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Berlin's Cultural Diversity Across Two Centuries

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Berlin's Cultural Diversity Across Two Centuries” is a five-week school teacher seminar to be held in Berlin for sixteen participants to study Germany's cosmopolitan society over the past two centuries. Co-project directors Robert Shandley (Professor of German and Film Studies, Texas A & M University) and Brent Peterson (Professor of German, Lawrence University) lead an examination of the complex chronological “narrative of migration both to and within Germany” as well as “the rich multicultural heritage of contemporary Germany.”  Observing that “both the traditional textbook treatment of German high culture and the tourist guide highlights of Germany . . . reinforce the image of German monoculturism,” and oversimplify “the long and complex history of German cultural diversity,” the directors focus on Berlin and its historical incorporation of French Huguenots, Polish Catholics, Eastern European Jews, “guest workers” from Turkey and Southern and Eastern Europe, and international asylum seekers.  The seminar includes texts by Adalbert von Chamisso, Rahel Varnhagen, Heinrich Heine, Amos Ören, Ermine Sevgi Özdamar, Renan Demirkan, and Wladimer Kaminer; films by Tefvik Baser (40 Square Meters of Germany) and Anno Saul (Kebab Connection); and television episodes by the ensemble “Kanak Attak” and from the series Turkish for Beginners.  It also draws on the resources of the German Historical Museum (DHM), the Jewish Museum in Berlin (JMB), and the Kreuzberg Museum and incorporates site visits to the city’s key neighborhoods, such as  “Little Istanbul,” and to nearby Potsdam.  Envisioned participants are teachers of German, world history, government, and civics—with intermediate proficiency in German.    

Dates: June 17–July 20 (5 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: Texas A & M University
Location: Berlin, Germany

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.