Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26th Daily Diary

On Monday I took a LOT more pictures than the day before. So here we go!

We all woke up to a somewhat rainy Monday morning for some breakfast and last-minute reading before taking the trains to Humboldt University. At 10 am, we attended Dr. Viola Georgi’s Lecture on History Learning, Memory, and Migration. She talked about how the way history is typically taught around the world doesn’t account for alternative narratives, and we discussed how history teaching methods and curriculums should be changing in this era of migration so that students with diverse identities can connect to history. I think this lecture connected really well with the themes of our course; it especially drew my mind back to our Age of Migration readings and the discussion on the formation of transnational communities. It seems that, while transnational communities are forming, educators are struggling to accommodate for the diverse and complex communities in which they are teaching. I think many of us initially focused on the issues of differences in language in a transnational community and how that might cause some practical challenges, but Dr. Georgi’s lecture emphasized how challenging it is to cross the historical barrier as well.
After the lecture, we split up and planned to reconvene at 2 pm (except for Catherine, Laurette, Ally and Katie, who each went to their community placements). Some people went back to Die Fabrik, others went in search of “The Cheap Pasta Place”, and Clayton, Zosia, Katie and I went to take photos as the Brandenburg Gates. We took a LOT of photos.

After grabbing some lunch back in Kreuzberg, Zosia and Clayton led all of us to the Youth Museum in Schöneberg.

The museum is in a beautiful villa, in a neighborhood that our guides Heinz and Clara explained was, historically, quite wealthy. Which might explain the golden deer fountain…
It has been interesting to see how the nearly ancient history of this city is still impacting the demographic formation of the city today. Even after hundreds of years, Schöneberg is still a relatively wealthier neighborhood, even as it acquired more diversity in its demographics. I wonder if this pattern can still be seen in all cities, because it can certainly still be seen in Seattle with residential areas of the city that were segregated by race. This segregation was enforced by city policy until 1968, just a few weeks after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, but the history has seemingly left its mark. (Maps complied by a project through the UW show the distribution of different racial communities over time, and Seattle is still dominated by white people). So, we must ask the question: must the demographic history of a neighborhood heavily impact its future community?

The museum had rooms that were created by people who live in the community. Each room has artifacts and quotes that create a picture of the person’s life, and children that come to the museum act as reporters, collecting details from the room to figure out who this person is and what their life is like. Personally, I really enjoyed exploring the rooms made by people of seemingly contrasting identities; for example, some rooms were made by people whose families celebrated both Christian and Muslim holidays. It reminded me of an article we read in the seminar about an author with a “migrational background” who writes in German when people expect her to only write about her experience of migration; your family history, race, and language are a significant portion of identity, but they don’t have to dictate everything you do in life, or everyone you spend time with. The museum was really unique, and I think the group as a whole really enjoyed it, despite the fact that the target audience is much younger than us. It was also really cool to see Zosia and Clayton talking about their experiences working with the Youth Museum as their community partner, and it felt like we had more of an insider’s scoop on the museum thanks to their perspectives and experience working with the museum during the day.

After the museum, we all went our separate ways for the evening, so that’s about it for Monday! Thanks for reading!

P.S. Shout out to the group of people who crossed the busy street to get from the museum to the supermarket and successfully avoided getting hit by cars. GO TEAM! 

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