Sultan Doughan

Fall 2014

This research focuses on German Muslims -mostly of Turkish and Palestinian descent- in Berlin in order to understand how Holocaust education is deployed in order to create a sense of national belonging, teach tolerance, and facilitate integration as part of a larger national project to transform Muslims into liberal citizens. This project investigates to what extent Muslims’ stances coincide with and differ from those prescribed by Holocaust education programs and in what sense. It does so in order to gauge how Muslim-Germans today relate to their new nation's past, and what modes of relating to that past these programs make possible, or foreclose, for them.  It seeks to understand how forms of citizenship and national belonging in Europe intersect with the genocidal history of Germany. In researching major educational sites of Holocaust education, it will investigate the extent to which discourses on Muslim integration in Germany are entangled with Germany’s perception of itself as a liberal post-Holocaust society. It will also elucidate how Muslim-Germans, whose ‘true’ citizenship rests upon their adaptation, make sense of these dominant self-perceptions. 

Contemporary Germany is a particularly important site to undertake a study of the practices surrounding historical memory, liberal democracy, Muslim minorities, and political education for two reasons. On the one hand, it is the historical prime example of religious intolerance and minority persecution and this research will gain insights on the treatment of Muslim minorities, after the historical violence against European Jewry, within the political framework of liberal democracy.  On the other hand, it will provide a perspective on how liberal citizenship and multiculturalism can be reconciled through history education in the German national context.