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Current Announcements
  • Guest Lecture by Bocafloja!

Dear students, don't miss the dope guest lecture by Bronx-based emcee Bocafloja on Thursday, 3 November 2016, 4 pm at EF50, H3. Bocafloja is one of the upcoming artists in American conscious rap. He will speak about rap, spoken word, and theater as a critical pedagogy of healing and emancipation. See you here!

Contact Information

Participation at a Panel Discussion on the Bronx, City Museum of New York, 2016.
Popular Music and Public Diplomacy, International Conference, 2015.
Hip-Hop in Europe, International Essay Collection, 2013.
Ruhr PhD Forum, 2013.
(Re-)Imagining Post-Industrial Urbanity, Film Festival at Weslean University, 2012.
Conference on Hip-Hop in the Ruhr Area, 2010.
Exhibit by Astrid Kämmerling on the Ruhr Area, 2009.
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Office Hours

Semester Break
  • Mi, 15.02., 10 - 12 Uhr
  • Mi, 15.03., 10 - 12 Uhr
  • Mi, 12.04., 10 - 12 Uhr

Courses in the SS 17


Academic Profile

  • My general research interests include American Studies, Cultural Studies, and Media Studies with a particular emphasis on popular cultures, postmodernism, spatial theory, as well as international educational and cultural exchange.
  • One of my main research interests is concerned with spaces, places, and urban transformation processes. My PhD project explored how media construct the New York City borough of The Bronx in the 1970s and early 1980s. I have also taught seminars dealing with spaces and places, such as Representing Urban Space: The Bronx and the Media, Creative Spaces 2010: A Metropolis in the Making? in the framework of the European Capital of Culture or a seminar on Shrinking Spaces: Deindustrialization in German and American Popular Culture. I am co-founder and co-organizer of the SpaceCollective, an interdisciplinary network of young scholars that deals with the various theoretical and practical manifestations of spaces and places across different cultures.
  • A second major research interest of mine is popular music, especially hip-hop. In 2010 I organized an international and interdisciplinary conference on Hip-Hop in the Ruhr Area. Walter Grünzweig and I are expanded this project into an edited volume on Hip-Hop in Europe which examines this cultural form from a transatlantic and transnational perspective. The anthology features contributions on Bosnian, British, Cypriot, Czech, Danish, East German, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Swedish hip-hop cultures from a wide variety of academic fields and artistic backgrounds.
  • Thirdly, I enjoy postmodern culture. This ranges from contemporary fiction (Safran Foer, Wolfe, Smith, etc.) over new forms of media such as the Internet or the music video all the way to film, TV, and art. I like Hollywood and independent American cinema as well as TV. My favorite TV shows are Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

For a detailed academic record please visit my personal profile at the Institute's homepage.

Responsibilities at the IAA

  • Administration, Supervision, and Examination
    • signing Studienbücher for seminars taught by guest scholars and adjunct instructors (Lehrbeauftragte) (e.g. Saskia Tielens, Julia Leyda, etc.)
    • Berufsfeldpraktikum advisor for LABG 2009 students, letters Ma-Md (correction time: 2 weeks)
    • Modulprüfung 5 and 9 (BML 2005)
    • supervision of BA theses on American spaces, places, cities, New York City, hip-hop, postmodern culture, industrialization/de-industrialization/shrinkage, etc. Convince me of your project!

Courses in Past Semesters

  • A list of courses in past semesters can be found here.

Tips and Tricks of Academic Writing

  • Before students start planning their final thesis, they should clarify the larger timeline of their project and possible deadlines with their advisors and the Prüfungsamt,etc. Here is a great six-phase guide on how to plan the final thesis.
  • The introduction starts more general and ends with specific information about your project: What are you doing? How will you do it? Why is it necessary to do it? What is the benefit of your study? Most importantly, you state and explain your argument in the introduction.
  • If you are writing about an audio-/visual text (film, TV show, graphic novel), make sure to include screeshots or scans in order to make your point.
  • The key component of your paper is the thesis statement as it explains the argument of your text: No thesis - no paper. It is also the most difficult part (if you ask me). If you do not know how to develop a thesis, the Dartmouth Writing Program has an excellent guide of how to develop the core of your study.
  • Be VERY, VERY careful in handling other scholars' ideas! Do not forget to put references of the sources used in the actual text and in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper. If you do not know how to do this, consult your instructor before finishing the paper. More on Plagiarism.
  • Writing essays is a hard piece of work. And it is a very slow process. The average writing pace is about 1.5 to 2 (usable) pages per day. So start calculating for the deadline of your next paper.
  • Exchange the texts with your fellow students. Nothing sharpens your writing skills than taking on the position of a peer proofreader.
  • Writing also includes revising your paper several times. It takes about 4 rounds of corrections until your paper is perfect for submission. Keep in mind that each round of revision takes time. Finish your paper ahead of the actual submission date and have students, friends ready to comment on your style, spelling, and argumentation.
  • Writers block. A very common problem when writing. Try to either do other work related to your project (e.g. compiling the bibliography, inserting figures or screenshots), or do something completely different. Returning to the desk after a nice experience helps to continue writing.
  • Use the spell check. Set the language to English. Very banal, but it helps to prevent unnecessary spelling errors.
  • Do not assume any knowledge of the audience about your research topic. Try to write as understandable and comprehensive as possible. Imagine yourself writing this paper for your grandmother who has no clue about modernity, metonymy, or misogyny.
  • If you have trouble organizing your thoughts, tell your friends about what you want to do. Speaking about a complex subject matter helps to organize your thought process. Alternatively, you can map your project on a blank page.
  • When writing a longer paper, try to develop an idea or a reading of a text, not just listing your "lab results".
  • One Paragraph equals one idea. Outline your idea in the opening statement, discuss your idea throughout the paragraph and conclude this idea in the last sentence of your paragraph.
  • "The first key to writing is to write - not to think!" Finding Forrester (dir. Gus Van Sant, 2000)
  • If you do not know how to structure an essay, the 10-80-10 rule might help. Dedicate 20 per cent of your text to the introduction and conclusion. The remaining 80 per cent constitute the main part of your essay (this usually includes a background chapter and your main analysis/es).

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