The Wall Fell on our Head

Themed Days: Migrants and a re-united Germany

Sun, Feb 22, 2009
2.30 pm
Free admission

Phan Huy Thao, founder of the association of Rice Drum, Berlin, the ethnologist Damani Partridge, Center for African-American and African Studies, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor / USA) in discussion with political scientist Nevim Çil (Berlin).
Moderated by Mark Terkessidis, migration researcher and author, Berlin.

For many immigrants and their children in East and West Germany, the fall of the Wall and reunification had drastic consequences. The status of contract workers from Mozambique and Vietnam in the GDR and the "guest workers" in the West changed abruptly. But discussions around the political, social and economic impact of the fall of the Wall and reunification are seen to this day from a German- German perspective. The Panel poses questions about German unity from the perspective of migrants: how did they perceive unification? What has changed for immigrants and their children in the western and eastern part of the Republic? What are the similarities and differences between migrants in the East and West? Phan Huy Thao will report about the changes facing former Vietnamese contract workers to the present day. Damani Partridge asks what effect reunification had on how migrants are perceived in Germany. The migration researcher Nevím Çil gives an insight into the changing relationship between former Turkish workers and their children and German society.

"Migration not only means people fleeing, but it’s also a movement of spaces." In conjunction with the program "The Wall Fell on our Heads," Stefanie Bürkle presents an interdisciplinary art project entitled Placemaking.
More on

Events as part of the theme day "Migrants and a re-united Germany"
Wir bleiben hier - We Are Staying Here (film), Sun 22.2.,14 h, repeat: Thu 26.2. 21:30 h More...
Duvarlar - Walls (film) Sun 22.2.,16:00 h, repeat: Thu 26.2. 20:00 h More...
Brotherland is Broke (exhibition), 19.2.-1.3., daily 12:00 h More...
Are we the People, too? (sound installation), 19.2.-22.2., daily 12:00 h More...

The participants

Nevím Çil, Migration Researcher, Berlin, researches, teaches and publishes on migration and kinship relations. Her dissertation, "Topography of an Outsider: Turkish Generations and the German-German Reunification Process” was published in 2007. She is co-editor of “Insider-Outsider: Images, Ethnic Spaces and Participation in the Migration Process" (2005). Up to 2008, Çil was a research fellow at the Institute of European Ethnology at the Humboldt-University in Berlin. Her current project focuses on Turkish migrants in the European imaginary.

Damani Partridge, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Michigan, is professor of anthropology at the Center for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan, USA. In 1995, he traveled to Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship and from 1999 to 2000 he was a German Chancellor Fellow. His studies on German identity after the fall of the Wall were published in several essays including "Becoming Non-Citizens: Technologies of Exclusion Exclusionary Incorporation and after the Berlin Wall" (2003) and "We Were Dancing in the Club, Not on the Berlin Wall" (2008).

To the biography of Mark Terkessidis, Journalist, Berlin

Phan Huy Thao, Migration Consultant, Berlin, was born in Vietnam and in 1989 moved to Berlin, where he worked as a language facilitator for a group of Vietnamese contract workers of the VEB " VEB „Herrenbekleidung Fortschritt." From 1993 to 2003, while a student at the Catholic University of Berlin, he worked for Caritas Brandenburg as a social worker for Vietnamese immigrants. From 2003 to 2005, he worked as a family consultant. Since 2006, Phan Huy Thao is a migration consultant at Reistrommel e.V., Berlin.