June 27-28 – Workshop: Migration and Consumption 🗓

June 27-28 – Workshop: Migration and Consumption 🗓

Migration and Consumption

Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies
CRC 1482 Studies in Human Differentiation

June 27-28, 2024
CRC Conference Room
Hegelstr. 59

Download the complete program here.

This workshop will bring together leading scholars in the fields of migration, political economy, and consumerism in United States history. Immigration debates and policies are an early domain in which both state administrative capacities and consumerist categories of human differentiation were generated, formalized, and institutionalized. Lizabeth Cohen (Harvard University) is an expert on postwar consumerism, and Rosanne Currarino (Queen’s University) has investigated labor questions and economic democracy during the Gilded Age. Katherine Benton-Cohen (Georgetown University) studied the Dillingham Commission’s role and legacy in categorizing and “inventing the immigrant problem,” while Joel Perlmann (Bard College) traced processes of classifying immigrants from Ellis Island to the 2020 Census. Jan Logemann (Georg-August-Universität) focused on the role of European émigrés in making consumer capitalism, while Atiba Perilla’s (German Historical Institute) new project asks how immigrants used money in the time period from 1870 to 1930. We invite workshop participants to engage these scholars in a critical discussion on their key texts.

To participate in the workshop, please sign up with Anja-Maria Bassimir via e-mail: bassimir@uni-mainz.de

Prof. Dr. Axel Schäfer (a.schaefer@uni-mainz.de)
Dr. Anja-Maria Bassimir (bassimir@uni-mainz.de)
Collaborative Research Center (CRC) Studies in Human Differentiation, project B-06: “Migration and Welfare States in the USA: Global and National Dynamics in Bureaucratic Human Differentiation”

The organizers would like to thank the following organizations for their support:


Feb 1 – Exhibition “Current Social Problems in Children’s Literature and Film” 🗓

Feb 1 – Exhibition “Current Social Problems in Children’s Literature and Film” 🗓

Feb 1, 2024 – 14:00-16:00
Philosophicum II – room 02.102


“Current Social Problems in Children’s Literature and Film”

Can children’s literature address serious or controversial topics? Are such topics simply inappropriate for children? Or is it rather a matter of the narrative strategy that is being used?
Based on the Advanced Research Seminar 532 “Current Social Problems Expressed in Children’s Literature and Film,” this exhibition shows how creative, diplomatic, and inspiring children’s books can be in addressing topics that are difficult to grasp or cope with, even for adults.

Everyone welcome!

Opening | Introduction

Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee (Course Leader)

followed by
Poster Presentations | Food & Drinks

Topics, among others:

  • Loneliness as a Universal Childhood Issue in the Anime series Naruto and Naruto
  • Life and Death in “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” by Leo Buscaglia
  • Spookley, the Square Pumpkin
  • “Superstars in History”: The Civil Rights Movement

The posters and presentations in this exhibition are the results of students’ projects from the American Studies Advanced Research Seminar 532 “Current Social Problems Expressed in Children’s Literature,” which was taught by Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee (mita.banerjee@uni-mainz.de) in the winter term of 2023/24.

You can download the poster for the exhibition here.

Image source: https://www.parentmap.com/calendar/spookley-square-pumpkin-musical

Feb 9-11 – Conference: Transcending Boundaries – Interdisciplinary Insights in Transpacific Studies 🗓

Feb 9-11 – Conference: Transcending Boundaries – Interdisciplinary Insights in Transpacific Studies 🗓

Transcending Boundaries Interdisciplinary Insights in Transpacific Studies

Transpacific Studies Network Hybrid Conference
February 9-11, 2024

Zoom link in program.

Download the program here.

February 9 & 10 (Fri & Sat)
Aulagebäude/Alte Mensa (1. OG, Linker Saal) Gebäude 1312
Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 3-5
55128 Mainz

February 11 (Sun)
Philosophicum II (EG 00.212)
Jakob-Welder-Weg 20
55128 Mainz


We explore connections across national and regional borders in and along the Pacific. The event will serve as a space to discuss early stage-research and on-going projects in this field.

