Institutions and Background Knowledge

The following books contain a wealth of information about the institutions of British and American life (political system, education system, etc). When you are in need of a good old-fashioned dose of facts, they are reliable reference books.

Bradbury, Malcolm and Howard Temperley, eds. Introduction to American Studies. Harlow:

Pearson, 1998.

Burgett, Bruce and Glenn Hendler, eds. Keywords for American Cultural Studies. New York:

New York University, 2007.

Mauk, David and John Oakland. American Civilization: An Introduction. London: Routledge,


Oakland, John. British Civilization: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 1998.

Randle, John. Understanding Britain: A History of the British People and their Culture.

London: Lingual, 1981.

Sitkoff, Harvard, ed. Perspectives on Modern America: Making Sense of the Twentieth

Century . New York: Oxford UP, 2001.


Introductions to Cultural Studies

Introductions to Cultural Studies are generally written for native-speaker university students and are often quite theoretical. Therefore, you may find them difficult to read. The following are relatively accessible:

Bassnet, Susan, ed. Studying British Cultures: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 1997.

Giles, Judy and Tim Middleton. Studying Culture: A Practical Introduction. 2 nd ed.Oxford:

Blackwell, 2008.

Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. London: Pearson, 2001.

Thwaites, Tony. Introducing Cultural and Media Studies: A Semiotic Approach. New York:

Palgrave, 2002.


Film, Photography, Comics, Visual Culture

Barrett, Terry. Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images. Boston:

McGraw-Hill, 2006.

Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2000.

Hill, John, ed. Film Studies: Critical Approaches. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper, 1994.

Monaco, James. How to Read a Film. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual

Materials. London: Sage, 2001.

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture.

Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.

Wells, Liz, ed. Photography: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2004.


Histories of Britain and the USA

Briggs, Asa. A Social History of England. London, Penguin, 1988.

Carroll, Peter and David Noble. The Free and the Unfree: A Progressive History of the United

States . London: Penguin, 2001.

Jenkins, T. A. Britain: A Short History. Oxford: Oneworld, 2001.

Norton, Mary Beth. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States. New York:

Houghton Mifflen, 2007.


Books in German

Why not read a few books in German now and then? They were written with you, the German university student, in mind, and some of them are not half bad! For example

Hebel, Udo. Einführung in die Amerikanistik/American Studies. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2008.

Assmann, Aleida. Einführung in die Kulturwissenschaft. Berlin: ESV, 2008.