Alfred Hornung honoree of internationally renowned Carl Bode–Norman Holmes Pearson Prize

Recognition of Mainz Americanist for outstanding achievements in the internationalization and transnationalization of his field


The American Studies Association, the world's largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, has awarded Professor Alfred Hornung of the American Studies division at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) with the 2013 Carl Bode–Norman Holmes Pearson Prize for Outstanding Contributions to American Studies. He received the distinguished international award in recognition of his lifetime achievements, particularly for his services to the inter- and transnationalization of American Studies in Germany, the USA, and around the world in Washington, DC. The fact that Hornung is only the second non-American to be honored with this prize, awarded since 1975, highlights the importance of this prestigious recognition. Some of the previous honorees include internationally leading academics in the field of American Studies such as Donald Pease from Dartmouth College, Janice Radway from Northwestern University, Sacvan Bercovitch from Harvard University, and Henry Nash Smith from the University of California at Berkeley as well as the Mexican-American cultural critic and author Gloria Anzaldúa.

"To be honored with the Carl Bode–Norman Holmes Pearson Prize is a very special recognition of my services rendered in research and teaching as part of the American Studies program at Mainz University," Professor Alfred Hornung explained. "The establishment of international contacts and programs has opened up new networking opportunities for students in the field and has led to important research collaborations. This networking is crucial – for my decade-long focus of research in the field of autobiography in different media as well as for the new Research Training Group on 'Life Sciences, Life Writing: Boundary Experiences of Human Life between Biomedical Explanation and Lived Experience' that was just approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The creation of transnational American Studies, jointly developed and practiced with the executive committee members of the American Studies Association, became an effective strategy to counteract the often unilateral action of American politics by analyzing American cultural studies on multilateral and egalitarian terms. I am very pleased that the combination of the academic research environment with concrete aspects of societal change has been recognized in terms of a planetary community of values. I am very grateful for this award and understand it as an invitation to continue the program of transnational American Studies."

Professor Alfred Hornung has been teaching and researching at the JGU Department of English and Linguistics since 1988, focusing on American autobiographies, modernism and postmodernism, multiculturalism, interculturalism and migration, postcolonialism as well as American literary theory and culture. He is the author of numerous academic publications and the editor of important textbooks and series in American Studies, including the American Studies Monograph Series. As a long-time editor and member of the editorial board of journals such as Amerikastudien / American Studies, American Studies Journal, Journal of Transnational American Studies (Stanford), a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (Routledge) as well as Contemporary Foreign Literature (Nanjing), he has decisively shaped international scholarship in this field. Hornung is also a member of, among other associations, the International American Studies Association (IASA), the American Studies Association (ASA), the European Association for American Studies (EAAS), the German Association for American Studies (GAAS), of which he was president for many years, the Modern Language Association (MLA), the International Auto/Biography Association (IABA), the Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas (MESEA), which he co-founded and led as its first president, and the World Ecological Organization (WEO). Since 2007, he has been a re-elected member of the Review Board of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for European and North American literatures, and he chaired the national Review Board for the Evaluation of English and American Studies at German universities (2011-2013), conducted by the German Council of Science and Humanities.

"Alfred Hornung is an Americanist with all his heart. He knows how to continually win over his students for issues of both traditional and contemporary American research," said Professor Birgit Däwes, once a student in Hornung’s classes herself. Together with an international circle of 67 colleagues, she initiated his nomination for the 2013 Carl Bode–Norman Holmes Pearson Prize for Outstanding Contributions to American Studies. "He is a mediator between cultures: For more than two decades, he has been directly involved in the student exchange programs between Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and U.S.-American, Canadian, European, and Asian partner universities. He has called to life the Trinational Summer School, a cooperation of Mainz University, Georgia State University in Atlanta, USA, and the University of Beijing in China. He is frequently invited to universities and cultural research institutions around the globe. The Carl Bode–Norman Holmes Pearson Prize is the most prestigious award that is given internationally in American Studies. The fact that it is given to Alfred Hornung means the well-deserved recognition of a truly outstanding Americanist."