“One University – One Book” Shared Reading of THE WHALE RIDER 🗓

“One University – One Book” Shared Reading of THE WHALE RIDER 🗓

This summer term, all members of JGU – students, teachers, administrative staff – are invited to come together to immerse themselves into Witi Ihimaera’s novel The Whale Rider. The book tells the story of Kahu, the daughter of a respectable Māori family, who struggles to take her place in the iwi (tribe) and win the love and respect of her grandfather, the chief of the iwi. It is a story of rejection and reconciliation, of tradition and renewal – and last but not least, it is a story of the deep connection between humans and nature. The plot seems familiar and yet wants to be read in its very own Māori traditions.

To foster cross-cultural exchange about the novel at our university and beyond, we have planned a number of events: a hybrid lecture series (Wednesdays from 08:00 pm to 9:30 pm (CET), starting April 26th; PDF), Q&As with experts from Mainz and New Zealand, a screening and discussion of Niki Caro’s 2002 film adaptation of the novel, several social (digital) exchange formats including a “New Zealand-week” at the university canteen. The project, which received an award from the Stifterverband and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as part of the “One University – One Book” program, welcomes you all to embark on a multidisciplinary exploration of New Zealand life and literature in times of critical debates about postcolonialism, decolonization and climate change.

Read with us – Get creative – Share your ideas > Check out the program

Apr 25 – Student/Alumni Meet & Greet 🗓

Apr 25 – Student/Alumni Meet & Greet 🗓

Student/Alumni Meet & Greet

Tuesday, April 25

6-8 pm in P 13 (Philosophicum)

The OI will be hosting an informal first meet & greet for students and alumni of American Studies and cordially invites all students of the BA and MA programs to connect with each other and our alumni. This is your chance to talk about possible careers after finishing an American Studies program and ask any question you might have on how to make the most of your degree and ambitions.

Two alumnae, who are holding qualified positions, will speak about their jobs and their working experiences to students interested in finding out more about opportunities and perspectives for American Studies graduates.

You an download the poster for the event here.

Watch out for news about future alumni events and stay in touch!


Dr. Sonja Georgi
Dr. Claudia Görg
Dr. Julia Velten

Apr 25 – American Retail Capitalism (Guest Lecture) 🗓

Apr 25 – American Retail Capitalism (Guest Lecture) 🗓

Professor Kathleen Thelen

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA)


“Attention Shoppers:
American Retail Capitalism and the Rise of the Amazon Economy”


April 25, 2023, 4:15pm, Fakultätssaal (01-185, Philosophicum)

American Retail Capitalism traces the origins of the Amazon economy to the late 19C as large-scale retailers capitalized on the uniquely permissive regulatory landscape of the American political economy to outgrow the capacity of the government to regulate them. Thelen’s explanation focuses on features of the legal context, in particular a uniquely congenial competition regime, and on the impact of a fragmented regulatory landscape that invited regulatory arbitrage and outright rule-breaking. As they grew, America’s large retailers were able to assemble an ever- growing political support coalition that could be weaponized to head off the regulatory efforts they faced.

You can download the poster for this talk here.

Kathleen Thelen is Ford Professor of Political Science at MIT. Her work focuses on the origins and evolution of political-economic institutions in the rich democracies. She is the author, among others, of Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity (2014) and How Institutions Evolve (2004), and co-editor of The American Political Economy: Politics, Markets, and Power (with Jacob Hacker, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, and Paul Pierson, 2022). Thelen has served as President of the American Political Science Association (APSA), Chair of the Council for European Studies, and as President of the Society for the Advancement of Socio- Economics. Thelen is General Editor of the Cambridge University Press Series in Comparative Politics, and a permanent external member of the Max Planck Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung in Cologne, Germany.

