom? The Politics and Practice of Transnational American Studies in Turkey and around the Globe.”

In an engaging and critical manner, Dr. Reimer spoke from a biographical perspective about her experiences as an American Studies scholar in Turkey during the political upheavals specifically during and after the mid-2013 Gezi Park protests that spread from Istanbul throughout the nation. Answering questions by participants about on-site experiences and offering insights into the intricacies and challenges of teaching American Studies transnationally, Dr. Reimer provided an exclusive and intriguing glimpse into the endangered academic freedoms that American Studies as a discipline may often be too sure of.

REAF thanks Dr. Reimer for bringing her experiences, both professional as well as personal, to Regensburg and framing them in a manner that went to the crux of entanglements between politics and academia.

REAF@10 Anniversary Conference

Reaf 10 Board Speakers Staff

On June 28 and 29, the Regensburg European American Forum celebrated its tenth anniversary with a conference touching on the core issues and interests that have been shaping REAF since its inception in 2008.

After an introduction by Dr. Birgit Bauridl (REAF Managing Director) and official greetings by Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (President UR, REAF Founding Director) and Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat (Dean of the Faculty, REAF Co-Director), the keynote speaker and Vielberth Fellow Prof. Dr. David Savran (CUNY, REAF Fellow) took the stage to speak on the topic of haunted houses on the American theater stages from a performance studies angle, which was followed by a lively discussion moderated by Florian Weinzierl (REAF Coordinator).

The second day was kicked off by Fulbright Visiting Prof. Dr. Ben Chappell (University of Kansas, REAF Fellow) and a talk on the encroachment of neoliberalism on (digital) landscapes of knowledge production, which was chaired by Regensburg graduate student Luis Groitl. The following presentations by Dr. Jennifer Reimer (University of Graz, Lise-Meitner Fellow), chaired by Carolina Giavedoni (REAF Assistant), by Dr. Leopold Lippert (University of Vienna), chaired by Kate Sherman (REAF Assistant), and Prof. Dr. Heike Paul (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg), chaired by Tamara Heger (UR), engaged the historical and cultural dynamics of Transnational American Studies: Dr. Reimer shed light on the continuous disappearances of Mexican (indigenous) women in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands as well as the political and cultural-activist reactions to them, such as the Ni Una Más-movement; Dr. Lippert investigated the (queer) ‘transatlantic politics of freedom’ between Portugal and the North American colonies in the little-known and even less researched 1775 publication Adventures of Alonso; Prof. Dr. Paul discussed historical stepping stones of the “fictions of a ‘White Atlantic’” in a genealogical effort to trace the Nazi ideology of the Volkskörper transnationally to the United States.

The last event of the conference was a roundtable on “Area Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” moderated by Prof. Hebel, during which the interdisciplinary participants, Prof. Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer (CITAS), Prof. Depkat, Dr. Gerlinde Groitl (CITAS), and Prof. Dr. Jochen Mecke (CITAS, Speaker) discussed the ‘productive frictions’ between different disciplinary definitions of the concept of ‘the area.’
REAF wishes to thank all the speakers, chairs, behind-the-scenes staff, and of course the many conference participants and guests that have made this anniversary conference an academically productive and lively occasion.

A special thanks also goes to the students of the class “Local or Global? Performance in America” (co-taught by Dr. Bauridl at UR and Dr. Pia Wiegmink at U Mainz), who exhibited their performance studies projects in the form of creative and interactive posters as well as elaborate and crafty installations to the interest and delight of all conference participants.

For the full conference program, please click here.

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Book Project Presentation

In the evening hours of 12 June 2018, Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat (REAF Board of Co-Directors) presented his forthcoming book project titled “American Exceptionalism” to an interested crowd at the University of Regensburg’s Kunsthalle. The monograph, which will appear with Rowman & Littlefield in The American Ways Series, edited by Prof Dr. John David Smith (UNC Charlotte), approaches the foundational but controversial narrative(s) of exceptionalism(s) in the context of U.S. history from their beginnings up to contemporary debates from a critical angle. After presenting his theses and chapters, Prof. Depkat received responses from an interdisciplinary panel. Prof. Stephan Bierling (REAF Board of Co-Directors) and Prof. Ben Chappell (REAF Fellow, Fulbright Visiting Professor, University of Kansas) offered critical perspectives on the project from a political science and an ethnographical/cultural anthropological point of view, respectively. Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (REAF Founding Director), who also chaired the event and moderated the discussion, contributed further American Studies-inspired responses and opened the floor up for questions from the audience.

REAF thanks all guests and participants for coming to this special event in REAF’s 10-year anniversary semester and looks forward to more lively discussions with interested scholars, students, and guests from all disciplines at the upcoming REAF@10 events.


