Moralpolitik and the Ressentiments of Change

According to headlines, the German government has pledged haven – albeit temporary in many cases – to up to 800,000 refugees or migrants applying for asylum in the country. The U.S., despite initial wavering, has signaled that it will work to raise its refugee quota yearly, with the goal of a 100,000 cap by 2017. Yet within and around this historical moment of humanitarian crisis and measured political response are the inflammatory words of Donald Trump. He recently roared to a crowd in Iowa that, if elected, he “will deport all of the 11 million illegal migrants in this country.” [Read More!]

Interview: “I’m a Human Being”

Vienna. Seat of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Widely considered the gateway to Eastern Europe. Home to a United Nations headquarters and numerous international companies and universities. The Austrian capital has long been a city of immigration – even when politics have told a different story – and a staggering 50% of the population has what’s referred to as a “migration background”. So it’s not as if I expected Vienna to not be multicultural... [Read More!]

Review: Berlin needs you (but why?)

Why is immigration important? The debate takes many angles. There's the demographic argument, that developed countries with low birth rates and aging populations need bodies to maintain the replacement rate. There's the globalization take, that the movement of people in all forms is increasingly inevitable and contributes to global competitiveness and 21st century skills. The moral or even religious spin, emphasizing human dignity, charity, an obligation for prosperous nations to help those more needy. But few arguments are as pervasive as the economic one... [Read More!]

The Collidoscope Manifesto

A couple months ago, Collidoscope Berlin was invited to write its first guest post for the Global Citizens Initiative - an organization that aims “to build a network of people who see themselves as global citizens and want to build a better world”. Part of the task was to connect what we do here to the significance of borders. “Borders?”, we wondered, unsure how to proceed but mostly questioning why we had never concretely addressed the topic before... [Read More!]

Beyond Berlin: Difference in the Wet Country

For nearly a month this holiday season, I explored the social fabric surrounding my US origins with a German national, who had never before been to the land of plenty. Through the fresh eyes of 'the foreigner', I saw my part of America unfold under a curious and critical lens. America is a country that defines itself by historical narratives of migration and manifest destiny. What one encounters on the road in its northwestern corner, however, is a bit more mundane. At closer glance, emptiness and the prosaic everyday give food for thought, in regards to locating and valuing difference wherever it bubbles up... [Read More!]

Lens: With Wings, Roots, and Sweaty Hands

"Punctual. Exact. Productive. Closed off. Careful. Inflexible. Humorless." And some "Goethe" and "Einstein" thrown in for good measure. Was this really all a group of seemingly well-educated professionals had to say about German identity? No wonder the facilitator had started to draw sad faces on the list... [Read More!]

Multiculturalism, Diversity, and the Big City

With my back to them at the street-side café I felt like a judge on "The Voice", straining my neck for any hint of where they were from or what they looked like, resisting the urge to swirl around and start dancing on my chair. Truth be told my ears had perked up as soon as the trio plopped down at the table behind me, switching between topics like gentrification in Kreuzberg and the cultural difference between Kaffee and "coffee" as quickly as they were switching between German and English... [Read More!]

Reviewing the Rave: “We are the We”

We're so used to talking all the time that words tend to lose their effect. Especially when the talking is predominantly happening in one direction, as it so often does in immigration discourse. The Migrantas organization is unleashing an alternate voice within immigrant women in Germany that is arguably just as powerful: their artistic creativity... [Read More!]

Happy Weekend: Toi, Toi, Toi, Thai Park

During the summer I'm here almost every weekend, inhaling shrimp summer rolls slathered in peanut sauce, papaya salad speckled with red chili, and iced coffee swimming in globs of cloyingly sweet condensed milk. I may meander the colorful rows for food, but my coffee always comes from the same umbrella: Kaffee Oma's... [Read More!]
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