University of Duisburg-Essen
Prof. Dr. Josef Raab
(University of Duisburg-Essen)
Prof. Dr. Michael Wala
Insa studied English and French literature and culture, as well as economics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany and the University of Joensuu, Finland for her interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in the study course “Kulturwirt.” She received her Master’s degree at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2011. Her Master’s thesis, “Nazis in Lederhosen – German stereotypes in U.S. American Popular Culture since 1980,” focused on the construction of national stereotypes in U.S. American television series and films. Since April of 2012, Insa has been part of the research program “Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the United States.”
Between Heritage and Assimilation | Changing Self-Representations of German Immigrant Communities and German Americans in New York City’s Urban Space
Nationality can be a vital component in the process of identity creation, particularly when the context is one of migration. Self-representation as well as the perception others have of a specific group of immigrants and the following generations is oftentimes documented in the cultural text that surrounds the different communities. New York City is a mosaic of various different and progressing national identities, a rich example that can be used as a backdrop for the analysis of evolving, changing and potentially even somewhat static national identities. German immigrants and the following generations of German Americans made up a large part of the population of New York City in the nineteenth century. The World Wars changed the way these communities were seen, saw themselves and decided to present their cultural heritage. This PhD thesis will assess a variety of different documents and text types in order to evaluate change of the self-representation of the urban community of German Americans in New York City.
Scholarships and Awards
- Since April 2012: PhD scholarship in the Mercur research program “Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the United States”
- 2008: Erasmus scholarship for a semester at the University of Joensuu, Finland
- 2002-2003: Scholarship for the participation in the 19th PPP/CBYX program, high school student exchange for a year in the United States
- March 2014: "Culinary Community – Constructing Germanness in New York City in the 1950s"
Spatial Histories, Constructs, and Practices: Trajectories and Strategies in the North American City. Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.
- January 2014: "Language(s) in Klein-Deutschland: Perspectives from the Fifth Floor of a Tenement Building in 1886"
2014 Ruhr PhD Forum in American Studies. TU Dortmund, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
- April 2013: "New York City’s Urban Space in German Immigrant Letters" Urban Transformations Symposium, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, Germany.
- January 2013: "Karl Knortz’s Construction of Germanness in Das Deutschthum der Vereinigten Staaten (1898)"
2013 Ruhr PhD Forum in American Studies. Ruhr-Universität Bochum/TU Dortmund, Germany.
- April 2013: Chair of the presentation “Re-inhabiting the Lived Spaces of Chinatown”
Urban Transformations Symposium, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, Germany
- November 2010: Chair of the panel "Written Constructions of Transnational Identities"
Bi-Annual Conference of the International Association of Inter-American Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
- Summer Term 2014: "Survey of American Literature" (University of Duisburg-Essen)
- Winter Term 2013/2014: "Germans in New York City" (University of Duisburg-Essen)
- Summer Term 2013: "Germans in New York City" (University of Duisburg-Essen)
Member of the Society for German-American Studies (SGAS)