The American Studies division at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) plays host to the international conference entitled "Obama and Transnational American Studies" that will take place from October 16 to 19, 2014. The contributions to the conference will be concerned with the relatively new discipline of Transnational American Studies (TAS), the emergence of which has been attributed to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and President George W. Bush's controversial decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The purpose of TAS within American Studies is to analyze the present status of the US from diverse academic perspectives, free of all political bias and contentious issues. "The very biography of the current US President, Barack Obama, represents what Transnational American Studies stands for today," explains Professor Alfred Hornung of the Department of English and Linguistics at Mainz University. "Against the backdrop of his family ties to Kansas and Kenya, his growing up in multi-ethnic Hawai'i and Jakarta with its largely Muslim population, his studies at Harvard Law School and his engagement as community worker in Chicago, Obama has often emphasized his transnational background both privately and politically." The organizers in Mainz are thus particularly delighted that the US President's African sister Dr. Auma Obama has agreed to give the keynote speech during the conference opening on October 16, 2014. In her lecture "You are Your Future," the transnational social ambassador will talk about her foundation, Sauti Kuu (Swahili for "Powerful Voices"), which is designed to give hope to children around the world. The conference agenda includes both the President and his wife Michelle Obama - with a particular focus on her "Let's Move" campaign - as well as the impact of his African family. Speakers from Germany, the US, Canada, China, Australia, and Austria are expected in Mainz.
The conference program is available at http://www.
The opening ceremony will be held on October 16, 2014, at 3:00 pm in lecture hall RW1 in the ReWi building (Haus Recht und Wirtschaft), Jakob-Welder-Weg 9; all other related events will take place in the faculty hall of the Philosophicum building, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, on the Gutenberg campus. Interested members of the general public are very welcome to attend.