REAF Excursion to Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial for Generation Talk

On Friday, 20 April 2018, a group of 22 UR American Studies, European American Studies, and Political Science students joined REAF for an excursion to the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial. After an informative guided tour of the former camp grounds led by Sonja Sczech, the group had the chance to explore the permanent and temporary exhibitions of the memorial before receiving the unique opportunity of a generation talk with the daughter and granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Reaf Excursion Flossenb _rg Generation Talk Helen Albert 20 April 2018 _light_

UR students gather around Helen Albert and her daughter Sarah after their generation talk at Flossenbürg; also with Sonja Sczech, guide at the memorial, Julius Scharnetzky, from the memorial’s educational department (left), as well as REAF Board Member Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat and REAF Managing Director Dr. Birgit Bauridl (right).

Helen Albert, who is currently serving as the Acting General Inspector for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., and her daughter Sarah presented the life of their grand/father Oskar Albert prior to, during, and after his consecutive internment in five concentration camps and subsequent emigration to the United States in 1949. Since Oskar Albert had only ever admitted to being an inmate at Flossenbürg in his lifetime, Helen Albert had to reconstruct his ordeal during World War II. Thus his path led him from his native Rzeszów, Poland, where he was captured at age 14 in 1939, over five concentration camps in Eastern Europe, to liberation by the U.S. Army in 1945 on one of the so-called ‘death marches’ from the Flossenbürg camp towards Dachau.

The survivor’s daughter was able to reconstruct this path with documents she found in her father’s estate as well as the help of the memorial at Flossenbürg. Her daughter Sarah then reported from her perspective on his life in the United States as a successful businessman and proud American. Afterwards, the floor was open for questions on this multi-national and multi-generational life story.

REAF thanks Dr. Jörg Skriebeleit, the Director of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial, and Julius Scharnetzky from the memorial’s Educational Department for this wonderful opportunity, as well as our sponsors, the Freunde der Universität Regensburg e.V., and of course Helen Albert and her daughter Sarah for sharing their family history.

REAF Fellow: Prof. Dr. Ben Chappell

We welcome Prof. Chappell as REAF Fellow and Fulbright Visiting Professor for the summer term at UR!

Chappell Photo Sose2018

Ben Chappell is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars as well as numerous articles and essays on ethnography and cultural politics. His current research projects include Mexican American Fastpitch, a multi-sited ethnography of vernacular sport and The Cultural Lives of Neoliberalism, a critique of neoliberal epistemology embedded in discourse. In the ASA he has served on the Task Force for American Studies Departments (2012-15), as chair of the Graduate Education Committee, and currently, as founding convener of the Ethnography Caucus.

We look forward to having this prolific and wonderful scholar at UR!

REAF Program Summer 2018

Date Event
12 June

Book Project Presentation

"American Exceptionalism" by Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat

Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat in discussion with Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (Universität Regensburg), Prof. Dr. Ben Chappell (University of Kansas), and Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (Universität Regensburg).

Venue: 6 pm Kunsthalle (upper level of the Audimax foyer)

28 June

REAF Roundtable

Dr. Jennifer Reimer (Lise Meitner Fellow at the University of Graz)

"Academic Freedom? The Politics and Practice of Transnational American Studies in Turkey and around the Globe"

Venue: 3-4 pm PT 2.0.4

28-29 June

REAF@10 Conference

Please see our official program!

Venue: PT 3.0.79 (Großer Sitzungssaal)

4 July


Prof. Dr. David Savran (City University of New York)

"Playwriting and the American Apocalypse"

Venue: 2-4 pm ZH 6

REAF draws your attention to a conference organized by REAF Board member Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Meier-Walser (Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung) .

7-8 June


Expertenkonferenz "Außenpolitik in einer instabilen Welt: Deutschland nach den Bundestagswahlen"

Venue: Großer Sitzungssaal des Philosophikums (PT 3.0.79)

Organizers: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (REAF Board, International Politics and Transatlantic Relations) and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Meier-Walser (Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung)


10.00 Uhr Begrüßung: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling/Prof. Dr. Reinhard Meier-Walser

Panel I:

10.15 Uhr Globalisierung in Schwierigkeiten?

Prof. em. Dr. Wolfgang Wiegard, langjähriger Vorsitzender des Sachverständigenrats/Universität Regensburg, Mod. Prof. Bierling

Panel II:

14:00 Uhr Der globale Wandel und die Rolle Deutschlands in der internationalen Politik

Prof. em. Dr. Joachim Krause, Direktor des Instituts für Sicherheitspolitik/Universität Kiel, Mod. Alexander Schuster MA

Panel III:

