This essential introduction to American studies examines the core foundational myths upon which the nation is based and which still determine discussions of US-American identities today. These myths include the myth of "discovery," the Pocahontas myth, the myth of the Promised Land, the myth of the Founding Fathers, the melting pot myth, the myth of the West, and the myth of the self-made man. The chapters provide extended analyses of each of these myths, using examples from popular culture, literature, memorial culture, school books, and every-day life. Including visual material as well as study questions, this book will be of interest to any student of American studies and will foster an understanding of the United States of America as an imagined community by analyzing the foundational role of myths in the process of nation building.
"[Die Analyse ermöglicht] in ihrer Gesamtheit faszinierende Impressionen von Mentalitäten und Idealen, Vorurteilen und Abgrenzungen der US-amerikanischen Gesellschaft des 19. und 20.Jahrhunderts." Peter Andreas, Historische Zeitschrift, 301 (2015) Besprochen in: Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, 23.07.2015, Horst Dippel
Heike Paul teaches American Studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany). Her current research interests are cultural mobility and interculturality, transnational American studies, dimensions of tacit knowledge, and contemporary North American literature.