Christiane Bauer, a PhD student from Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University, is currently looking to conduct interviews for a project on German American descendants in the United States. Her goal is to “examine the perception of Germanness and the relationship towards German heritage and Germany itself by German-Americans of the second generation whose parents or one parent came to the USA after 1945”.
We all have a story to tell, so why not help share your experiences of what being a German American means to you. Throughout May and June, and then later this Fall, Christiane Bauer will be recording 90 minute interviews that touch on “your German cultural heritage, about the German traditions transmitted within your family, and about whether and why you consider it important to participate in German-American cultural events such as German clubs, societies, schools, churches, or simply going to German restaurants, parades, or any kind of folk festivals.”
If you decide to be a part of this PhD project, some of the central questions you will be asked during your interview will include:
- What are your first memories relating to your German heritage and Germany itself? What kind of images, persons, stories, and artifacts do you associate with these memories?
- How was the German language present in your home?
- Do you participate in the German-American cultural life? If so, what kind of events do you attend? Does the cultural program correspond with your notion of being German?
- What do you consider as being typical German in your lifestyle?
- What do you think the American society of non-German descents detect as “typical German”? Do you agree with this perception?
- What did being German used to mean to you in the past and what does it mean to you today?
Interview subjects are encouraged to bring along any significant memorabilia or artifacts to help aid in the process of telling your story, such as photographs, books, music, family recipes, and more. You can express your interest or ask for more details by contacting Christiane Bauer via email at [email protected]
Photo by Eelco Kruidenier via flickr