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Berlin, Germany

Special Topics:Europe, Migration, Refugees

Global Temple Conference

Course Number: 
Political Science
Semester(s) Offered: 
Summer 2019
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?

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 analyse 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 policies of welcoming migrants? What are the aims of and how do legal assessment organizations for migrants work? In an encounter with refugees in Berlin, we will see how refugees themselves perceive EU-migration policies and what they make themselves of their public positioning as a ‘problem’ or as a ‘burden’ to European societies. Finally, focusing on the legalization-market of Almería/Spain, 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 EU, which will constructively criticize as well as graciously affirm the spirit of the Union. We will encounter viewpoints of hope. No prior knowledge is required – but the willingness to think beyond the usual framings on migration.


In 2017 Dr. Hoffmann completed his doctoral degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). As an ethnographer, he did extensive fieldwork on illegalized worker-communities in the agro-industrial region of Almería/Spain, where he focused on the agency of migrants on the legalization market. He held a research position at Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) and regularly teaches critical migration research. At the present time, he is in preparation of his post-doc project on the anthropology of political agency between strategy, tactic and ideology.

Special Notes: 

Repeatability: This course may be repeated for additional credit.