Topics include:

  • Film and television that culturally crosses the pacific ocean
  • Literary works (novels, memoirs, poems, etc.) from and about (Trans)pacific regions
  • Representations and/or performances of gender in (Trans)pacific regions
  • (Trans)pacific mobilities and migration, including policy
  • The Pacific and the blue humanities
  • Climate change and the environment in (Trans)pacific regions
  • (Trans-)Pacific issues of collective memory
  • Understandings of geography/space/territory in relation to (Trans)pacific regions
  • Negotiating cultural hybridity
  • Revitalizations of (Trans)pacific traditional ecological epistemologies
  • Reflections on practices and imaginations of borders/bordering in the Pacific

The conference is organized by Sandra Meerwein and the Transpacific Studies Network (TPSN). The TPSN was established in the fall of 2022 with the goal of exploring Pacific cultures, ecologies, histories, literatures, politics, and societies in an interdisciplinary, multi-lingual, and, importantly, transregional manner.

The organizers would like to thank the following organizations for their support:


Jan 31 – Student Conference “Human Enhancement” 🗓

Jan 31 – Student Conference “Human Enhancement” 🗓

Jan 31, 2024 – 16.00-18.00 (s.t.) – Student Conference

“Human Enhancement: Ethics, Life Sciences, and the Human Body in Cultural Representations”

P6 (Philosophicum)

Human enhancement has become the topic of an increasingly controversial cultural, scholarly, and political discussion. Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal define human enhancement rather broadly as “any kind of genetic, biomedical or pharmaceutical intervention aimed at improving human dispositions, capacities, and well-being even when there is no pathology to be treated” (1). Using this definition as a point of departure, our student conference seeks to approach grey areas inherent in debates surrounding human enhancement through the lens of narrative ethics, using cultural representations as the focus of our discussion.

Our student panel includes the following talks:

  • “Marry Shelly’s Frankenstein: A Cautionary Tale or an Overused Trope?”
    (Norhan Mohamed)
  • “Ethical Discourse and Social Impact on Human Enhancement: A Conservative Perspective”
    (Haerin Park)
  • “Human Enhancement in Superhero Movies: Why Is Captain America’s Origin Story Morally Acceptable and What Is Special about It?”
    (Jill Reuter)
  • “The Implications of ‘Human Enhancement’ in the Discussion Surrounding Trans-Athletes”
    (Ayishat Aluko)

Everyone is welcome!

This conference is part of Dr. Julia Velten’s course “Cultural Studies VI: Human Enhancement: Ethics, Life Sciences, and the Human Body in Film.” If you have further questions about the event, please contact Dr. Julia Velten: juvelten@uni-mainz.de

Giubilini, Alberto and Sagar Sanyal. “Challenging Human Enhancement.” The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, edited by Steve Clarke, et al., OUP, 2016, pp. 1-24.


Jan 26 – Phd/Postdoc Book Launch 🗓

Jan 26 – Phd/Postdoc Book Launch 🗓

Jan 26, 2024 – 17.00-19.00 – PhD/Postdoc Book Launch – Fakultätssaal (Philosophicum, 01-185)

Join us in celebrating…
the most recent publications, dissertations, and more by young scholars from the Obama Institute:

  • Bassimir, Anja-Maria. Evangelical News. Politics, Gender, and Bioethics in Conservative Christian Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s (Religion and American Culture). Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2022.
  • Scott, Daniel. Atheism and Theism in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction. Heavens of Invention. Peter Lang Verlag, 2023 (Mainzer Studien zur Amerikanistik 77).
  • Velten, Julia. Extraordinary Forms of Aging. Life Narratives of Centenarians and Children with Progeria. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2022.
  • Seibert, Johanna. Early African Caribbean Newspapers as Archipelagic Media in the Emancipation Age. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2023.
  • Evans, Vanessa and Mita Banerjee (eds). Cultures of Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century: Literary and Cultural Perspectives on a Legal Concept. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2023.
  • Scheiding, Oliver and Sabina Fazli (eds.). Handbuch Zeitschriftenforschung. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2023.
  • Corrigan, John, Melani McAlister and Axel R. Schäfer (eds.). Global Faith, Worldly Power. Evangelical Internationalism and U.S. Empire. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2022.

Come and discuss…
plans for publications and careers after graduation.

Meet and mingle…
with current and former PhD students, postdocs, and professors as well as students, faculty, and friends.

Everyone is welcome!

Prof. em. Dr. Winfried Herget