GER 371 – Portfolio
At the end of the term, you will submit a portfolio, in which you will collect and analyze material that deals with a specific discourse in German culture (i.e. politics, religion, immigration, integration, etc.). Once you have chosen a discourse you would like to investigate, select three German cultural artifacts (i.e. books, films, paintings, photography, sculpture, architecture, etc.) from the last twentyfive years, a contemporary German cultural figure, and a cultural space in Germany. Analyze these artifacts, figures, and spaces in light of the cultural discourse you have chosen, and be sure to bring in insights and information from the course materials and course discussions covered throughout the term. While completing your portfolio, please keep the following in mind:
Contemporary Germany Integration
Germany is a multicultural country comprising following the immigration of Africans to Germany. Most of Africans immigrants were brought to Germany as household servants and later as soldiers during the world war. They later remained in the country and became part of the German population. Turkish started their immigration in Germany after the signing of recruitment agreement between the Republic of Turkey and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1961 (Kaya 1). This resulted to massive immigration of Turkish people into Germany making the Turkish rooted group and their offspring the second biggest ethnic group in the country after German emigrant ethnic group. The two group Africans and Turkish had their unique cultures which were quite different from German culture.
Turkish immigrant specifically experienced a number of challenges especially due to Germans negative attitude towards them, having migrated from an Islamic country to Christianity dominated country. When the recruitment stopped in 1973, majority of guest workers focused on family reunification bringing their children to Germany this continued to around 1977 when Germany declared that it was not an immigration land. There was further discouragement of integration and immigration in German society by introducing high cost of related steps (Kaya 2). Moreover, the non-Germany anti-integration politics were supported by most the country population. The integration of Turkish people in Germany became even harder in 1978 with rise of German population supporting politics demanding deportation of Turkish people in the country. This group continues to rise, reaching 68% in 1982. The question of Turkish in the country became a common theme in German politics in 1980s. The Christian Democratic Union newly elected government in 1982 passed a law offering Turkish primary workers who would volunteer to go back home financial benefits (Kaya 3).
Basically, Turkish experienced a lot of hostility from Germans after the end of the recruitment period. Germans had issues Turkish immigrants’ educational, religious, and cultural differences of Turkish. These aspects made them considered foreign and of lower value compared to low class German citizens. Turkish immigrant experienced a new height of racism after the fall of Berlin, with most of incidences being fueled by political discourses. Germany still seem to have fear of Turkish political dominance in their country in the future, especially with increase of the initially immigrant through birth. Some of these issues have made it hard to embrace integration of Turkish culture in Germany art. However despite the challenges, Turkish minorities have managed to introduce some their visual art productsa in the Germany art industry. In the 50th Turkish immigrant anniversary in 2011, there was a celebration to appreciate Turkish immigrant in the country and Turkish successful life stories in Germany. The celebration was characterized by arts, music and film festivals endeavored. The people success stories focused in fully integrated and globally acknowledged third- or second-generation people from Turkish-Germany population, for instance Mehmet Kurtulus an actor with Komissar Cem stage name, who is a significant character in Tatort, a TV series aired in the German Cult TV, and Mesut Ozil who is highly celebrated in sports (Kaya, 9). There were also celebrated popular politicians and entrepreneur who employ a huge number of Germany in their industry, for instance Vural Oger. The function displayed to the world the positive contribution of Turkish immigrant, first, second and third generation to the economy of the country by creating jobs especially to natives who are the majority in the Germany population. The Turkish immigrant industries are said to employ over 400000 Germanys in the country. These success stories demonstrated the role played by Turkish-Germans in unifying the country. Turkish immigrants also managed to create fascinating movies for instance Almanya Welcome to Germany created by Samyeli sisters who were born and brought up in Germany by their Turkish parents (Kaya 10).
Related: Jonestown Massacre
The integration in Germany has also been done by use of musing, especially rap music. Rap was initially introduced in Germany from US in 1980s. It thus had a lot of American hip hop culture which included using English language. However, it went though some changes to fir what was called Germany rap. The first change resulted to old school lap that focuses on themed messages of realness, community, activism and respect in 1980s. This was followed by new school rap in early 1990s. The rap focuses on party-style rap which was highly liked by middle class white. The rap in this era shifted to Germany language increasing the national pride following unification (Bower, 378). There was also production of oriental hip-hop which was kind of translation of Germany rap (Deutsch rap) to other multi-ethnic languages especially Turkish. This was followed by multi-ethnic rap by advanced chemistry crew, 1992 released an album where their minority German identity was asserted following unification and the subsequent xenophobia and nationalism waves in a series of attacks (Bower, 379). The album was formed by a group of multicultural young men who included an Italian, Ghanaian-German, and Haitian-German who were all German citizens and who were inspired and influenced by Afro-American groups courage. The crew expressed their anger toward discrimination and oppression courageously. The crew uniquely added German component to their protest, attracting attention to the consistent relation of Germaneness with skin color and ethnicity irrespective of reforms. This was followed by formation of brother keeper with some advanced chemistry members, an Afro-German rappers group established in 2000 and that played a great role in creating Germany antiracism initiatives. The group created songs that provided updated perceptions on the Afro-Germaneness state and minorities discrimination in the country. The raps were used to market identities of minorities in the country as authentic by telling convincing stories (Bower, 380).
After a long struggle, there was introduction of new citizenship law in January 2000. This made it easier for foreigners to gain citizenship in Germany. Immigrants were offered nationalization after ten years which was a reduction from the initial fifteen years. The rights to nationalization s were also offered to second immigrants’ generation schooled or born in Germany after living in the country for not less than eight years. The laws and requirements needed to relinquish original nationality were also relaxed. Immigrants who could prove German Ancestry were offered German nationality automatically with no condition (de Wit and Ruud, 55). These changes demonstrate success of unification struggle and integration of minorities in the German. Although more may need to be done in the integration and acceptance of minorities culture into the German success, for instance embracing Muslims forms of dressing in schools and public places, the current atmosphere demonstrate a positive step towards minorities integration and acceptance by German population .
Bower, Kathrin. “Minority identity as German identity in Conscious Rap and Gangsta Rap: Pushing the Margins, Redefining the Center.” German Studies Review, vol. 34, no.2, 2011, pp. 377-398.
De Wit, Duyvene T., and Ruud Koopmans. “The Integration of Ethnic Minorities into Political Culture: The Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain”. Acta Politics, vol. 40, 2005, pp. 50-73.
Kaya, Asiye. “Special Issue: The Fiftieth Anniversary of Migration from Turkey to Germany.” German Politics & Society, vol. 31, no.2, 2013, pp. 1-12.