Visions of Belonging
19 September 2012
Does Racism Belong in Germany? And if so, why?
While the country is currently debating whether Islam belongs in Germany, we are asking: does racism belong in Germany? And to what extent is it rooted in society? The series of murders by German Nationalists that came to light in 2011 and the failure of the authorities to investigate the matter properly lent increased urgency to these questions. According to the studies of the researcher Wilhelm Heitmeyer, every second person interviewed felt that Germany was "dangerously swamped by foreigners." Almost one in three people feel "like strangers in their own country because of the many Muslims that live here."
29 October 2012
Which Religions are Part of Germany?
The religious landscape in Germany has seen considerable change - In the Christian-influenced, albeit highly secularized society, religious diversity is on the increase.
The pluralism of religions, however, is seen by over 70% of Germans as a cause for conflicts and by only about half as enriching. Western European neighbors are far more tolerant of Islam and other non-Christian religions than Germany, as a survey of the University of Munster in 2010 showed. It reported that Germans speak out against new mosques and minarets far more often than the French, Danes, Dutch or Portuguese, and are also less willing to grant other religions equal rights. There is now even a ruling by the Cologne Regional Court that deems the ritual male circumcision illegal and thus restricts the freedom of religion.
21 November 2012
My Love for Germany ...
"When I think of Germany in the night, I cannot sleep," Heinrich Heine wrote about his country in exile in Paris in 1843, swaying between ironic detachment and longing. Heine, who experienced exclusion from German society throughout his lifetime, is now one of the most translated poets of the German language and shaped the image of Germany at home and abroad.
What image of Germany do German cultural figures have today? What do they value as positive? And how do their experiences and perspectives as a minority influence contemporary cultural life? Which works of German culture open up space for identification for them and their audience? Which new German narratives emerge today that reflect cross-cultural influences?
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