This course presents a reading of post-World War II German history through the lens of migration. How are memories of migration included in national histories? Working with documents from our extensive documentations Germany in Transit and Transit Deutschland, students will learn to read current news critically, contextualize controversies, and relate specific events to broader questions of economic globalization, the recruitment of “guest workers,” refugees and border regimes, xenophobia and racism, citizenship legislation, education and national identity, institutions of multiculturalism, literature and multilingualism, religion and ritual, media and popular culture. The accelerated circulation of people, goods, and data shape our lives today, not only in post-Wall Germany and crisis-ridden Europe, but in the world at large. Economic, social, and cultural interdependencies in the face of austerity measures have led to the resurgence of ethnonationalist identifications in many places. The construction of such collective identities calls for careful scrutiny and analysis. A cultural studies approach will therefore be crucial for our grasp of symbolic politics.
Course readings and discussions will be collaboratively complemented with material from online news sources, television, radio, popular music, films, and fiction. Students in this course will be expected to conceive of themselves as participants in a research team that will gather materials and generate content for the website of the Multicultural Germany Project. We are keen to develop comparative perspectives, include work on other European countries, and encourage conversations about practices and policies of migration in California and elsewhere.
The course is taught in English. Readings also available in German. Fulfills the L&S breadth requirement in International Studies or Social and Behavioral Sciences.