Building Tomorrow: Diversity in Germany

Organized by professors Iris Bork-Goldfield and Thorsten Wilhelm, “Building Tomorrow: Diversity in Germany” is a series of cultural events sponsored by a grant from the German Embassy in Washington D.C., and the German Studies Department at Wesleyan University. Concerning discussions of race, religion and queerness, this series explores identity through a multifaceted framework. View the attached schedule for this Fall series special!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020: The Cake Maker

The Cake Maker portrays the story of Thomas, a young and talented German baker in Berlin who is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who dies in a car crash. Thomas travels to Israel seeking answers and start working for Anat, his lover’s widow, who owns a small café in Jerusalem.

This film, which according to the New York Times is “a master class of exquisite restraint,” subtly interlinks and questions borders and restrictions between identities, German-Jewish relations, orthodoxy, and queerness.

This film screening will be followed a week later by Dalia Grinfeld’s presentation on Jewish Identity and, in particular, on queer Jewish Identity in Germany.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020: Dalia Grinfeld

Dalia Grinfeld is the Assistant Director of European Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Based in Berlin, she manages ADL’s programs in Europe and supports European Jewish communities in their advocacy efforts. Earlier, she worked as a Policy Advisor for the Council Presidency of the European Union. She is actively involved in women’s rights and health issues, LGBTQI inclusion and innovative democracy. Her academic background is in Political Science and Jewish Studies, which she studied at the University of Heidelberg, Buenos Aires and Herzliya.

Thursday, October 15, 2020: German & Jews

This event features the screening of the documentary German & Jews (2016). The film will be introduced by its filmmakers, Janina Quint and Tal Recanati, who will also be answering questions after the screening. German and Jews portrays that:

“Today, Europe’s fastest growing Jewish population is in Berlin. (…) Through personal stories, Germans & Jews explores the country’s transformation from silence about the Holocaust to facing it head on. Unexpectedly, a nuanced story of reconciliation emerges. What began as a private conversation between the two filmmakers, who are friends — Tal Recanati (Jewish) and Janina Quint (non-Jewish German) — grew into a cultural exchange among many.” http://germansandjews.com/

Discussing these topics in the film and with the filmmakers themselves is very relevant in light of the rise of right-wing ideology and growing xenophobia in Germany, including the recent acknowledgment by top German officials that Germany’s security services are infiltrated by neo-Nazis. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/03/world/europe/germany-military-neo-nazis-ksk.html

Tuesday, November 10, 2020: At Second Glance

The fourth event is a screening of At Second Glance / Auf den Zeiten Blick (2012), the feature film debut by actress and film director Sheri Hagen, who will participate in a Q&A following the film.

The film tells the story about Kay and Falk, Benjamin and Elena, Till and Pan — three visually impaired Black and White couples who live and meet in Berlin. When they discover one another and feel attracted to each other, the situation becomes increasingly complicated. The film shows how these Afro-Germans and White Germans are both a minority, not because of the color of their skin, but because of their blindness.

In the U.S., we also talk about colorblindness in the context of racism. Racial colorblindness is a term used to describe the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony. However, white people closing their eyes to the experience of Black people does not eliminate racism but does exactly the opposite. At Second Glance, with its reframing of diversity for the audience, lets us discuss colorblindness in a broader context. https://maifeminism.com/sheri-hagen-in-conversation/

It is important to remember that all events will take place online. For more information, please contact ibork@wesleyan.edu.

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Wesleyan University Arts and Humanities Division

Welcome to Wesleyan University’s Arts and Humanities news! Covering a variety of disciplines, there’s something for everyone. Find what interests you!