Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Beverly M. Weber

Second Advisor

Henry Pickford

Third Advisor

Patrick Greaney

Abstract

Since the implementation of the Guest Worker Program in the 1950s, Germany has struggled to accept that Turkish immigrants, along with subsequent generations, constitute a large part of its society. Thilo Sarrazin's book, Deutschland schafft sich ab, which has been at the center of public discourse in Germany since its publication in 2010, has exacerbated the debates surrounding the status of ethnic minorities in German society. His strong negative opinions of Islam and Muslims living in Germany have influenced the direction of religious discourse, within the context of racial and multicultural discourses. In determining Germany's own national culture it is important to understand not only how ethnic minorities fit into this culture, but also how Germans understand religion and secularism in the context of Germany's culture. The relationship between race, religion and culture in Germany can best be understood by deciphering the focus on religion as a negative aspect contributing to multiculturalism and integration. In order to grasp this discourse, I will analyze various media sources, as well as Sarrazin's book. I will offer analysis on the use of the term racialization and the relationship the use has to notions of race, religion and culture. This thesis will further research on these issues through gaining a better understanding of race discourse in society today, by looking specifically at the relation of religion to racialization. An important question to address in this paper is how it is possible for Muslims to be subject to racism when their actions are religious.

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