International Diversity Lecture 2018

     "Deconstructing Race: Understanding Human Diversity Beyond the U.S. Paradigm"

    In  this moment of a turn to identity politics in the United States, mitigating the detrimental impacts of ideologies and hierarchies predicated on the "idea of race" as a definitive marker of diversity is ever more important around the world. Based on a conceptual framework of "micro-cultures" drawn from analyses of extensive, ethnographic interviews of U.S. citizens. These interviewees and their families come from countries in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as those born in the U.S.  Utilizing this interview data in conjunction with relevant scholarship, I argue for a new approach to engaging diversity beyond the "color-bind" that current narratives of race are often trapped within. I further argue that the role of education is imperative to understanding the complexities and contradictions of how race and difference are enacted in societies and also critical for challenging and progressively changing these social constructions in the U.S. and internationally. 


    Jabari Mahiri is a Professor of Education and the inaugural holder of the Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching. Formerly the Faculty Director of the Multicultural Urban Secondary English MA and Credential Program, he is currently Faculty Director and Principal Investigator of the Bay Area Writing Project, and a board member of the National Writing Project. He also was a board member of the American Educational Research Association from 2014 to 2017 and board chair of REALM middle and high schools in Berkeley, California from 2011 to 2017. Before coming the UC Berkeley, he was a credentialed high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools for seven years. 

    Dr. Mahiri’s most recent of six academic books is "Deconstructing Race: Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind" (2017) that received the 2018 CRITICS CHOICE Award from the American Education Studies Association and also the 2018 PROSE Award for Educational Theory, "Honorable Mention." 

    He is editor of The First Year of Teaching: Classroom Research to Improve Student Learning (2014) and What They Don’t Learn in School: Literacy in the Lives of Urban Youth (2004). He has also published Digital Tools in Urban Schools: Mediating a Remix of Learning (2011); Out of Bounds: When Scholarship Athletes become Academic Scholars (2010); and, Shooting for Excellence: African American and Youth Culture in New Century Schools (1998). Additionally, he published a children’s book entitled The Day They Stole the Letter J. In 2017, Dr. Mahiri was guest editor for two special issues of Multicultural Education Review on the theme “Cyber-lives: Digital Media and Multicultural Education." 


Special Exhibition "Diversity in children's books"

Special Exhibition "Diversity in children's books"

Once upon a time there was a family of picture books: father, mother and two children. In their house they lived happily ever after. 
And the moral of the story? Children's books shape our ideas of family. They generate certain family and role models that are learned from childhood and become a matter of course. When children's books only talk about traditional families, they exclude the many forms of family that are currently living in our society: families in Germany also live in blocks and apartment buildings, others have more than one home or are on the run because of forced migration. Children live with single parents or their grandparents, in rainbow families, patchwork families, adoption families, and families that often speak multiple languages. 
In all these different families, there are children who love stories read to them and children who read books with enthusiasm. So why shouldn't they and her families also be a part of these stories? The exhibition "Diversity in children's books" wants to make a contribution to this idea and fill a gap. It deliberately focuses on the diverse family life and childhood experiences. Visitors will find a variety of children's books:

  • The books allow all children to identify with the protagonists.
  • They pick up the different experiences of the young readers.
  • The books turn stereotypes upside down and in question.
  • They address exclusion, make discrimination visible and offer solutions.
  • The books create new ways to overcome boundaries.
  • Their stories are about children and families who are often overlooked and overheard.

The exhibition was designed by Professor Viola B.Georgi, Agata Wozniesinska, Janina Vernal Schmidt and students of the University of Hildesheim. It is aimed at children as well as at parents, guardians, educators and teachers.
For the exhibition, the students Tobias Kreft, Lea Hafermann, Jubytra Enzmann, Ellen Wozniak, Linda Schönrock, Nehle Kaack, Tobias Burmeister, Christin Eißing and Nele Schulz set three main topics: 

1. Gender and Sexual Diversity 

Sensitive, witty and relaxed - that's how the selected children's books deal with the sexual diversity of human beings. The books portray diverse family forms as well as different identity designs as a matter of course. The starting point is the children's questions: "What is homosexual?" "Can gays and lesbians have children?"" Are there any queer animals?" 

2. Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism  

Multilingual books allow children to playfully and appreciatively engage with the languages they speak and that surround them. This also includes language learning for families who have migrated or fled and who are living now in Germany. Thus, stories were selected that succeed in representing experiences of forced migration, the loss of family, friends and the environment, in a child-friendly and compassionate way.

