Temple University Logo

Berlin, Germany

Special Topics: Europe, Migration, Refugees

Global Temple Conference

Course Number: 
Political Science
Semester(s) Offered: 
Summer 2022
Credit Hours: 

Topics vary from semester to semester. Please check with the faculty advisor for a course description and topic.

Why take this course in Berlin?

Regarding transnational migration, the EU promotes a political reasoning between processes of consolidation and necessary conflict, between sovereignty and shared responsibility, between the right to define and delimit and the duty to negotiate. In ongoing economic crisis and facing unprecedented movements of people, the timeless normalcy of migration is often framed as crisis per se.

As the visibility of migration increases in various ways, migrants are often represented and imagined as a homogenous mass of ‘the other’. This leads to a problematic understanding of migration as something to be controlled and governed from a top-down perspective alone. But the respective processes of negotiation on migration policy, within and across the outer borders of the Union, take place not only between the official institutions of nation-states, but on all scales of European populations. They also take place from a bottom-up perspective in the centers and at the margins of societies alike.

Departing from diverse theories of migration, we will gain an overview of EU-level migration polity and recent migration- and border-management policies. We will analyze the conflicts, debates and discourses around the last years of increased immigration.

Scaling down, we will engage with the local authorities’ perspective in Berlin. Diving deeper down we will start to change perspective: How do local activists develop and implement their own ways of welcoming migrants? Is there a rising anti-Muslim racism in Europe? How can we think on recent migrations taking gender and sexuality into consideration? Where do migrants work and how are they represented in trade unions? Finally, focusing on the history of migrant struggles in Berlin, we will encounter migrants’ viewpoints, which reach beyond the usual framings of ‘the poor migrant’ as ‘passive victim’, as a threat or as the ‘(anti-)hero’ of globalization. We will encounter viewpoints on the conflicts, compromises, resistances, solidarity and social transformation shaping and shaped by recent migration movement to Europe.

Instructor: Duygu Gürsel

Duygu Gürsel holds a Master's degree in "German Turkish Masters Program in Social Sciences" from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Middle East Technical University. She is currently completing her dissertation at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Sociology.  In her dissertation, she focuses on the transformation of the figure of migrant labor from factory worker into self-employed in West-Berlin. Her areas of interest include migration and labor, as well as their intersection with gender and urban space. She has worked as a lecturer at the department of Social Conflict and Diversity of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, at the Department of Social Work and the Department of Care Management of Evangelische Hochschule Berlin.


Special Notes: 

Repeatability: This course may be repeated for additional credit.


No prior knowledge is required but the willingness to think beyond the usual framings on migration.