On April 2, a group of Colgate students and professors took part in the second interdisciplinary Spring Semester Symposium about “Narratives of Displacement” which has been organized by the German Area Studies Program of Hobart & William Smith Colleges in the spirit of academic collaboration among the colleges of the NYS Liberal Arts Consortium and Cornell University.
Following up on our previous Brown Bag “Heimat after Belonging – Engaging with Narratives of Displacement” with guest speaker Emina Mušanović, the Symposium initiated an even deeper immersion into contemporary topics like home and belonging with a special focus on forced migration. In a workshop, students read works of famous writer Warsan Shire, connecting literary reflections with the bigger contemporary context of the refugee crisis. The intercultural exchange between the students enabled a lively discussion and offered new insights on the culturally different perceptions of and experiences with the concept of what it “being a refugee” actually means.
After luncheon, Olivia Landry portrayed her view on Germany’s current situation in her speech “Humanitarian(ism in) Crisis: Germany’s “Willkommenskultur” and its Backlash” with both, concern and cautious optimism. The ensuing Q&A circulated around her shared experiences with refugees’ rights movements in Germany and general discussions about possible future developments. Students from the Hobart & William Smith College provided further information about gender issues or population shares in connection with refugees.
The Symposium was a fantastic opportunity for students, faculty and members of the community to broaden their perspectives on a critical issue of our days. The Department is looking forward to expanding the discourse in this and other areas of German studies, nurturing an even deeper exchange between institutions and cultures.