T C 357 • Anti-Americanism and the Americanization of Europe
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
Anti-Americanism has never been more pronounced and widespread than today. At the same time, Americanization remains an undeniable fact of modernization and globalization. But what does Americanization actually mean? What are the causes and effects of Anti-Americanism? What makes "America" both a wish dream and a nightmare in the view of the world? What at the implications of the world's love-hate relationship with America for U.S. foreign policy and economic relations? We will address these questions by examining the Transatlantic relationship (US and Europe), both in its history and current dynamics, and by focusing on the role of culture in the making of anti-Americanism. Culture has always played a key role in the relationship between America and Europe, with anti-American stereotypes, prejudices, and attitudes expressing larger concerns about history, modernity, culture, and identity. We will analyze these dynamics through a selection of critical writings by historians, political scientists, and cultural critics and consider the important contribution of literature, film, and the visual arts in organising the underlying patterns of cross-cultural dialogue and exchange.
More specifically, we will examine European anti-Americanism within the larger context of nineteenth and twentieth century history: the analysis of American democracy by Tocqueville and the myths of the Wild West in European art and literature; the waves of Americanization after World War I and World War II, the fascination with all things American in mass culture and consumer culture, the identification of Americanization with modernity and modernization, the enlistment of Anti-Americanism in various ideologies of resentment (nationalism, fascism, antisemitism, communism); the association of America with youth culture and counterculture; the predominance of anti-American positions on the political right and left; and the relationship between Anti-Americanism and anti-globalization forces after 9/11/2001. Special attention will be paid to the way film has been used to perpetuate stereotypical images of America and Americans.
Class format/ method of instruction:
The class will be conducted in a seminar fashion, with the instructor giving brief introductory lectures about key concepts and developments. Throughout, students are expected to prepare questions for the required readings and to participate actively in discussions. Film screenings will be organized separately. As a junior seminar, this course places special emphasis on training students in analyzing cultural texts. We will practice how to read cultural texts in their historical contexts, how to identify rhetorical moves and ideological functions, how to interpret visual or literary tropes, and how to assess the function of culture both as part of larger social and political developments and in the context of changing national imaginaries and imaginary geographies.
20% attendance, preparation, and active participation
10% one formal in-class presentation on topic of choice
30% two reaction papers (5 pp. each) on in-class readings
40% final exam (essay questions only) on material covered in class
Berman, Russell. Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem.
Diner, Dan. America in the Eyes of the Germans: An Essay on Anti-Americanism.
Grazia, Victoria de. Irresistible Empire: America's Advance through 20th-Century Europe.
Kroes, Rob. If You've Seen One, You've Seen the Mall: Europeans and American Mass Culture.
Levy, Bernard-Henri. American Vertigo: Travelling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville.
Markovits, Andrei. Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America.
Revel, Jean-Francois. Anti-Americanism.
Sealfield, Charles. The Cabin Book, or National Characteristics.
Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America.
About the Professor
Dr Hake is the Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture in the Department of German Studies. She came to UT-Austin in 2004 after having taught for fifteen years at the University of Pittsburgh. Her main areas of research are early twentieth century German culture and German film history. She has published numerous articles and five monographs, including most recently German National Cinema (2008) and Topographies of Class: Modern Architecture and Mass Society in Weimar Berlin (2008). In her spare time, she likes to go to the movies, cook elaborate meals, and explore the beauty of West Texas.