Mar 21 – “Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things” Presentation and Chapter Discussion 🗓

Mar 21 – “Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things” Presentation and Chapter Discussion 🗓

Prof. Hillary Kaell

(Anthropology/ Religious Studies, McGill University)


“Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things”


March 21, 2023, 3.00-4.30pm, 02.102 (Philo II, Jakob-Welder-Weg 20)

Please join us for a short presentation and discussion with Prof. Hillary Kaell (Anthropology/Religious Studies, McGill University) of the chapter “Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things” from her book Christian Globalism at Home: Child Sponsorship in the United States (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things

For two hundred years, Christians have run charitable projects to “sponsor” children abroad. Through these plans, individuals in the Global North—notably in the United States–send money to support an individual child in need. The popularity of these plans rested, in part, on how they offered donors what amounted to consumer choice: one could choose what type of child to support. However, by the 1970s Christian donors began to worry about their own “materialism” and its effects on child sponsorship. Based on my recent book Christian Globalism at Home (Princeton University Press, 2020), this presentation will explore the tight link between sponsorship and early forms of capitalism, along with the “anti-materialist” tactics that sponsors use to soften the ambivalence inherent in this form of global charitable giving.

If you’re interested in reading the chapter, please send an e-mail to Dr. Anja-Maria Bassimir.

Feb 14 & 15 – Film Screening and Workshop with Filmmaker Yehuda Sharim (UC Merced) 🗓

Feb 14 & 15 – Film Screening and Workshop with Filmmaker Yehuda Sharim (UC Merced) 🗓

February 14, 2023: Screening of Yehuda Sharim’s film Letters2Maybe (2021)

February 15, 2023: Workshop with Yehuda Sharim (“A Map of Light: Creativity & Inspiration during Dark Times”)

On behalf of The Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee cordially invites everyone to two events with filmmaker Professor Yehuda Sharim (UC Merced, California):

Tuesday, Feb 14 (4 pm, room 00.212, Philo II)
Screening of Sharim’s documentary film Letters2Maybe (2021)
with an introduction by the director and a Q&A session afterwards.

Yehuda Sharim is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and poet. As the son of Persian immigrants to Israel, his work focuses on the relationship between the quotidian and poetic. Sharim’s films have appeared in film festivals, artistic venues, and universities across the world. Oscillating between fiction and documentary filmmaking, his work offers an intimate portrayal of those who refuse to surrender amidst daily devastation and culminating strife, offering a vision for equality and a renewed solidarity in a divisive world. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Program of Global Art Studies, University of California, Merced.

Letters2Maybe is an intimate portrayal of those who refuse to surrender amidst daily devastation and culminating strife, offering a vision for equality and a renewed sense of solidarity in a divisive country. Letters2Maybe offers a fluid and eclectic tapestry of physical and emotional movement of different immigrant communities as they encounter impossible challenges in a country of compounded catastrophes. By embracing a kaleidoscopic style of storytelling to highlight the poetics and precarity that follow the craving for freedom, Letters2Maybe is an unfinished letter, articulating the ever-growing yet unflinching demand for justice and tenderness in our world today. (2021; 92 min.)

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/539713966
Website: http://www.letters2maybe.com/  
New Jersey Film Festival: Letters2Maybe Review
International Documentary Film Festival Vienna: Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award


Wednesday, Feb 15 (10-12am, room 02.102, Philo II)
An informal workshop, led by Yehuda Sharim
“A Map of Light: Creativity & Inspiration during Dark Times”

A Map of Light: Creativity & Inspiration during Dark Times (workshop) – The camera is obsessed with light. Darkness is never considered aesthetically pleasing. We are told that we need to see: we need to see as a way to learn, and make sense. And light is the most critical ingredient in shaping that illusion of “seeing” as “being.” We are like our cameras, chasing lights, forgetting that darkness and the uncertainty that accompanies darkness are inseparable from any source of light. In this talk, we will interrogate what it means to follow a creative vision (start a film, book, and more), exploring this desire to create, shape, and enter a space of experimentation. We will examine different aspects of community-cinema and take into consideration the various personal/collective challenges and doubts that keep us away from the work that we know we are meant to do. This talk is about that thirst to film and create new visions during calamitous times.

@sharimstudio (Instagram)

Everyone is welcome to join us for one or both events. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Contact: Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee (mita.banerjee@uni-mainz.de) or Christine Plicht (c.plicht@uni-mainz.de)

You can download the posters for the events here: Screening Feb 14 & Workshop Feb 15.