16.00 Uhr Deutschlands Ziele in einer neuen EU-Außen-und Sicherheitspolitik

Dr. Anja Opitz, Akademie für Politische Bildung Tutzing, Mod. Susanne Prechtl MA


Panel IV:

10.00 Uhr Amerika auf Isolationskurs?

Grußwort von Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel/Präsident der Universität Regensburg

Eröffnungsgespräch mit Jennifer Gavito, Generalkonsulin der USA/München, gefolgt von einer Podiumsdiskussion mit Dr. Opitz, Prof. Krause, Dr. Groitl, Prof. Meier-Walser, Mod. Prof. Bierling

REAF Program Winter 2017/18

Date   Event
26-28 October

Conference Workshop

"Nation, Nationalism, and Transnationalism Revisited"

Venue: Seminarraum Altes Finanzamt, Landshuter Str. 4, Regensburg

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat (American Studies)

5 December

REAF UR@50 Anniversary Lecture

Dr. Jörg Skriebeleit (Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial and Museum)

"Taten und Orte - Tatorte: Flossenbürg, München, Fürstenfeldbruck"

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (President UR; REAF Founding Director)

Venue: 6 pm, Großer Sitzungssaal PT

7 December 

REAF Lecture

Dr. Allison Stagg (JFK Institute, Berlin)

"James Akin and 'A Philosophic Cock': Caricature Prints in America, 1800-1820"

Venue: 12-2 pm, ZH 6

Events - International Politics and Transatlantic Relations
21 November


Stefan Kornelius (Leiter Redaktion Außenpolitik/Süddeutsche Zeitung)

"Deutsche Außenpolitik in einer Zeit der Krisen und Konflikte"

Venue: 4-6 pm, H2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (International Poltics and Transatlantic Relations)

12 December

Lecture and Panel Discussion

"Die Krise um Nordkoreas Atom- und Raketenprogramm"

Einführungsreferat: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Harnisch  (U Heidelberg)

Podiumsdiskussion with Dr. Saskia Hieber, Dr. Gerlinde Groitl, Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (Moderation)

Venue: 4-6 pm, H2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (International Poltics and Transatlantic Relations)

In cooperation with the Akademie für Politische Bildung in Tutzing

16 January


General Dr. Erich Vad (ehemaliger Militärberater von Bundeskanzlerin Dr. Angela Merkel)

"Deutsche Sicherheitspolitik zwischen Afghanistan und Baltikum"

Venue: 4-6 pm, H2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (International Poltics and Transatlantic Relations)

30 January

Lecture and Discussion

General Martin Schelleis (Inspekteuer der Streitkräftebasis)

"Die Bundeswehr im Auslandseinsatz"

Venue: 4-6 pm, H2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling (International Poltics and Transatlantic Relations)

REAF Program Summer 2017

Date Event
11 May

REAF UR@50 Anniversary Lecture

Prof. Dr. John Carlos Rowe (University of Southern California)

"O Carib Isle!" or "Scattered Moluccas"? Édouard Glissant's Pacific Relation

Followed by a Response by Prof. Dr. Alfred Hornung (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)

Venue: 12 pm (s.t.), Großer Sitzungssaal PT

Chair: Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (REAF Founding Director)

17 May

Launch: REAF Career

Dr. Susanne Ehrenreich-Blažeković (Linde AG)

Dr. Ehrenreich-Blažeković will talk about her career after she left the University of Regensburg and will answer questions.

Venue: 4.30-6 pm, ZH 6

30 June -1 July


Forschungstage American Studies Regensburg - Augsburg 2017

Research symposium of the departments for American Studies at the University of Regensburg and the University of Augsburg

Venue: Altes Finanzamt - Room 017, Landshuter Str. 4, Regensburg

in cooperation with the Regensburg European American Forum (REAF)

Organization: Dr. Johanna Hartmann (U Augsburg) and Florian Weinzierl (U Regensburg)

20 July

REAF Lecture

Prof. Dr. David Savran (CUNY)

"The Globalization of the Broadway Musical"

Venue: 12-2 pm, ZH 6

27 July

REAF Lecture

Prof. Dr. Jeannette Eileen Jones (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

"A Proud Yankee in the Sultan's Court: White American Manhood, Race, and U.S. Power in the Indian Ocean"

Venue: 12-2 pm, ZH 6

Sponsored by: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst.

REAF Program Winter 2016/17


Date Guest Lecture
8 November 2016

U.S. Consul General Jennifer Gavito

Academic Election Party including a discussion between the Consul General, Prof. Dr. Bierling, Prof. Dr. Depkat and Dr. Gerlinde Groitl; Live TV broadcast

Venue: 7.30 pm - 2.30 am, Audimax

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling 

29 November 2016

Dr. Sebastian Herrmann (Leipzig University)

"Post-Fact Elections? Reality, Postmodernism, and the US Presidency"

Venue: 12 - 2 pm, ZH 5

29 November 2016

Dr. Margarete Klein (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin)

"Russland - Abkehr vom Westen, Wende nach Osten?"