3. Empowerment 
Power means strength and ability. That's why empowering children's books are especially aimed at those children who experience discrimination. They want to strengthen the self-esteem and self-determination of their young readers. Children need books in which their diverse families are reflected and they see themselves as equal and valuable.


Read the article about the opening of the Schulmuseum Hildesheim and the special exhibition "Diversity in children's books" on November 15.

Go to the homepage and learn more about the Schulmuseum Hildesheim. 

Inaugural Meeting Re-Imagining Migration

Re-Imagining Migration

Re-Imagining Migration was founded in 2017 by UCLA Professor of Education Carola Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, and Adam Strom, former director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves

From Aug. 12-14 an inaugural catalyst meeting was convened at UCLA. The participants were selected by Re-Imagining Migration as diverse and interdisciplinary representatives from The Smithsonian Institution, The Angel Island Immigration Station, The Tenement Museum, The New York Hall of Science, Confianza, Facing History and Ourselves, and The National Gallery of Art, as well as international scholars from throughout UCLA, Harvard, Germany and India. 

The meeting focused on finding working solutions for teaching and learning about migration through interdisciplinary methods within the arts, humanities, science, reading, and mathematics. An innovative teaching tool, the Moving Stories app, will provide educators with a means to use the power of narrative to teach about the human aspects of migration. 

Read the article about Re-Imagining Migration and the inaugural meeting.

Go to the homepage of Re-Imagining Migration.

Conference 2018: Sport as a Home?

Conference “Sport as a Home?” (29th - 30th june 2018)

"The home of the future is patchwork and not privilege" (Schneider, 2017). In many biographies, a central component of the referred patchwork is sport, regarded as an important socializing entity and value provider. Sport can enable affiliation and participation. It can help to make people feel at home. Can sport possibly also house humans by meeting the basic needs for spatial orientation, belonging and constitution of group identity?

The changing concept of home (‘Heimat’) offered starting points for such considerations during the annual conference of the ZBI, which was held in cooperation with the Institute of Sport Science. The debates served to sharpen the concept, critically question it and possibly reject it.

The conference provided an opportunity to discuss in a critical and constructive manner such thoughts in the light of sports discourses and intervention practices. After all, sport itself is undergoing processes of change. Sports affiliations are no longer permanent in nature; rather, individuals move in the field of tension of individualization, communication and socialization. They navigate in the context of their experiences and in the social frameworks which are also shaped by sport.

At the conference, the subject perspective as a central access to life experiences and the fundament of biographical navigation processes as well as the social frameworks in which experiences take place were discussed.


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Histories in Motion. Remembrance Practices, Cultures of History and Historical Learning in German Migration Society

Histories in Motion. Remembrance Practices, Cultures of History and Historical Learning in German Migration Society (04th -05th june 2018)

On the 4th and 5th of June 2018 the kick-off workshop of the joint project "Histories in Motion" took place. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The University of Hildesheim with Prof. Dr. Viola Georgi, the Free University Berlin with Prof. Dr. Martin Lücke, the Georg Eckert Institute Leibniz Institute for International Textbook Research with Prof. Dr. Riem Spielhaus and the University of Paderborn with Prof. Dr. Johannes Meyer-Hamme are involved. In cooperation with the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility Future”, the “Federal Agency for Civic Education” as well as museums, memorial sights, institutes of teacher training, professionals in non-formal historical education and textbook publishers develop approaches to history learning in migration societies within the next three years.

At the this first workshop, different practitioners came together to discuss current challenges and topics of a changing history culture. The participants were history teachers from various federal states, representatives of the regional institutes of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Berlin and Lower Saxony, representatives of the educational departments of various museums and memorials, actors of various NGOs and extracurricular education projects as well as authors of school textbooks. Four lectures provided thematic insights on current topics of dealing with history in Germany, the USA and Europe. Prof. Dr. Claudia Lenz from the Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo and Adam Strom, director of Re-Imagining Migration at UCLA in Los Angeles, discussed questions about history learning and culture of remembrance in the US and Europe.

Joshua Kwesi Aikins from the University of Kassel gave a speech on post- and de-colonial perspectives on history and memory in public space. Prof. Dr. Astrid Messerschmidt, from the University of Wuppertal, negotiated self-critical remembrance and visualization of Nazi crimes in migration societies. In workshops, the participants talked to each other and discussed the needs of historical learning in their respective professional fields. The outcomes of the joint discussions will be included in the ongoing research of the project and will feed directly into the empirical survey. The next workshop will take place on June 13-14, 2019 at the University of Paderborn.  

