The Trans-Atlanticist

40 Episodes

By: Andrew Sola

Andrew Sola explores the past, present, and future of relations between Europe and the United States with scholars, artists, authors, politicians, journalists, and business leaders. Based at the Amerikazentrum in Hamburg, the Trans-Atlanticist provides you with insights from the thought leaders who are shaping the trans-Atlantic relationship every single day.

Novel RomAntics: Literature of Chicago Series #5: Aleksandar Hemon's The Lazarus Project
Yesterday at 8:00 AM

with Douglas Cowie and Robert Eaglestone

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Professor Robert Eaglestone discuss The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon, published in 2008. The conversation looks at the novel's structure, and its development of themes of immigrant and refugee identity, ethnic cleansing, trauma, language, and much more.

LadyFiction #14: Kiss, Kick, Kiss: Indigenous Erotica and Body Sovereignty

with Stefanie Schaefer and Savage Bear

In this episode, Stefanie Schaefer and her guest Savage Bear (Cree) commemorate Native American Heritage Month. They discuss sensuality and the politics of decolonizing sexuality in contemporary indigenous art. They address indigenous interventions in academic discourses, read poetry by Richard van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ Dene) and Tenille Campbell (Dene/Métis), and talk about moose lips and feminist body sovereignty.

Novel RomAntics: Literature of Chicago Series #4: The House on Mango Street by S. Cisneros

with Douglas Cowie and Alina Borger

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, poet and teacher Alina Borger, discuss The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. They begin by exploring why the novel makes for useful study on a high school curriculum, and move to a wide-ranging discussion of its place as a novel of Chicago, its structure, and the many themes that emerge from its center as a novel about a Latina girl's tentative steps towards adolescence.

Reading Slaughterhouse-Five on Kurt Vonnegut's 100th Birthday

with Dr. Douglas Cowie and Dr. Wieland Schwanebeck

The Amerikazentrum Hamburg commemorates Kurt Vonnegut's 100th birthday with a special podcast about his seminal novel Slaughterhouse-Five. The Amerikazentrum will also be hosting a Virtual Vonnegut Birthday Celebration live on ZOOM on Saturday Nov. 19 from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. CET. The expert panel includes Dr. Wieland Schwanebeck, Vonnegut biographer Charles J. Shields, and Jan-Christian Petersen. Please visit our website to register for the event:

The Politics Podcast: The Energy War in Europe

with Andrew Sola and Guenter Danner

In this episode, our experts explore the effects of Russia's war in Ukraine on European energy policy and EU politics. A number of countries are analyzed, including Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, and the Baltics. The episode ends with a moral and legal assessment of EU policy regarding Russian draft dodgers.

The Politics Podcast: The Triumph of the Far Right in Sweden and Italy

with Andrew Sola and Guenter Danner

In this episode, Sola and Danner examine the recent elections in Sweden and Italy. Both nations experienced an enormous surge in votes for far-right parties. Is the European electorate moving to the right? Are are far-right parties moving to the center? Join us as we explore the history of Swedish and Italian politics over the last 100 years.

Novel RomAntics Literature of Chicago Series #3: Nelson Algren's The Man with the Golden Arm (1949)

with Douglas Cowie and Mark Blottner

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, documentary filmmaker Mark Blottner, discuss The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren. Published in 1949, it tells the story of a war veteran's struggle with morphine addiction, and in so doing paints a portrait of a marginal neighborhood in Chicago and its people.

Novel RomAntics Literature of Chicago Series #2: Richard Wright's Native Son (1940)

with Douglas Cowie and Ryan Gattis

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, writer Ryan Gattis, discuss Native Son by Richard Wright. Published in 1940, it tells the story of a young Black Chicagoan who murders a White heiress, and the personal, social and political consequences that ensue.

Novel RomAntics Literature of Chicago Series #1: Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900)

with Douglas Cowie and Katie McGettigan

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Dr. Katie McGettigan, Senior Lecturer in American Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, discuss Sister Carrie, a novel by Theodore Dreiser. Published in 1900, it tells the story of a young woman seduced by the material trappings of Chicago and its men

Transatlantic Wisdom Finale: The Meaning of Meaning: Friedrich Nietzsche and Wallace Stevens Redux

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

There is no “I” that sees in every direction at once. In the sixth and final episode of Transatlantic Wisdom, Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen return to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (1887) in order to explore its importance in the development of modern wisdom literature, particularly Wallace Stevens’ poetry. Key themes include an exploration of the ascetic ideal in the Western tradition; the importance of form or genre in the creation of meaning; the differences between treatise, polemic, and aphorism; the tensions between having a systemic worldview and having no systemic worldview; the impo...

