Number 49 (2007)

Special Edition: The Best of ASJ, 1996–2007

Special Edition. Edited by Hans-Jürgen Grabbe

Editor’s Note

In September of 1960, English teachers in the state (Land) of Baden-Württemberg received a small publication consisting of some 20 mimeographed and stapled pages that contained news and articles about the United States of America. It was entitled American Newsletter and was distributed four times a year by the Cultural Affairs Unit of the United States Information Service (USIS) in Stuttgart.

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The Roots of American Religious Liberty

From the colonial era to the present, religions and religious beliefs have played a significant role in the political life of the United States. Religion has been at the heart of some of the best and some of the worst movements in American history. The guiding principles that the framers intended to govern the relationship between religion and politics are set forth in Article VI of the Constitution and in the opening sixteen words of the First Amendment.

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Social Policy and Welfare Reform in the United States — An Introduction

Reforming the welfare state is a prominent topic on the public policy agendas in both the United States and Germany. Critics of European systems of social provision frequently implore us to look to the U. S. for models of change in order to adjust to new global economic challenges. Defenders of European-style social provision argue that the very existence of social safety nets allows people to be flexible and innovative without fear of falling through the cracks. Admonitions about the pitfalls of the ‘Standort Deutschland’ are countered by warnings about ‘amerikanische Verhältnisse.’

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The State of Native America at the End of the Twentieth Century

When stereotypes of modern Native Americans are brought forward, these usually manifest themselves in visions of poor Indians living on reservations, which are on lands no one else wanted. Modern Native Americans are often stereotyped as drunks or succumbing to the pressure of gamblers to open their reservations to casinos. One place to start in order to disprove these stereotypes is the statistical data. What follows is not an interpretive essay in the classic scholarly vein, but an informative one that provides a picture of the state of Native America at the end of the Twentieth Century based on current statistical data.

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“A Cuchi Moya!” — Star Trek’s Native Americans

For decades, Science Fiction had offered those involved in a cultural phenomenon stigmatized as escapist entertainment the opportunity to playfully work through their visions of the future, exploring both scenarios they might hope for and those they were deeply afraid of. Against this background, it is not surprising that particularly people marginalized by the current social order use fantastic fictions to either unmask present socio-cultural practices as oppressive or to imagine alternative ways of living where they would be no longer disenfranchised.

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Asian Americans and American Immigration and Naturalization Policy

Since its beginnings, the United States has been heralded as a nation of immigrants, a safe heaven for those who have to leave their homes, be the reasons hunger, political or religious persecution, the desire for land or the possibility of finding work. This self-perception as a country of immigration has been carved in stone at the foot of the symbol of the immigrant nation, the Statue of liberty.

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Criminal Justice in the United States: A Primer

In this primer on the U.S. criminal justice system, James B. Jacobs, Warren E. Burger Professor of Law at New York University (NYU) and Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at the NYU School of Law, explains the structure and basic jurisprudence of U.S. criminal law and criminal procedure.

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A Diverse Educational System: Structure, Standards, and Challenges

American education is a complex topic because a single school can draw upon resources from several different public and private institutions. For example, a student may attend a private high school whose curriculum must meet standards set by the state, some of whose science courses may be financed by federal funds, and whose sports teams may play on local, publicly owned fields. Despite this complexity, however, it is possible to describe the broad contours of American education.

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