Dr. Frank Usbeck

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Dr. Frank Usbeck
Associated Research Fellow
Office Hours: by appointment

http://americanstudies.uni-leipzig.de/faculty/usbeck
fusbeck@uni-leipzig.de
 

Frank Usbeck’s website and research blog: www.frankusbeck.net

Bio

I graduated as a Magister (M.A.) from the University of Leipzig in American Studies, History, and Journalism. In July 2010, I earned my PhD at American Studies Leipzig. I have spent most of my life in Leipzig, but study abroad and subsequent research trips led to longer stays in Tucson, Arizona and other places in the American Southwest, in California, and Washington, D.C. I currently work as a curator for the American collections at State Ethnographic Collections Saxony, serving the anthropological museums in Leipzig (Grassi Museum), Dresden, and Herrnhut. 

Teaching

I have taught a range of American history courses. My interests focus on tools for beginning history students, such as the basics of research and critical source analysis. Courses I designed covered Native American history, colonial history, and the history of violence and conflict in North America. Comparative history is very dear to me, being an important approach to raise awareness of transcultural differences among students, to expand the understanding of “American Studies” into a study of the entire western hemisphere, and to promote Transatlantic studies. Having conducted interdisciplinary research throughout my career, I include cultural studies, social sciences, anthropology, and other disciplines and fields in my work.

Research

My dissertation explored how Native American imagery informed the construction of German national identity during the 19th century, and how this influence on emergent nationalism fueled Nazi ideology and anti-American propaganda in the early 20th century. Fanning out from this project, I have conducted further research on historical interrelations between Native American imagery, nationalism, and German/European self-perceptions and perceptions of the US, since the 1800s.

My second major research project integrated US-Indigenous relations with studies on war experience, veterans’ affairs, and (mental) health. I argued that the widespread cultural practices of negotiating post-9/11 US war experience in first-hand narratives (e.g., soldier blogs) can be understood as civic rituals of community-oriented veteran reintegration when they are perceived through the lens of Native American ceremonial military traditions. In this context, I was particularly interested in how non-Native civic activists since Vietnam promoted Indigenous traditions as transcultural role models for social, community-oriented trauma therapy in US mainstream society.

More recently, I have ventured into studies of material culture, ethnic studies, and the disciplinary and institutional histories of cultural anthropology and American studies in the GDR.

 

Selected Publications

Monographs

Ceremonial Storytelling. Ritual and Narrative in Post-9/11 US Wars. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2019.

Fellow Tribesmen.’ The Image of Native Americans, National Identity, and Nazi Ideology in Germany. New York: Berghahn, 2015.

Editions

With Jan Hüsgen. Allerwärts. Herrnhut in der Welt des Tabaks. Special Issue for Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte 2021. (forthcoming)

With Petra Martin. Allerwärts. Herrnhut in der Welt des Tabaks. (Exhibition Brochure), Dresden, 2019.

With Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez, Anne Grob, and Maria Lippold: Selling Ethnicity and Race. Consumerism and Representation in Twenty-First-Century America. Trier: WVT, 2015.

With Sebastian M. Herrmann, Carolin Alice Hofmann, Katja Kanzler, and Stefan Schubert: Poetics of Politics. Textuality and Social Relevance in Contemporary American Literature and Culture. Heidelberg: Winter, 2015.

With Sebastian M. Herrmann, Carolin Alice Hofmann, and Katja Kanzler: Participating Audiences and Imagined Public Spheres: The Cultural Work of Contemporary American(ized) Narratives. Leipzig UP, 2012.

With Florian Bast, Anne Grob, Sebastian M. Herrmann, and Franziska Kloth: COPAS (Current Objectives in Postgraduate American Studies): Vol. 12 (2011).

<http://copas.uni-regensburg.de/issue/view/16>

Essays and Articles

“Der ‘Tabak-Indianer’ als Transnationaler Werbeträger” in Allerwärts. Herrnhut in der Welt des Tabaks. Special Issue, Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte. (forthcoming)

“Beyond Horseplay. Leipzig’s Ethnological Museum, Indian Hobbyists in the GDR, and Experimental Ethnography as Popular Education” in: Curating (Post)Socialist Environments. Ed. Philipp Schorch and Daniel Habit. De Gruyter, Oldenbourg, Dialectics of the Global series. (forthcoming)

“Writing Yourself Home: US Veterans, Creative Writing, and Social Activism.” European Journal of American Studies. Vol. 12, no.13-2, 2018. <http://journals.openedition.org/ejas/12567>

“‘To Put Others Before Yourself’: Volunteerism and Mental Health in US Veterans’ Projects.” Zeitschrift für Anglistik/Amerikanistik Vol. 66, no.4, 2018. 427–441.