Transatlantic Wisdom #5: Feeling and Thought Together: Bierce, Woolf, Parker, and Canetti

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

Different forms shape knowledge in different ways. In the fifth episode, Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen introduce a German and an American scholar who study the aphoristic form, namely Gerhard Neumann (1934-2017) and Adam Gopnik (b. 1956). These introductions serve as a starting point for a discussion of the thinkers Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), and Elias Canetti (1905-1994). Key themes include the tension between analytical and spiritual forms of wisdom literature, the conflict between thought and feeling, dogmatism, and epistemological humility.

Transatlantic Wisdom #4: Solutions Are Dangerous: Karl Kraus and H. L. Mencken

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

The meaning of a poem is the least interesting thing about it. In the fourth episode, Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen share the satirical wisdom of two great transatlantic journalists and savage social critics, Karl Kraus (1874-1936) and H. L. Mencken (1880-1956). Key themes include linguistic precision, anti-foundationalism, politics, journalism, and—most importantly—wit, sarcasm, and humor.

Transatlantic Wisdom #3: An Entire Book, An Entire Life: Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach and Sarah Manguso

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

The truth disappears when we summarize and paraphrase. In the third episode, Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen turn to wisdom literature written by two transatlantic women whose lives span three centuries, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) and Sarah Manguso (b. 1974). Key themes include historical understandings of social castes and gender, feminism, tensions between nature and artistic creation, and the philosophical relationship between the fragment and the whole.

Transatlantic Wisdom #2: The Image of Our Mind: Pope, Schlegel, Franklin, and Blake

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd. In the second episode, Coyle and Swensen trace the evolution of thought from the Enlightenment period (1685-1815) through the Romantic era (1800-1850) and Nietzsche’s lifetime (1844-1900) and lastly on to the Modernist era (1900-1940) by focusing on a number of key transatlantic figures. Key themes include the art of interpretation, the creation of philosophical systems, and tensions between rationalism and artistic creation.

Transatlantic Wisdom #1: Wiping Away the Horizon: Friedrich Nietzsche and Wallace Stevens

with Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen

Everything that matters is difficult to understand. In the first episode of Transatlantic Wisdom, Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen unpack the meaning of Nietzsche’s famous line that we have killed God. They then assess the influence of Nietzsche on Wallace Stevens’ poetry, namely his famous poems The Snow Man, The Surprises of the Superhuman, and The Emperor of Ice-Cream. Key themes include the seduction of language, problems with subjectivity, and the importance of patient interpretation.

Introducing Transatlantic Wisdom

A Preview

The Trans-Atlanticist at the Amerikazentrum in Hamburg is delighted to announce the launch of our new six-part series called Transatlantic Wisdom, which explores the rich interchange of ideas between Germany and the United States over the last several hundred years.
The series is hosted by two fantastic professors: Michael Coyle and Alan Swensen of Colgate University in New York. Michael is an expert in Modernist literature and poetry and Alan is German scholar and translator of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Episodes will be released every Friday for the next six weeks starting on June 10.

Gratitude, Guilt, and Greed: Understanding Germany’s Relationship with Russia

with Andrew Sola and Christina Neuhaus

In this episode, Andrew Sola and Christina Neuhaus, political correspondent for the Agence France-Press in Berlin, analyze the complexities of Germany’s relationship with Russia since World War II. They focus on the gratitude felt by many Germans for the Soviet Union’s approval of German reunification, the guilt felt for atrocities committed against Russia during the Second World War, as well as the greed that created an increasingly unbalanced economic relationship with Russia, driven by energy imports.

Lady Fiction #13: Where Are the Men? Same-Sex Societies in American Literature

with Stefanie Schaefer and Judith Rauscher

In light of the pending rollback of abortion rights by the US Supreme Court's conservative majority, Stefanie Schäfer and her guest Judith Rauscher turn to a world without men--as imagined in literary texts from the turn of the 20th century. Reading feminist utopias such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915) and Mary E. Bardley's Mizora. A Prohpecy (1880/9), they discuss literary representations of an ideal same-sex state, whiteness, beauty standards, and the interlacing of progressivism and conservative views of womanhood in the US at a time when women fought for suffrage and civic equality.

French Presidential Elections and Parliamentary Elections in Hungary

with Andrew Sola and Guenter Danner

In this episode, Andrew Sola and the Trans-Atlanticist's EU expert Guenter Danner discuss the French election rematch between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. They then delve into the consequences of Viktor Orban's decisive victory in Hungary for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine.

LadyFiction #12: Art, Science, and the Legacies of Slavery in Esi Edugyan's Washington Black

with Stefanie Schaefer and Nele Sawallisch

With her guest Nele Sawallisch, Stefanie discusses Esi Edugyan's 2018 novel Washington Black. With Olaudah Equiano's 1789 autobiography as intertext, the novel entangles the adventure story with the slave narrative. As Washington Black travels from Barbados to the Arctic, from Virginia to London, his narrative asks about the (hi)stories that remain out of the light and the making of 19th century discoverer personas against the backdrop of gratuitous black labor.

