BIM 7

On April 2, the new Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Integration and Migration (BIM) was launched. Certainly not the first institute of its kind in Germany, Berlin’s Humboldt University, the Hertie Foundation, the Federal Employment Agency, and the German Football Association held a press conference to frame this initiative as new and needed. The reason: the field  - what is really known about the integration or inclusion of diversity - is more desert than rain-forest in this country of immigration…[Read more!]

Orhan and Sophia pre 2014 Berlin half marathon

Orhan was 5 when his father moved to Berlin in 1972. It was only one year before West Germany would halt guest worker recruitment from non-European countries to fill labor shortages after World War II. His mother followed 7 years later with his youngest sister and they lived in Rudow in southeastern Neukölln – where they still live over 30 years later. “They got jobs as cleaners in an office,” Orhan recounts, “but they were fired!” he adds, snorting in laughter. I look up from my notepad, surprised…[Read more!]

Schwarz gemacht_3

One attends a play about an Afro-German living in the years of Nazism and Jim Crow not because of the dramaturgy. One buys the ticket because of the topic’s near absence in the German discourse. This is not a review of the play, but rather a continuation of the discussion with the cast that followed. As one of the cast-members remarked, it all comes down to audience: “Black folks probably wouldn’t go to the theater to see this play in the U.S., let alone have enough money for the ticket. And here, we have a white audience. So, who are we really talking to here? Who is seeing this play?”…[Read more!]

Admiralbruecke in Kreuzberg

It’s easy (and admittedly amusing) to reduce expats to stereotypes, as if we all neatly fall into one or the other category based on which country we hail from, what we do for a living, or where we party and eat brunch. Reality is always more nuanced and multi-dimensional. Dare we even say, interesting?…[Read more!]

Dong Xuan Center Berlin, Vietnamese

Lichtenberg’s Dong Xuan Center consists of 6 hangars, stocked tightly with all the things one might come to miss living far away from a place, where a broth of cardamom and ginger is paired with any meat imaginable and the most delicate of noodles; where a certain kind of manufacturing can turn out plastic and fabric wares for all sizes and ages in bulk; where sweet things might come packaged in banana leaves, wrapped around sticky mango rice like presents. Or this is the impression one might get of Vietnam, when visiting Dong Xuan – a Mecca in the middle of former East Berlin, little Hanoi amidst not so little Plattenbauten…[Read more!]

swans

From Berlin’s “problem district” to more expensive than spießig Charlottenburg: Kreuzberg’s made quite the transformation over the decades, but migration continues to shape its identity and reputation as a district. The bulk of Kreuzberg’s diversity stems from the ’50s and ’60s, when guest workers were recruited by West Germany to fill labor shortages after World War II*. Kreuzberg’s dilapidated housing became home to guest workers, primarily from Turkey…[Read more!]

FreibeuterFilm_Macando_Berlinale

The festival of the golden bear invites the local to become a voyeur and thereby, to recall the headlines, the paroles, the debates, the sagas of the last year – to make meaning of images and thus to make sense of things, or, at least, to just make some sense. In the spirit of the critical viewer and in celebration of themes close to Berlin migration politics, I give you this rave of timely films and the 3 local contexts that make them and this Berlinale so special…[Read more!]

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