Shaifali Sandhya: Can Germany’s Newest Refugees “Become European”?

Dr. Shaifali Sandhya from the University of Chicago (USA) will give a talk on “Can Germany’s Newest Refugees Become “European”? Negotiating Self-Identity in the Wake of Psychological Trauma”.

“Across Europe, migrating Muslim refugees are transforming it’s profile; as Germany’s Muslim population is set to quadruple to 20 million by 2020, will it’s newest arrivals become “European?” In other words, in this rapidly changing world, is identity the reproduction of cultural values, or do new personal narratives contest with old cultural values to create new identities? Psychological trauma may however, complicate the process of identity formation and adaptation in individuals and their children, often for generations. Distressing events endured by forced migrants fleeing war can negatively affect: how refugees from war-torn nations understand themselves; the nature of the debilitating symptoms they express and experience; whether or not they will assimilate to their host countries’ cultural values, and how successfully their families will resettle. This paper explores the factors shaping “identity” in Syrian and Afghani refugees in the early stages of integration using qualitative and quantitative data from three German cities, Berlin, Bonn, and Cologne. While religion and psychology are not unrelated, psychological traits of subject groups are more reliable indicators of future behavior than simple religious affiliation. The success or failure of refugee resettlement and integration may depend on a largely unexamined aspect: the effects of trauma on the psychology of individual refugees.”

The event begins at 5 p.m.

The talk is free of charge and open to the public. Everyone interested is cordially invited.

For questions please contact Eva Jeske (

Date: 05/19/2017


Conference Room of the International Center for Philosophy NRW (IZPH)
Poppelsdorfer Allee 28
53115 Bonn
3rd floor (elevator available)
Entrance area not barrier-free