Barack Obama, Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship: From the World’s White Knight to the Spy that Came in from the Cold? – A German Perspective


  • Sarah Nike Makeschin University of Passau Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin



Obama, American Presidency, Transatlantic Relationship, European Identity, NSA


Reading assessments of the transatlantic relationship omnipresent in the German media in 2014, one could easily assume that the so-called “Obamania“ that had swept over Europe six years ago, has not significantly improved transatlantic relations since the Bush years. While Barack Obama was celebrated in the German media in 2008 as the presidential candidate with the “Messiah-Factor,“ only six years later he was disparagingly dubbed the “Drone Warrior.“ Examining the German media’s evaluation of the transatlantic relationship, one can observe an almost seamless transition from the celebration of a Obamanite age of multilateralism to the declaration of a new “transatlantic Ice Age.“ Considering this circumstance, the following paper aims at giving this shift in transatlantic perceptions closer attention. It will be looking at how the perception of transatlantic relations under Barack Obama has been reflected and interpreted in German media discourse over the course of his presidency and which role President Obama plays as imaginative projection surface in the negotiation of a “Eurotopian“ narrative of self in this context.

Author Biography

Sarah Nike Makeschin, University of Passau Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

After having finished my Magister in American Studies and Modern and Recent History at the University of Passau in 2010, I worked at the Department for Cultural Studies (University of Passau) as study program coordinator for two years.  In 2012 I entered my current position as research assistant at the Department for American Culture and Media Studies (Prof. Karsten Fitz) at the University of Passau.

My PhD project with the working title: “The ‘Imagined Presidency’: Between ‘Ritual’ and ‘Narrative’—Deliberating American Identity in 21st-Century Election Campaigns: Barack Obama 2008—A Case Study“ deals with the role of performative establishment of identity narratives in American election campaigns set in the age of globalization. 

My further research interests focus on the negotiation of the American political sphere in 20th/ 21st-century television and film productions, as well as the construction of America’s wars in post-WW II cultural production. Here I am currently working on an interdisciplinary research project, together with the History Didactics Department, comparing the representation of the experience of WW II in 21st-century American and German TV-(mini-) series.




How to Cite

Makeschin, Sarah Nike. “Barack Obama, Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship: From the World’s White Knight to the Spy That Came in from the Cold? – A German Perspective”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, May 2015, doi:10.5283/copas.222.