Exchange program: Diversity in the Classroom and in Schools: Comparative Perspectives on Sweden and Germany

Exchange Program: Diversity in the Classroom and in Schools: Comparative Perspectives on Sweden and Germany (22nd - 26th may 2018)

Students from the University of Hildesheim and the Uppsala University (Sweden) met during an exchange week in an exchange program on diversity in classroom and school: Comparative Perspectives on Sweden and Germany. The program (see attachment) consisted of internships in schools, workshops and lectures on topics of diversity, migration and inclusion as well as intensive text work. The following eight students from Germany took part in the exchange program between Hildesheim and Uppsala: Tomma Schuff, Tobias Burmeister, Stine Hansen, Romy Kaufmann, Randi Adler, Adrian Kasemi, Tabea Schykoriak and Finja Pröve. Six students from the University of Uppsala were part of the program: David Zettermann, Benoit Geers, Miranda de Verdier, Stina Pihl, Sonya Pavlova and Stina Jansson.


The seminar began with the arrival of Swedish students in Hildesheim. The students from Uppsala were warmly welcomed by the students of the University of Hildesheim and immediately entangled in very well prepared intercultural games to get to know each other. Then, we went on a several-hour city tour which should take into account the peculiarities and diversity of Hildesheim. The students showed their guests important personal and extraordinary places and linked them with the corresponding stories. In the seminar, the connection between urban spaces and the feeling of belonging was theoretically deepened and further developed. This included exploring one's own social, religious and cultural belongings as part of a diversity exercise with subsequent reflection on unevenly distributed participation opportunities, as well as a workshop by Dr. Ing. Lanette Jimerson (UC Berkeley). Lectures on "Migration and Education", the German educational system and the discussion of common reading contributed to further deepening.


Insights into the school practice in Germany was granted by the internship during an English lesson at the Oskar-Schindler School in Hildesheim.


In Sweden, the Swedish students took their guests from Hildesheim on a tour through Uppsala. The seminar day consisted of several lectures and group work on selected texts from the field of Diversity Education. Topics discussed were: the Swedish educational system, approaches to intercultural education and recent findings from migration research, particularly with regard to the integration of children and adolescents from refugee families into schools. Here, decidedly comparative perspectives were worked out. For practice reflection, a high school in Uppsala was visited, in which young people with a refugee background attend lesson. The students seized the opportunity to talk to the teachers and the students. Lastly, there was the opportunity to participate in a city tour "Multicultural Stockholm". German students participated primarily in this tour.


The comparative discussions between the two countries about their educational systems as well as integration policy and educational policy challenges revealed many parallels, but also differences. The students engaged in intensive discussions and were also able to negotiate complex issues in English. The question of the selectivity and inclusivity of both school systems lead to a particularly controversial discussion. With regard to the integration of refugee children, they talked about school models, language offers and best-practice approaches in both countries. The students also debated on the current socio-political climate in Sweden, Germany and Europe.


The consistently positive feedback from both groups at the end of the program motivates to a repetition of the program. The Dean of the Faculty of Education in Uppsala has already granted funding for next year. The participating teachers also rated the program as a success.

fair@school: Three schools honored as role models for tolerance, fairness and diversity

fair@school: Three schools honored as role models for tolerance, fairness and diversity

Diversity, inclusion and respectful interaction with one another - these are the values the nationwide ‘fair @ school’ competition wants to establish and promote in schools. This year, the festive award ceremony took place in Berlin. For the second time, the Cornelsen Verlag and the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency are awarding three exemplary projects that stand up against discrimination and fight for equal opportunities in everyday school life.

More than 50 dedicated schools submitted projects that show how tolerance, interculturality and inclusion can become an integral part of everyday school life. They should be able to change the teaching and learning culture of children and adolescents, be sustainable and also be used in other schools. The Center for Educational Integration (ZBI) of the University of Hildesheim reviewed the submitted projects. Subsequently, a jury of experts selected the winners.

The winning teams 2018 are:

1st place (3,000 euros): The vocational school ‘Social Assistance Berlin’ won the competition with the project "Intercultural Learning", which since 2010 is part of the curriculum at the vocational school. In intercultural learning projects and on project days, teachers pick up topics such as prejudice, discrimination and racism and, together with the students, plan exhibitions, lectures and discussions.


2nd place (2,000 euros): The Comenius-Gymnasium Deggendorf won the second place with the project "Anti-discrimination trainers at the Comenius". Since 2014, 30 schoolchildren have been trained as anti-discrimination trainers each year.


3rd place (1,000 euros): The Sophie-Scholl comprehensive school Hamm received the third prize. The inclusion class 6f developed in their project "Nice that we are colorful - Diversity as enrichment" a scenic game in which inclusion is conveyed as desirable coexistence.


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