“‘Die Indianer konnten die Einwanderung nicht stoppen.’ Nationalismus und Antiamerikanismus in deutschen Indianerbildern vor 1945 und heute” in: Feinde, Freunde, Fremde? Deutsche Perspektiven auf die USA. Ed. Volker Benkert. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2018. 67-82.

“‘Taking Chance Home.’ Die Rückführung eines Gefallenen und das Verhältnis von Militär und Zivilgesellschaft in US-Soldatenblogs”, in: Krieg, Militär und Mobilität. Ed. Christoph Rass. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2016. 347-67.

“Selling the ‘Natural-Born Warrior.’ Representations of Nativeness in the U.S. Military and in Law Enforcement,” in: Selling Ethnicity and Race. Consumerism and Representation in Twenty-First-Century America. Ed. Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez, Frank Usbeck, Anne Grob, and Maria Lippold. Trier: WVT, 2015. 175-93.

“‘The Power of the Story’: ‘Popular Narratology’ in Pentagon Reports on Social Media Use in the Military,” in: Poetics of Politics. Textuality and Social Relevance in Contemporary American Literature and Culture. Ed. Sebastian M. Herrmann, Carolin Alice Hofmann, Katja Kanzler, Stefan Schubert, and Frank Usbeck. Heidelberg: Winter, 2015. 313-33.

With Iris Edenheiser: “Alles Aberglaube? – Zum Umgang mit kultureller Differenz im Museum am Beispiel der Rezeption der Sonderausstellung ‘Kallawaya – Heilkunst in den Anden’ am Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde Leipzig,” in: Deimel, Claus (ed.) Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Ethnographischen Sammlungen Sachsen, Vol. XLVI. Berlin: VWB, 2014. 171-92.

With Frank Engel: “Die Tipis der alten Nordamerika-Sammlungen im Leipziger Museum für Völkerkunde,” in: Deimel, Claus (ed.) Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Ethnographischen Sammlungen Sachsen, Vol. XLVI. Berlin: VWB, 2014. 109-34.

“‘Keep that Fan Mail Coming.’ Ceremonial Storytelling and Audience Interaction in a US Soldier’s Milblog.” Zeitschrift für Anglistik/Amerikanistik, Vol. 62.2. 2014. 149-63.

“Learning from ‘Tribal Ancestors’: How the Nazis Used Indian Imagery to Promote a ‘Holistic’ Understanding of Nature among Germans.” Elohi. Peuples Indigènes et Environnement, Vol. 4. 2014. 45-60.

“Clash of Cultures? ‘Noble Savages’ in Germany and America,” in: Iris Edenheiser and Astrid Nielsen (eds.): Tecumseh, Keokuk, Black Hawk. Portrayals of Native Americans in Times of Treaties and Removal. Stuttgart, Dresden: Arnoldsche, 2013. 177-84.

“Representing the Indian, Imagining the Volksgemeinschaft. Indianthusiasm and Nazi Propaganda in German Print Media.” Ethnoscripts. Vol. 15.1. 2013. Print. 46-61.

“‘My Blog Is My Therapy.’ The Sense of Community and Ritual in American Military Blogs.” Journal of Military Experience. Vol. 2. 2012. Print. 271-86. Online edition (February 2013): http://encompass.eku.edu/jme/vol2/iss1/

With Sebastian M. Herrmann and Katja Kanzler: “Introduction,” in: Herrmann, Sebastian M., Carolin Alice Hofmann, Katja Kanzler, and Frank Usbeck (eds.): Participating Audiences, Imagined Public Spheres: The Cultural Work of Contemporary American(ized) Narratives. Leipzig UP, 2012. 7-16.

“‘Don’t Forget about Us, Because We Can’t Forget You.’ A Narrative Approach to the Concept of ‘Community’ in American Soldier Blogs,” in: Herrmann, Sebastian M., Carolin Alice Hofmann, Katja Kanzler, and Frank Usbeck (eds.): Participating Audiences, Imagined Public Spheres: The Cultural Work of Contemporary American(ized) Narratives. Leipzig UP, 2012. 91-114.

“Fighting Like Indians. The ‘Indian Scout Syndrome’ in American and German War Reports of World War II,” in: Fitz, Karsten (ed.): Visual Representations of Native Americans: Transnational Contexts and Perspectives, American Studies. A Monograph Series, Vol. 186. Heidelberg: Winter. 2012. 125-43.