jump to navigation (Alt+a) jump to content (Alt+b)

User login


any web user can view this item

Presidential Unrealities

Dissertation by
Dr. Sebastian M. Herrmann

This (completed) dissertation project investigated the cultural work done by the notion of unreality in the US presidency. Looking at a variety of texts—novels, movies, nonfiction books, newspaper articles, etc—it diagnoses a widespread cultural concern that the US presidency might be the product or source of postmodern cultural unreality, that the American president might be unreal, fictitious, or that he might produce unreal realities, lies, fictions, fakes; narratives or images that overpower reality.

What appears to be a political problem at first, then, turns out to be at least as much of a cultural one. Indeed, beginning in the late 1960s American culture, the dissertation argues, uses the presidency as a "focal point of [...] cultural angst" (Parry-Giles and Parry-Giles) to discuss the more fundamental postmodern "crisis of representation" (Jameson) in broad, even 'popular,' form and to position it as a problem that is not simply of academic interest but of immediate political relevance. By looking at 'presidential unreality' not as an actual problem that may or may not exists but as a discursive motive that does particular cultural work, the dissertation dialogs literary studies, cultural studies, political science and media studies in a project that interrogates the postmodernization of US-American cultural notions of textuality, truth, authority, and the public sphere.

After the comparatively 'sober' Obama years, the problem of unreality returned with a vengeance with the election of the reality TV star Donald Trump in 2016, an election and presidency frequently cast as the result of fake news and a presumed post-factual turn. The book Presidential Unrealities: Epistemic Panic, Cultural Work, and the US Presidency is available via Universitätsverlag Winter (as well as amazon and google books).

The project is part of the Dresden-Leipzig Research Initiative Selbst-Bewusste Erzählungen.


CONFERENCE: Politics of Performance in Transnational Scenarios

From July 13 to July 15 2017, the University of Erfurt hosts a workshop of the DFG Research Network on the Politics of Performance in Transnational Scenarios.

If you would like to participate at the conference, please contact the organizers. You can find the relevant contact information and the conference program in the PDF file attached below.

Modulklausur "Literatures and Cultures of the USA"

12. Jul 17:15 - 18:45

Dear students,

The joint exam of Prof. Junker "American Literary History" and Ms. Ravizza ("Kultur und Diversität der USA") will take place on July 12, 2017 from 5 - 7 pm in HS 3 in the Hörsaalgebäude. 

Please make sure you're officially registered for this exam.



Modulklausur "Literatures and Cultures of the USA" on July 12, 2017

Dear students,

The joint exam of Prof. Junker "American Literary History" and Ms. Ravizza ("Kultur und Diversität der USA") will take place on July 12, 2017 from 5 - 7 pm in HS 3 in the Hörsaalgebäude. 

Please make sure you are officially registered for this exam.

For further questions, please contact Wiebke Kartheus.


Leipzig University Library Awarded Title "Library of the Year 2017"

The Leipzig University Library has been awarded the title of "Library of the Year 2017." The award, awarded by the Germany Library Union (dbv) and the German Telekom Foundation, includes 20,000 Euros in prize money. "Our University Library honestly earned this award through hard work," stated Leipzig University Rektor  Beate Schücking.


Office Hours During the Semester Break Summer 2017

Prof. Garrett

Tuesday, August 8, 4 - 5 pm

Tuesday, September 5, 4 - 5 pm

and by appointment


Prof. Pisarz-Ramirez

Monday, July 31, 2 - 3 pm

Tuesday, September 5, 2 - 3 pm


Prof. Junker

by appointment

For office hours, please contact Wiebke Kartheus (wiebke.kartheus@uni-leipzig.de) at the secretariat.



Prof. Pisarz-Ramirez's Office Hour on June 27 Cancelled

Prof. Pisarz-Ramirez's office hour on June 27, 2017 had to be cancelled.

We apologize for the inconvenience.



Prof. Garrett's Office Hours, 27 June, Cancelled

Dear students,

Prof. Garrett's office hours on June 27 will have to be cancelled.

Please excuse the inconvenience.

Sommerfest des FSR Anglistik/Amerikanistik

22. Jun 17:00 - 23:00

Summer is coming!

Kommt am 22.06. einfach ab 17 Uhr zum GWZ (auf die Terrasse vor der Cafeteria) und feiert mit uns unser alljährliches Sommerfest. Für euer leibliches Wohl wird gesorgt, ansonsten haben wir noch ein buntes Programm mit PubQuiz und ggf. Flunkyball Turnier. Die besten Teams kriegen auch einen kleinen Preis!
Außerdem haben wir dieses Mal die phänomenale Band Dingoes Ate My Baby am Start.


ASLAA Workshop Application Writing Lab

21. Jun 17:15 - 18:45

American Studies Leipzig
Alumni Association e.V.

Workshop Application Writing Lab

Impressum | accesible XHTML | © 18