Cultural identities and language maintenance: Comparing Hispanic and Iranian communities in the US and in Germany
The Spring School is based on a scientific collaboration between the Department of Oriental Studies and the Sociolinguistic Lab of the University. Participants will gain experience through highly participatory projects at the interface between Diversity Studies and Sociolinguistics, be trained in and employ methods of linguistic fieldwork and will explore the lively art, media and museum culture Cologne has to offer in guided excursions. It will introduce International participants to the University of Cologne as an excellent research facility, to its advanced study programs and to its support structures for Non-European students.
The focus of this course is the question of how lived multiculturalism and identity constructions of persons with divergent immigrant backgrounds differ linguistically and culturally in everyday life, how they are perceived, and which reasons are relevant for the respective differences. The comparison of such disparate communities as persons with Iranian and Hispanic immigrant backgrounds is motivated in that, on the one hand, Hispanics are a very well researched immigrant group in the United States, whereas persons with Iranian backgrounds are a much smaller population. Thus, their minority character is more pronounced, and they are subject to greater pressure to assimilate into mainstream society.
In turn, examining linguistic practices and identity constructions of immigrant communities in two host countries (Germany/USA) provides insight into the divergent immigration contexts in both places and allows for discussions on the future development of multilingualism and heterogeneous cultural identities for generations to come.