‘We called for workers but people came’: Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States
November 15-17 2012, University of Houston - Victoria
Even though the histories of Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States are very different and complex, there is so much about these “communities” and their experiences that is worth discussing. Muslims in Europe and Mexican-Americans in the U.S. are both portrayed as the fastest growing minority group. One group is seen through the filter of religion while the other is viewed through national background and language. Both have undergone processes of identity formation that involved intense internal and public debates about identity, belonging, representation, and migration. But they also pose crucial questions to their surrounding societies that are facing a growing plurality in terms of ethnicity, language and religion.
This conference is interested in exploring not so much how similar these communities as such are, but to also take a closer look at how these communities are portrayed in the media and in the world of politics, where for the most part, they are seen as problematic if not a threat to national security and identity. The participants of the conference will explore what effect this portrayal has on identity politics and community development. Even though scholars have explored parallels in both the situation and perception of Muslims in Europe/Germany with Mexicans in the US, this work has not yet been followed up by a substantial attempt to systematically contrast the two experi¬ences. Hence, this conference will involve a mix of participants from academia and the arts to examine these com¬munities’ stories in context. The aim here is to create an understanding about the global relevance that individual experiences of migration, globalization and discrimina¬tion might have.