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Sultan Doughan, University of California, Berkeley, Anthropology

Commemorating the Past, Integrating in the Present? Citizenship and National Belonging in Contemporary Germany

Doughan's research focuses on German citizens -mostly of Jewish and Muslim background- in Berlin in order to understand how Holocaust education is deployed to create a sense of national belonging, teach tolerance, and facilitate integration as part of a larger national project to transform Muslims into liberal citizens. As part of her approach Doughan focuses on the interrelationality between German majority and Muslim and Jewish minorities in the intersectional field of historical-political education. Therefore, this project investigates to what extent Muslim and Jewish stances coincide with and differ from those prescribed by the historical-political education programs and what kind of a relationship it builds for them. It does so in order to gauge how Germans of various backgrounds today relate to their new nation's past, and what modes of relating to that past these programs make possible, or foreclose, for them. It seeks to understand how forms of citizenship and national belonging in Europe intersect with the genocidal history of Germany. In researching major educational sites of Holocaust education and grassroots-dialogue organizations, it will investigate the extent to which discourses on Muslim integration in Germany are entangled with German society's self-perception as a liberal post-Holocaust society. It will also elucidate how German Muslims, whose ‘true’ citizenship rests upon their adaptation, make sense of these dominant self-perceptions and what kind of a relationship is facilitated with German Jews.

Contemporary Germany and particularly Berlin is an important site to undertake a study of the practices surrounding historical memory, liberal democracy, Muslim and Jewish minorities, and political education for two reasons. On the one hand, it is the historical prime example of religious intolerance and minority persecution and this research will gain insights on the treatment of Muslim minorities, after the historical violence against European Jewry, within the political framework of liberal democracy. On the other hand, it will provide a perspective on how liberal citizenship and multiculturalism can be reconciled through history education in the German national context.