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Global Seminar 2017

Xenophobia and Xenophilia in Germany

Identification through irrational fear of the foreign is currently on the rise in many parts of the world, including Germany. This course examines the psychology and social meanings of xenophobia and xenophilia, focusing on both the reproduction and the changing nature of its cultural-historical forms and functions.

Berlin, Germany: June 17 - July 29 

Application Deadline: February 13, 2017

About the Seminar

This seminar will examine xenophobia and xenophilia in Germany. Xenophobia, the unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange, has a panhuman, transhistorical character, while at the same time varying widely in intensity, timeliness, and forms of expression. Xenophilia — love or welcoming strangers –– often coexists with xenophilia in the same society or group. Identification through irrational fear of the foreign is currently on the rise in many parts of the world, manifested in anti-immigrant and religiously motivated national exclusionary movements, discrimination, political party competition, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, internal purging and even massacres. This course examines the psychology and social meanings of xenophobia and xenophilia, focusing on both the reproduction and the changing nature of its cultural-historical forms and functions. It will also introduce students to ethnographic methods by participating in various cultural encounters and observations with the foreign or strange outside the classroom.

The seminar will be held in Berlin, a vibrant city of several engaged generations with a long and complex history of xenophobia and xenophilia. Regular class meetings will be supplemented by field trips both within and around Berlin but also to the neighboring Czech and Slovak Republics. We will regularly invite Berliners of diverse identifications and ethnic origins to engage with us in the classroom. Students will also have opportunities to make their own contacts and begin their own related projects in the city.

We will focus on five questions:

  • What does xenophobia reveal about the specificity of contemporary forms of fear and solidarity with the perceived foreign or strange?
  • How can ethnographic methods be used to document xenophobia?
  • How is xenophobia informed by various origin stories, histories, and genealogies?
  • What social and legal mechanisms are efficacious in addressing the interaction with the foreign and in regulating the dissemination of anti-foreigner sentiment?
  • What can we learn from historical attempts to deal with xenophobia.

A class in conversational German is required during the course. 

Faculty Director

John Borneman is a professor of anthropology and currently the director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Anthropology. His research interests include secular ritual, law, intimacy, intersubjectivity, psychoanalysis, care, prosperity, Europeanization, Germany, Lebanon and Syria.

Seminar Manager

Tim Waldron can be reached at twaldron@princeton.edu or by calling 609-258-9400.

Distribution Requirements

The seminar fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and the departmental requirements for Anthropology (ANT).

Costs and Financial Aid

Program Fee: $3,400 (includes all housing, required course excursions, and related academic expenses). Additional instructional costs (books and materials, required immunizations) will vary, but students should budget up to $200 for these expenses. Roundtrip airfare and airport transportation is estimated at $1,600, meals at $1,000 and personal expenses at $1,000.

PIIRS provides generous funding to students admitted to the Global Seminars who receive term financial aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2016–17, specifically pages 1–2 and Table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 1; the balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

NB: Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

The Global Seminar in Berlin is generously funded by a grant from Santander Bank. PIIRS Global Seminars are made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.