Project 'Atlantic Islands in the Americas'


The results of the interdisciplinary project "Atlantic Islands in the Americas" which was conducted by members of the Center of North American Studies have recently been published by Königshausen & Neumann.


As bounded spaces, islands have long been models of homogeneous individual and collective identites. In recent decades, postcolonial, island and diaspora studies as well as spatial theories have deconstructed essentialist identity categories (such as nation, culture, race, and gender) and have shifted the focus to identities as relational processes. Concentrating on the Atlantic islands in the Americas, the multi- and interdiscplinary case studies in this volume seek to explore issues such as the connection between the islands and their respective mainlands and the positioning of specific islands within larger geographical, political, economic, and cultural constellations. Diverse in focus and methodology, the essays in this volume are connected by their interest in the nexus of material reality and the discursive conditions which have shaped island locations and their representations. Taking into consideration both real islands (from Canada's Arctic and the Sea Islands to the Caribbean) and imaginary ones (e.g. in the TV series Lost, or the islands in video games and graphic novels), the essays contextualize the representations of islands in different media and analyze their function in the construction and negotiation of national and transnational identities.

The essay collection comprises the following articles:


Jutta Zimmermann & Elisabeth Winkler,   Introduction        



Maria Moss,  John Franklin's Expedition Into the Arctic “Heart of Darkness”

Manja Kürschner, Insularity and Insanity in Shutter Island

Tristan Kugland, Bringing the War Back Home: Manhattan as Heterotopia in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and Brian Wood’s DMZ 



Jutta Zimmermann, Sullivan’s Island in Antebellum Southern Literature:  William Gilmore Simms’s “The Passage of Arms at ‘76”  and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug”

Barbara Röckl, Beyond the Borders of the Modern World: The Function of the Island in Richard Wright’s 12 Million Black Voices and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day         



Thomas Riis, Lucie Hørlyk, a Danish Caribbean Writer in Historical Context     

Finja Desler,  Exploring Other Spaces: Lucie Hørlyk’s West Indian Narratives and the Danish-Caribbean Island Experience

Edward Keynes, Puerto Rico: “The World’s Oldest Colony”?



Elisabeth Winkler, “This is no ordinary place”: The Island in the Television Show Lost

Maren Conrad,  Post-Apocalyptic Islands: Survival in 21st Century Film and Literature     

Daniel Schäbler,  The Island as Frontier: Digital Insular Visions, Genre Innovations, and Border  Crossings