Annual Students & Graduate Conferences at Humboldt: Publications
Picturing America. Trauma, Realism, Politics and Identity in American Visual Culture


Philipp Kneis

Philipp Kneis has studied American Studies and History at Humboldt-Universitšt zu Berlin. He has been the organizer of numerous transatlantic student-based conferences and symposia. His main research interests are American film and television, American politics, European studies, Native American Studies, and memetics. Other interests concern poetry and photography (at He has recently published The Emancipation of the Soul: Memes of Destiny in American Visual Culture (Peter Lang, 2010).

Communicating Democracy.
Entering the American Republic Through The West Wing or the Commander in Chief

Both The West Wing and Commander in Chief set out to portray politics, both are set in the White House, both, from what they do and what their creators have been doing in the past, claim a certain interest in portraying politics more or less realistically. In which ways do these series do something similar, in which ways do they diverge, and what does this tell us about the portrayal of American politics in (visual) media?

held at: Picturing America. Domestic and Global Aspects of US Media Culture, May 19-21, 2005

"Normal Again": Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Psychotic Narration
(with Chris Flor)

According to classic techniques of psychoanalytical literary analysis, a popular text can be understood as a kind of collective symptom, suggesting that we take pleasure in the symptom we are presented with through the text, just as the neurotic uses his/her symptom or the psychotic uses his/her delusion to minimize their suffering, or as an attempt to heal him/herself. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer it is mostly themes not of neurosis but of psychosis/schizophrenia that occur. The elements of the show's "mythology" show similarities with the content of schizophrenic delusional con-structions.

held by Chris Flor at: Haunted Dreams. Nightmares in American Culture, May 23-25, 2002