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Transatlantic conference at UHV to explore global relevance of migration

By Victoria Advocate
Nov. 3, 2012 at 6:03 a.m.

Jeffrey DiLeo

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: "We Called for Workers but People Came: Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States"

•  WHEN: Nov. 15-17

• WHERE: Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

• COST: Free, open to the public

The histories of Muslims in Germany and Mexican-Americans in the U.S. are different and complex, but each are portrayed as the fastest growing minority group in their respective countries.

A conference at the University of Houston-Victoria will launch a conversation about the migration, globalization and integration that German Muslims and Mexican-Americans have faced.

One group is seen through the filter of religion, while the other is viewed through national background and language, said conference organizer Riem Spielhaus.

Spielhaus is a research fellow at the Erlangen Centre for Islam and the Law in Europe of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

A number of scholars, teachers and artists from Germany and across the U.S. will be in Victoria for the conference titled "We Called for Workers but People Came: Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States."

One session will feature Dominican-American writer Nelly Rosario and popular German Muslim blogger and freelance journalist Kübra Gümüsay.

Another session will be led by authors and UHV English lecturers Diana López and Rene Perez.

Spielhaus and Macarena Hernández, the Victoria Advocate Endowed Professor of the Humanities at UHV, put together the conference to explore issues such as education, identity and media coverage of the two groups.

"Too often, communities in both Europe and the U.S. are seen as these monolithic groups, but in reality, they are very complex," she said. "In the U.S., we often talk about Latinos, and that includes people with very different histories."

Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, said this was a great example of a faculty member teaming up with other scholars to bring a major conference to the university.

"Events such as these enhance the overall quality of education at UHV," he said. "Bringing in an international conference with scholars from across the globe shows how far we have come as a destination university."

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