Reflections on Teaching Abroad

How Berlin Remembers Trauma and What it Means for American Sense-Making of the Past




activism, Germany, nationalism


Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, fliers appeared on our university’s campus that uncannily resembled Nazi propaganda posters of the early 1940s. Custodians cleaning the campus facilities found the majority of the fliers and removed them before the general student population saw them. Still, a handful were photographed by students and quickly made their rounds via social media inciting a heated debate about free speech versus hate speech, racism, and white supremacy. Shortly thereafter, several student groups organized a Not My President rally near a campus work of art by the Mexican-American sculptor Luis Jiménez entitled “Border Crossing.” Protesters chanted affirmations for minoritized students on campus, such as “you are welcome here,” and “not my president,” in an attempt to disassociate from mainstream political rhetoric and the newly elected President Trump’s campaign slogans that centered on deportation and building a border wall. 

Author Biography

Ruxandra Looft, Iowa State University, USA

RUXANDRA LOOFT, PhD, serves as the Director of the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity and faculty affiliate in the program in women’s and gender studies at Iowa State University. Her major research interests lie in the area of gender and queer studies, borderlands and migration, and international education.


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How to Cite

Looft, R. (2020). Reflections on Teaching Abroad: How Berlin Remembers Trauma and What it Means for American Sense-Making of the Past. Journal of International Students, 10(3), 782–786.



Cross-Border Narratives