Migration, dialogue, integration

As an effect of migration, urban spaces throughout Europe are increasingly characterised by a mixture of different religions and world views. But that does not automatically make them into spaces of inter-religious encounter. For five metropolitan regions – Oslo, Stockholm, London, Hamburg and Rhein-Ruhr – a study is now being conducted on dialogical practice: “Religion and Dialogue in the City. Case Studies on Interreligious Encounter in Urban Community and Education” (Prof. Thorsten Knauth, Protestant Theology). The cooperating partners are the Universities of Roehampton (GB), Hamburg, and Bergen (N).

Avantgarde art is known for its high degree of self-reflection, which in textual works between migration and belonging can produce a tension that is expressed through language. The “Migration and Avantgarde. Paris 1917–1962” section (XXXV. Romanistentag Zürich, 2017, head of section: Prof. Stephanie Bung, Romance Studies, with Prof. Susanne Zepp-Zwirner, FU Berlin) looked in this context at the literary history of the city from the October Revolution to the end of the Algerian War.

The international journal “metaphorik.de”, which is published at the UDE (co-editor Prof. Dietmar Osthus, Romance Studies), is an interdisciplinary forum for scholarly discussion on metaphor and metonymy. The journal is published on widely ranging topics and in special issues on a specific theme. Metaphor and Migration I (2018) is one such special issue, which was dedicated to the metaphorical framing of international debates on migration. Published in German, English and Italian, the research focuses on the role of language in the construction and deconstruction of publicly effective concepts (Volume II will be published in 2019).

In 2018, our Faculty held an interdisciplinary conference on “Identity through language in contemporary migratory contexts” (organisation: Dr. Julia Lange, Ines Kremer M.A., Romance Studies). A distinctive feature of all the talks and presentations was the cooperation between applied linguistics, cultural and literary studies research. The event also incorporated all the philological institutes at the UDE.

Integration is a necessity when it comes to immigration. In Germany, people whose native language is not German can only participate successfully in education if they are familiar with German in its everyday usage. Yet German as a second/foreign language textbooks are still based on the standards of the written language and constructions that deviate significantly from how it is spoken. The project “Platform for spoken German – authentic everyday interactions for research and practice in German as a foreign/second language teaching” (Dr. Beate Weidner with Prof. Susanne Günthner, Münster) is developing an internet platform that offers a comprehensive database of authentic conversations between native German speakers plus material for German as a foreign/second language teaching (funding: Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research, MIWF).