Ukraine, Russia, and the Future of Europe

with Andrew Sola and Guenter Danner

War has returned to Europe. Andrew Sola and Dr. Guenter Danner, our EU expert, unpack what the war means for Ukraine, Russia, and the future of the continent. Was the West delusional in believing that trade and economic relations would prevent Russian aggression? Is Putin a madman or a rational actor? How will the war end?

LadyFiction #11: From BeyoncĂŠ to Sarah Baartman and Back: Celebrity Performance and Black Feminism

with Stefanie Schaefer and Samantha Pinto In our first episode 2022, Lady Fiction takes a cue from Black History Month to ask about the legacies of black woman celebrities in the US cultural archive. Stefanie Schäfer's guest is Dr. Samantha Pinto (UTexas), author of Infamous Bodies. Early Black Women’s Celebrity and the Afterlives of Rights (Duke UP 2020), whose work on transantional feminism and black women's performance inquires into our understanding of the "popular" in popular culture. Fans of Beyoncé will find their Queen B all over and across this episode, as we read from Morgan Parker's 2017 poetry collection There are...

LadyFiction #3: NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names

with Stefanie Schaefer and Oksana Marafioti

This episode of LadyFiction discusses Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo’s “We Need New Names” (2013), a novel about a young girl who leaves behind her shantytown childhood to pursue her goals in America. The novel meditates on home, trauma, and childhood in a globalized world—and Stefanie Schäfer’s conversation partner is Oksana Marafioti, US-American writer of Armenian and Russian Romani descent and the author of “American Gypsy: A Memoir” (2012).

The Politics Podcast: Europe in 2022

with Andrew Sola and Guenter Danner

In the final episode of 2021, Andrew Sola and our resident EU expert Dr. Guenter Danner discuss EU refugee policy, the Dublin Agreement, and Fortress Europe; challenges facing the new German coalition government in 2022; and the likely candidates in the French presidential election coming up in April.

LadyFiction #10: (Re)reading Little Women for the Holiday Season

with Stefanie Schaefer and Amanda Halter

This episode features Stefanie Schäfer and her guest Amanda Halter discussing their experiences in reading Louisa May Alcott's 1868/9 classic. We talk about Jo's meanings as tomboy and archetype of white womenhood, domesticity and nostalgia, and female authorship, touching also on Great Gerwig's 2019 film version--and finally, we wonder why Little Women continues to gather, as Anne Boyd Rioux and others have contended, a predominantly female readership.

Novel RomAntics #10: Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom

with Douglas Cowie and Gregory Miller

In the final episode of the first series of Novel RomAntics, host Douglas Cowie and guest Gregory Miller, a Wisconsin-based educator, discuss Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, a novel that, while telling a story of opiate addiction in the USA, contemplates matters of science, faith, race, immigration, and family.

LadyFiction #9: The American Home in Flames: Art vs. Motherhood in Little Fires Everywhere

with Stefanie Schaefer and Julia Faisst

Do women have to choose between life as an artist and being a mother? That’s what the story boils (or burns!) down to in Celeste Ng’s 2017 novel (and in the eponymous Hulu Series) Little Fires Everywhere. In this episode, Stefanie Schäfer and her guest Julia Faisst discuss the implications and repercussions of this conflict—and on the side, they connect the abyss between itinerant freedom and the comforts of white settlement to the 2008 economic crisis, to adoption and white privilege, and to the iconicity of the American home in contemporary culture

Novel RomAntics #9: Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive

with Douglas Cowie and Ryan Gattis

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Los Angeles-based writer Ryan Gattis, discuss Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, a road novel about a family traveling from New York City to the Mexican-American border. Check out Ryan's novels at

LadyFiction #8:Thinking Post-Pandemic Futures in Women’s Novels: The Tiger Flu (2018) and Station Eleven (2014)

with Stefanie Schäfer, Linda Hess, and Ina Batzke

In Oct 2021, aka the second fall after the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, many pressing questions persist: What will be our new normal? How will we construct our stories and our identities after COVID? Is the future, as many say, indeed female?

In this episode, Stefanie Schäfer and her guests, Ina Batzke and Linda Hess, explore two novels about global pandemics that were published before the arrival of COVID-19, and the answers these works of post-apocalyptic speculative fiction offer. They touch on female authors, alternate fictional universes, an...

NovelRomAntics #8: Nghi Vo's The Chosen and the Beautiful

with Douglas Cowie and Michael Coyle

In the second of two episodes about reinterpretations of The Great Gatsby, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Michael Coyle, discuss The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, in which Daisy Buchanan's golf star friend Jordan Baker narrates a dark, fantastical and politically-charged version of the same events that Nick Carraway tells in Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.

