PS First Ladies in US Politics and Culture



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Mo 10:00-12:00, Raum KH 2.014

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Das Proseminar gehört zu folgenden Modulen:

BA English and American Studies: Zwischenmodul II Culture

BA English and American Studies: Import-Kombi-Modul Politics and Culture

Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Erfolgreicher Abschluss der GOP


"Pillow power”; "ornamental part of the presidency”, "symbol of American womanhood” are among the many controversial labels assigned to the First Lady of the US by the few scholarly studies in existence. She is not elected, but resides at the center of the executive branch. She may assume the roles of hostess and mother, interior designer or welfare activist, but she may never meddle in the realm of politics. And yet, the First Lady ‘office’ holds the potential of becoming an influencer, style icon, activist—and even politician.

This course discusses the changing views of the First Lady in the US culture from the Early Republic through the present by looking at historical case studies as well as fictional First Ladies personas. We will discuss "FLOTUS” through a number of perspectives from American Cultural Studies, including civil religion, feminisms, celebrity studies, and fashion studies to assess the public personas different First Ladies have developed in the White House. Specifically, our focus will lie on readings of FLOTUS in popular culture and biography, as well as texts written by First ladies themselves. Case studies will include Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton, as well as Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Empfohlene Literatur

Readings: A reader will be provided by the beginning of term. Please buy Katherine Brower’s |First Women|. |The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies| and the Nicolle Wallace’s novel |Madam President|.