Transatlantic Conversation

‘We called for workers but people came’:
Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States
November 15-17, 2012


Thursday – 11/15/2012


Keynote: A Conversation about Shifting Demographics in Germany and U.S.
Czarina Wilpert, Technical University Berlin, Germany

Comparing or Contrasting? Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the US
Ana Gonzales PEW Research Centre, Washington D.C. (via Skype)

This session aims to provide the broader context and background knowledge on migration and populations, differences and similarities. It also addresses the question: In what way are ethnicity, religion, and categorization connected?

Friday – 11/16/2012

9 a.m.  

Media and Literature: Denying or providing space for self-representation?
Speakers:    Diana Lopez, University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria, Texas, U.S.
                   Rene Perez, University of Houston-Victoria, Texas U.S.

11 a.m.

 Speakers:  Kübra Gümüsay, Freelance journalist and blogger, Hamburg, Germany/Oxford, UK
                  Macarena Hernandez University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria, Texas
                  Nelly Rosario, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, U.S.

Art, literature and media are potential spaces for minorities to present themselves as well as for ascriptions and the spread of stereotypes. The development of minority media and their support of parallel societies has been a concern in political debates. What are the positive what are the negative effects of emerging minority voices? How are Muslims and Mexicans represented by media, literature and art?

1.30 p.m.

Comparing or Contrasting? Citizenship and Participation
Speakers:  Delancey Gustin, Policy Analyst Office of Citizenship at the U.S. Citizenship and
                 Immigration Services, Washington, US
                 Czarina Wilpert, Technical University Berlin, Germany

This session takes a look at the history of citizenship laws in Germany and the United States with special reference to Muslim and Mexican immigrants

3.30 p.m.

Religion, community, ascription
Speakers:  Riem Spielhaus (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany)
                 Sven Speer (Forum Open Religious Policy, Berlin, Germany)

This session aims to shed light on questions of identity, on attitudes of Mexican Americans as well as of Muslims and on how they are perceived by US-American and European environment.

4 p.m.  


6 p.m. 

Community Reading – Open to the Public:

A Reading and Conversations with Nelly Rosario & Kübra Gümüsay

Q&A to follow

Saturday – 11/17/2012

9.30 a.m.

What are the answers from civil society?
Speakers:  Eric Ellman, Executive Director of the Big River Foundation, Laredo, Texas

Civil society provides spaces for the negotiation of belonging and exclusion in society. This panel presents a specific civic initiative. The Big River Foundation is dedicated to making use of the Rio Grande, the river that divides Mexico from the United States. It is the starting point to discuss options for individuals and communities to respond to exclusivist narratives, discrimination and violence that can divide society on the local and national level.

11.30 a.m.

Sharing this Conversation with a Larger Audience: Teaching stories of Mexican-Americans and Muslim Germans

Speakers:  Isela Peña, Thalia Longoria, Nellie Ugarte (Educators from El Paso, Texas)

How can this comparison be made fruitful for the classroom? This session targets the question of how to engage teachers and students into this conversation. It also gives room to reflect on the performance of Mexican-American and Muslim children in the two countries' education systems. The three key speakers are educators in El Paso, the largest U.S.-city on the Mexican border.