When Early German Settlers met Native Americans

Please join us for Prof. Katie Faull’s lecture, Stories of the Susquehanna, on Monday, March 28, 2016, 3:30-4:30pm, in Bullock Science Center/Teasley Lecture Hall (open to the public).

Prof. Faull has received several large NEH grants to translate and digitize documents from the Moravian archives in Bethlehem, PA. The Moravian community was founded by 18th-century German-speaking immigrants who in turn descended from Protestant communities in today’s Czech Republic.

The Stories of the Susquehanna project examines how these early settlers interacted with Native American communities, with the environment in the upper branches of the Susquehanna river, and forms a showcase project for digital undergraduate research. The lecture is open to the public, please direct any questions to ggraml@agnesscott.edu.

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“Migration, Memory, and Diversity in Germany”

Emory U will host a conference under this title on Sep 22-23. The keynote speaker is Rita Chin, Professor of History, who delivered the Halle German Studies Lecture in 2011.

The detailed conference program is attached, here’s an excerpt from the official conference announcement:

“Since its founding as a nation state, Germany has underscored the cultural differences of its immigrants and minorities in an attempt to construct unity among the majority. Coining “immigrants” as “alien” and a threat to its cultural—and, at times, racial—identity, became a pattern in modern Germany history. In this two day research conference, 11 highly esteemed international scholars will explore how the nation’s identity and historic memory have failed to posit migration and diversity as beneficial elements of a modern society, especially after 1945 when West Germany was strongly “Westernized.” Speakers will examine how the Cold War, separation into two nation states, and coping with its Holocaust past affected Germany’s path to cultural diversity, as well as how the 1990 reunification opened new venues for cultural identity.
*Unless otherwise noted, all presentations will take place in the Jones Room of the Robert W. Woodruff Library.”

For more information, conference registration and parking please go to
http://halleinstitute.emory.edu/research/events_conferences/migration_memory_and_diversity_in_germany.html

Continue reading “Migration, Memory, and Diversity in Germany”

ASC Student Wins DAAD Scholarship

Congratulations to Lucy Nga Than ’13 for being awarded a 10-month research scholarship to Germany by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)! The scholarship will enable Lucy to pursue further research on her project, “Education as a Means of Integration for Young Vietnamese Immigrants in Germany,” as part of a larger research project on immigration at the renowned Max Planck Institute for the Studies of Religious and Ethnic Diversities in Göttingen, Germany.

A student of economics and history, Lucy participated in the ASC German Studies Program’s Global Awareness Trip to Germany (funded by The Halle Foundation) in May 2012. During the two weeks in Germany, she met with several Vietnamese immigrants and conducted preliminary oral history interviews. After returning to ASC, Lucy enrolled in German 101 and also in the ASC German Studies course “Introduction to German Cultural Studies,” where she used her preliminary findings to develop a more substantial grant proposal for the DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship.

DAAD Undergraduate Scholarships are available for students enrolled at US and Canadian colleges and universities, but are highly competitive: All submissions are evaluated by an independent panel of international experts and only about 20 percent of all applications are funded. Thus, the scholarship is evidence for the relevance of Lucy’s project.

This is the second time in a row that an ASC student won one of these prestigious scholarships. Quyen Tran ’12, who won the DAAD scholarship last year, is currently in Freiburg, Germany, conducting research for her project “Epigenetics of Obesity.” Both awards show how small but well-designed course projects can evolve into international research endeavors.

Here’s a picture of Lucy presenting her preliminary research after returning from the two-week Global Awareness Trip to Germany:

Lucy Nga Than presents initial findings from her oral history interviews with Vietnamese immigrants in Germany (September 2012).  (Foto: G. Graml)
Lucy Nga Than presents initial findings from her oral history interviews with Vietnamese immigrants in Germany (September 2012). (Foto: G. Graml)

A New Wave of “Gastarbeiter”?

In 2011 Germany celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first guest worker treaty. (At ASC we marked that historical moment with two lectures by historian Rita Chin and German-Turkish author Yadé Kara.)

In 2012 it seems as if history will repeat itself, albeit in a different context. Following the great recession that began in 2008, Europe’s governing bodies have imposed stringent austerity measures on the EU’s member nations. These measures hit the already weak economies around the Mediterranean the most, resulting in 20+ percent unemployment rates in Greece, Spain, and areas of Portugal. Germany, in the meantime, is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers and has begun looking south once again to increase its labor pool:

In the last 18 months, it has recruited thousands of the Continent’s best and brightest to this postcard-perfect town and many others like it, a migration of highly qualified young job-seekers that could set back Europe’s stragglers even more, while giving Germany a further leg up.

Read more about this new wave of labor migration in this NYT article.

Henryk Broder about Contemporary Germany

Henryk Broder’s talk at Emory University last night provided an entertaining overview of contemporary Germany. True to his self-styled role as one of Germany’s foremost agents provocateurs, Broder chose to describe to his American audience what he considers the most laughable and hypocritical elements of contemporary German politics and culture. He mocked in eloquent and pointed language Germany’s self-imposed role as global moral authority, stating that–and I’m paraphrasing here–because the Germans have been so willing to wage two wars in the twentieth century now everyone else should be peaceful. Special scorn was reserved for the peace and environmental movements in Germany, which, according to Broder, has sufficient energy to pursue legal action on behalf of a rare bug species through all levels of Germany’s justice system but fails to protest efficiently against Syria’s killing of its own citizens.

The “monster” (Broder’s term) of political correctness was another prominent target of Broder’s ridicule. Showing a clip from a TV series he co-authored, “Entweder Broder,” he addressed what he perceives as the exaggerated and baseless accusation of Germans as xenophobic and racist. As evidence he referred to a sequence in his clip where he donned a Bhurka and, together with his Muslim co-author dressed in Bavarian Lederhosen, visited the Munich Oktoberfest. They engaged in joy rides, target shooting, and beer drinking, and the only people taking offense were a group of male, teen-aged Turkish-Germans. It was entertaining, although the conclusion Broder took from this “ethnographic” exploration of Germany is rather problematic in my view: According to Broder, the fact that no mainstream Germans–white “native” Germans, I presume–accosted the pair or took offense at the Bhurka-clad Broder, is evidence that Germany has no problem with its minorities but that the minorities, whether they are Muslim, Jewish, etc., have a problem with Germans and Germany. Based on the facial expressions some of the “native” Germans make in the clip, they were very puzzled by the person in the Bhurka, puzzled beyond verbal expression. To take the silence as a sign of tolerance or even acceptance means, in my view, to misinterpret the reactions.

At the end of the talk, Broder acknowledged the privileged position of the provocateur by describing himself as an incarnation of the two sides of Germany and Germanness: cosmopolitan, curious, and friendly on one side; pent-up, stuffy, and moralistic on the other. And if you address him as the one side, he will quickly change into the other, continuing his amusing hammering away at the German (self)image.

Here is a link to an English-language excerpt from one of Broder’s latest books, Hurra! Wir kapitulieren!

And here is another clip from the “German Safari” à la Broder:

If anyone else heard the talk and would like to chime in with their perspective, you are very welcome. Just use the comment section below.