ACTFL Meeting in San Diego Session Report by Marion Gehlker
“Neuer Blick, neue Stimmen: Interkulturelles Leben und Wirken in Berlin” (New Visions, New Voices: Intercultural Living in Berlin”)
This panel was a report on the AATG Alle lemen Deutsch (Everybody Learns German) 2009 summer seminar on diversity in Berlin. The concept of the seminar was introduced by the chair of the special AATG group, and then further explicated by Ingrid Zeller from Northwestern University. I attended the panel in order to get information for our own summer classes in Berlin as well as our regular classes in New Haven, where diversity in Germany plays a role in all levels. I was very impressed with Ingrid’s excellent Power Point presentation of the seminar. In addition, she handed out a questionnaire/quiz on Berlin (including answer key), which she generously shared with the audience. This may be very useful for our own class.
The two-week seminar seeks to further understanding and appreciation of the breadth of diversity found in Germany today. Participants met with representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations and conducted research on their own. The 2009 participants focused on Turks in Kreuzberg, Jewish Berlin in Mitte, and the Afro-German community in Wedding. The latter topic was of particular interest to me since it is rarely discussed in German classes. Most fascinating were references to a film about Black Holocaust survivors and Germany’s colonial history — as it was reflected in the street names in Wedding where the participants lived.
“Ecocriticism in Contemporary German Culture.”
Margaret McCarthy from Davidson College gave an inspiring Power Point presentation on Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s “Unser tiiglich Brot” (“Our Daily Bread”), a documentary about industrial food production and high-tech farming, which I would like to use in my advanced German class in the spring semester as part of a unit on “Ecology and Economy.” It became clear that with the help of analytical (film)vocabulary the documentary can be taken on a higher level.