German Election Preview

with Andrew Sola and Christina Neuhaus

Political correspondent Christina Neuhaus and host Andrew Sola discuss the upcoming federal elections in Germany. They cover the top six parties: CDU, SPD, the Greens, FDP, AFD, and the Left. Also, they assess the chances of the three candidates who seek to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel: Olaf Scholz, Armin Laschet, and Annalena Baerbock . Lastly, they analyze the effect of climate change, tax policy, and COVID-19 on the elections.

9/11 Literature and the Art of the Present in Ottessa Moshfegh's "My Year of Rest and Relaxation"

with Stefanie Schaefer and Marius Henderson

Marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Stefanie and her guest, Americanist Marius Henderson, discuss contemporary literature and the concept of American art after 9/11, touching on the affective turn, the New Sincerity, the Occupy Movement, and the aesthetics of sleep in the novel "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" (2018) by US novelist Ottessa Moshfegh.

Introduction to US Foreign Policy 20 Years after 9/11

with Andrew Sola and Steven Durand

In this show, Andrew Sola and his guest, Prof. Steven Durand, discuss different theoretical approaches to understanding US foreign policy and international security 20 years after 9/11. Topics include (1) realpolitik or neo-realism: the view that the world is an anarchical and amoral competition among nations; (2) Graham Allison’s critique of the assumption that governments make rational decisions; (3) James Dobbins’ analysis of successful and unsuccessful approaches to nation building. Next, they discuss the war in Afghanistan, including (4) the role of humanitarian intervention in US foreign policy; and (5) the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy. The show...

Novel RomAntics #7: "No One Is Coming to Save Us" by Stephanie Powell Watts

with Douglas Cowie and Michael Coyle

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Professor of English at Colgate University, Michael Coyle, discuss No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts. This is the first of two episodes in which Douglas and Michael discuss novels that are based in different ways on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby.

Norwegian Election Preview & the 10-Year Anniversary of the July 22 Terrorist Attack

with Trygve Svensson

Dr. Trygve Svensson, director of the Norwegian think tank AGENDA, and Andrew Sola preview the upcoming elections in Norway on 13 September. Topics include antagonistic politics, social and economic inequality, climate change, and immigration. Lastly, Dr. Svensson remembers the tragic day of the terrorist bombing in Oslo and the subsequent mass shooting on the island of Utøya.

Novel RomAntics #6: Willy Vlautin's The Night Always Comes

with Douglas Cowie and Robert Eaglestone

In this episode, host Douglas Cowie and his guest, Professor Robert Eaglestone, discuss The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin, a novel set in Portland, Oregon that dramatizes the human cost of the economic crash. They also touch on the relationship between Willy Vlautin's fiction writing and his songwriting

LadyFiction Goes to the Movies: Chloe Zhao‘s "Nomadland“

with Stefanie Schaefer and Anna Sola

With her guest, film expert and documentary maker Anna Sola, Stefanie Schäfer discusses the winning film of the 2021 Academy Awards, zooming in on visual anthropology, freedom and mobility, and feminist art in times of crisis.

LadyFiction #5: On Electric Women: Reading Margaret Fuller's "Woman in the 19th Century"

with Stefanie Schaefer and Andrew Wildermuth

With her guest Andrew Wildermuth, Stefanie Schaefer discusses the text that kicked off the white women's movement in the US, Margaret Fuller's 1845 "Woman in the 19th Century", interrogating its feminist meanings and transatlantic entanglements, and Fuller's concept of female genius.

Novel RomAntics #5: Lesley Nneka Arimah's What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

with Douglas Cowie and Nadifa Mohamed

In this episode, novelist Nadifa Mohamed and host Douglas Cowie discuss What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, a collection of short stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah. They discuss several of the stories, and the overlaps and differences in cultural expectations between the United States and Africa, the pressures of young womanhood, and more. Nadifa Mohamed's latest novel, The Fortune Men, is published by Penguin, and will be available in German from September, under the titel Der Geist von Tiger Bay, published by C.H. Beck Verlag.

LadyFiction#4: Poetry by Elizabeth Alexander, Marilyn Nelson and Bettina Judd

Stefanie Schäfer and Christine Vogt-William

LadyFiction’s episode 4 turns to the history of science—and the forgotten role black people played as study objects in this context. Stefanie Schäfer and Dr. Christine Vogt-William from the University of Bayreuth discuss how black women’s poetry unearths and retells these forgotten histories. We read Elizabeth Alexander’s poems “The Venus Hottentot” and selections from Marilyn Nelson’s “Fortune’s Bones” (2004) and from Bettina Judd’s “Patient” (2014). The poems selected showcase the Renaissance of the Black Arts in the current moment and its aesthetic of empowerment that gives a voice to those who have been silen