Venue: 4 - 6 pm, H 2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

With the friendly support of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

6 December 2016

Prof. Dr. George Lipsitz & Prof. Dr. Barbara Tomlinson (University of California, Santa Barbara)

"American Studies as Accompaniment: Why We Can't Wait"

Venue: 2 - 4 pm, ZH 4

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Timo Müller

With the friendly support of the Bavarian American Academy (BAA)

6 December 2016

Dietmar Ossenberg (Ex-ZDF-Korrespondent Kairo)

"Krisenherd Mittlerer Osten"

Venue: 4 - 6 pm, H 24

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

7 December 2016

Prof. Dr. George Lipsitz (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Roundtable: "American Studies Today: Projects, Politics, Perspectives"

Venue: 10 am - 12 pm, PT 3.2.73

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Timo Müller

13 December 2016

Dr. Theo Waigel (Bundesfinanzminister a.D.)

"Die USA - Ein Eckpfeiler deutscher Außenpolitik. Eine persönliche Bilanz"

Venue: 4 - 6 pm, H 24

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

With the friendly support of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

10 January 2017

Dr. Saskia Hieber (Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing)

"Die USA und der Aufstieg Chinas"

Venue: 4 - 6 pm, H 2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

With the friendly support of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

17 January 2017

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Meier-Walser (Akademie Politik und Zeitgeschehen, Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung)

"Die USA im Spannungsfeld zwischen Riad und Teheran"

Venue: 4 - 6 pm, H 2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

20 January


Inauguration of the new U.S. President

Discussion with Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat, Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling, Dr. Gerlinde Groitl and PD Dr. Ingrid Gessner; Live TV broadcast

Venue: 5 - 8 pm, H 24

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

2 February 2017

Prof. Dr. Ilka Saal (University of Erfurt/University of Toronto)

"Collusions of Fact and Fiction: A Historiopoetic Approach to American Slavery in the Works of Suzan Lori Parks and Kara Walker"

Venue: 10 am - 12 pm, PT 2.0.3A

7 February 2017

Prof. Dr. Birgit Hans (University of North Dakota)

Roundtable: "Native American Studies--Projects, Politics, Perspectives"

Venue: 6 - 8 pm, PT 3.2.73

REAF Program Summer 2016

Guest Lecture
29 April 2016

Prof. Dr. Anne Koenen (Universität Leipzig)

"Wings and Roots: Migrating Academics"

Venue: 5:30 pm, Haus der Begegnung

30 April 2016

Prof. Dr. Alfred Hornung (Johannes Gutenberg-

Universität Mainz)

"Transnational Journeys of Life: En Route to Refuge"

Venue: 3:30 pm, Altes Finanzamt

30 April 2016

Prof. Dr. Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University), REAF Fellow

"Symposium: Panel: American Studies Transnational: Perspectives, Politics, Responsibilities"

Venue: 5-7 pm, Altes Finanzamt

With the friendly support of: Hans Vielberth University Foundation.

3 May 2016

Prof. Dr. Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University), REAF Fellow

"Research Roundtable: Projects in Transnational American Studies"

Venue: 4-6 pm, PT 3.2.73

With the friendly support of: Hans Vielberth University Foundation.

4 May 2016

Prof. Dr. Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University), REAF Fellow

"Bartleby, the Slacktivist; Citizen-Saboteurs; and Other 'Occupations'"

Venue: 2-3 pm & 3-4 pm (Lecture and Q&A Session), ZH 5

With the friendly support of: Hans Vielberth University Foundation.

16 June 2016        

Prof. Dr. John David Smith (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

"You turned us loose to the sky....to the wrath of our infuriated masters: Emancipation and Reconstruction Reconsidered"

Venue: 12-2 pm, ZH 6

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat

With the friendly support of the Bavarian American Academy (BAA)

23 June 2016

Prof. Dr. Hubert Zapf (Universität Augsburg)

"Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts"

Venue: 10 am-12 pm, H 22

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Timo Müller

29 June 2016

Dr. Leopold Lippert (Universität Salzburg)

"The Neoliberal Charms of America Abroad, or: Playing Indian in Austria"

Venue: 2-4 pm, ZH 6

In cooperation with the DFG Research Network "Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies"

5 July 2016

Prof. Dr. Gary Jacobson (University of California, San Diego)

"And the next president is... Reflections on the US election campaign 2015/16"

Venue: 4-6 pm, H 2

Inviting Host: Prof. Dr. Stephan Bierling

  1. Forschergruppen und Forschungszentren

Regensburg European American Forum