four-hour essay on a linguistic topic
- for Lehramt modularisiert to be based on modules VI or VIII
- extent of topic to be prepared: roughly one seminar (e.g. politeness; Old English; semantic change…)
- literature for preparation: ca. five references (books, chapters, articles), around 300-400 pages – the literature list needs to be agreed on with me and the final version to be handed in six weeks before the exam date by the latest; for Lehramt by February 1 and July 1 respectively
- type of essay: a well-structured research-paper type of essay with a proper thesis statement and line of argumentation; you will usually be expected to apply your knowledge to an example provided or integrate an analysis into your essay
- length of essay: ca. 10-14 pages (depending on your handwriting!)
Example (based on a seminar entitled Cognitive Linguistics):
The following excerpt from the beginning of a newspaper article is full of instances of ‘non-literal’ language. Choose examples from the text to illustrate how (1) Conceptual Metaphor Theory and (2) Blending Theory explain such usages and their effects. Compare and evaluate the two theories in the light of your application to the examples.
Sapir and Whorf: until recently these names were dirty words among linguists. They were remembered mostly as the architects of an infamous theory, the “linguistic relativity hypothesis”, arguing that there was a connection between language and “worldview”, as they called it, and claiming that language was to some extent organised and structured by these worldviews. Language thus was not autonomous – heresy, of course, for the new linguists of the 1960s and 1970s. The Chomskyan steamroller crushed Sapir and Whorf and made sure they were struck off the linguistics canon. (…)
(Jan Blommaert, “Why we are as good or bad as our language”, Guardian Weekly, Learning English Supplement, 21.10.2005, p. 7)
American Studies at Duisburg-Essen is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of North America, its manifold and often conflicting cultural geographies, literary and cultural production, and multi-ethnic urban and rural societies. Major fields of inquiry include early modern, colonial, romantic, and contemporary literature and history, ethnicity, border cultures, interculturalism, hemispheric and transatlantic relations, urban spaces and places, religion, film, and television. We are particularly interested in the interconnections between U.S. American and Canadian, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures and literatures as well as in the imaginary and actual crossings of multiple borders in North America from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century.
Our program organized the 2010 inaugural conference of the International Association of Inter-American Studies, it is a member of the Ruhr Center of American Studies, the MERCUR research project "Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the U.S.A." (2012-2015) and it participates in the university’s Main Research Areas "Urban Systems" and "Change in Contemporary Societies." In collaboration with our international partners we engage in interdisciplinary research and teaching on topics ranging from migration narratives, aesthetic approaches to the American city, the history of American music, the German presence in the United States, and cosmopolitan networks for the production, distribution, and reception of North American literature, film, art, and performance to cultural hybridity, politics of diversity, Native American cultures, U.S. Latinas/os, an inter-American culture industry, and a trans-border consumer culture.
All classes in UDE's American Studies Program are taught in English. Using a variety of teaching methods (including electronic media and interactive platforms), about twenty instructors offer basic courses in literary analysis, American literary history, and American civilization geared toward students in their first three semesters as well as seminars and lectures on more specialized topics, allowing students to choose their own areas of specialization beginning with their fourth semester in any of our department's B.A. programs. Our master's program in American Studies includes courses on academic writing, literary and cultural theory, methodologies of American Studies, individual authors, interculturalism, media, and a variety of research topics.