552.310 (20W) Focus on Culture: U.S. Cultures of Speculation

Wintersemester 2020/21

Anmeldefrist abgelaufen.

Erster Termin der LV
06.10.2020 16:00 - 18:00 N.0.43 On Campus
Nächster Termin:
26.01.2021 16:00 - 18:00 N.0.43 On Campus


Bedingt durch die COVID-19-Pandemie können kurzfristige Änderungen bei Lehrveranstaltungen und Prüfungen (z.B. Absage von Präsenz-Lehreveranstaltungen und Umstellung auf Online-Prüfungen) erforderlich sein.

Weitere Informationen zum Lehrbetrieb vor Ort finden Sie unter: https://www.aau.at/corona.
LV-Titel englisch
Focus on Culture: U.S. Cultures of Speculation
Seminar (prüfungsimmanente LV )
12 (25 max.)
zum Moodle-Kurs

Zeit und Ort

Beachten Sie bitte, dass sich aufgrund von COVID-19-Maßnahmen die derzeit angezeigten Termine noch ändern können.
Liste der Termine wird geladen...


Intendierte Lernergebnisse

Students will be introduced to and learn to work critically with concepts like speculation, risk, “versional” narration, and (post-)postmodernism, and will gain an understanding of the complexities involved in thinking about contemporary U.S. cultures in terms of speculative practices. They will further develop their skills in systematically analyzing literature and film, and advance their competence in interpreting texts within their specific socio-cultural contexts.

Lehrmethodik inkl. Einsatz von eLearning-Tools

Teaching methods include short input lectures, oral presentations by students on selected topics, in-class exploration of novels and films through close textual analysis, and group discussion.


Speculation, conceptualized as practices of conjecture, pertains to an “annexation and incorporation of the future into the present,” and fundamentally shapes human societies, politics, and culture (Speculate This!). This seminar will begin by exploring speculation through a set of basic questions: What are definitions of speculation, what its cognitive and economic components, and what its relation to concepts like risk, uncertainty, contingency, or causality? How are modern forms of speculation different from earlier ones? What marks our contemporary moment in terms of (everyday, collective, national, or global) speculative practices, especially in a U.S. context and at a time that is marked by digitalization, global (health) crises, climate change, and the Anthropocene?
Moving on, our focus will be more narrowly on a specific type of narrative, namely recent books and films that tell their stories in multiple versions and that often play with ideas like causality or chance. While fiction has always been “speculative,” contemporary novels like Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013) or Paul Auster’s 4321 (2017), and films like Minority Report (2002) or Life of Pi (2012) foreground their play with multiple versions and represent a proliferation of this type of narrative over the past decades. Paying attention to this broader development, our exploration of how these texts participate in contemporary U.S. cultures of speculation, will, for example, turn to (post-)postmodernist theories, the potential role of certain facets of Trumpism (post-truth, alternative facts, conspiracy theories), or the types of knowledge created by digital cultures. Addressing such issues through an examination of specific narrative techniques will help us gain a deeper understanding of how our texts situate themselves within and aesthetically shape contemporary U.S. cultures of speculation.


Required texts

Auster, Paul. 4321. Any edition.
Fowler, Karen Joy. We Are All Completely beside Ourselves. Any edition.


Geänderte Prüfungsinformationen (COVID-19 Ausnahmeregelung)

Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops, face to face sessions may turn into (synchronic) online sessions (Moodle) if necessary!


Note Benotungsschema

Position im Curriculum

  • Bachelorstudium Anglistik und Amerikanistik (SKZ: 612, Version: 15W.2)
    • Fach: Fachliches Vertiefungsstudium (Pflichtfach)
      • 7.3 (c) Focus on Culture ( 0.0h SE / 6.0 ECTS)
        • 552.310 Focus on Culture: U.S. Cultures of Speculation (2.0h SE / 6.0 ECTS)
          Absolvierung im 4., 5. Semester empfohlen
  • Bachelorstudium Anglistik und Amerikanistik (SKZ: 612, Version: 15W.2)
    • Fach: Freie Kombination (Wahlfach)
      • 10.1 Freie Kombination ( 0.0h SE / 12.0 ECTS)
        • 552.310 Focus on Culture: U.S. Cultures of Speculation (2.0h SE / 6.0 ECTS)
          Absolvierung im 5., 6. Semester empfohlen
  • Bachelorstudium Anglistik und Amerikanistik (SKZ: 612, Version: 10W.3)
    • Fach: Fachliches Vertiefungsstudium (Pflichtfach)
      • Focus on Culture ( 2.0h SE / 7.0 ECTS)
        • 552.310 Focus on Culture: U.S. Cultures of Speculation (2.0h SE / 7.0 ECTS)

Gleichwertige Lehrveranstaltungen im Sinne der Prüfungsantrittszählung

Diese Lehrveranstaltung ist keiner Kette zugeordnet