On October 20, 2016, American Space Leipzig invited teachers from all over Mitteldeutschland for its fourth yearly teachers workshop. This year, we welcomed around 80 teachers to discuss and learn about the presidential election 2016. Three experts of American politics, history, and society gave talks on different issues within the American presidential election.
To kick off our event, Prof. Hartmut Keil gave a talk on the immigrant vote and its impact on the election’s outcome. He explained that swing states are crucial in order to win the election. As an historical example, he mentioned the Irish and German vote in Chicago. Furthermore, he acknowledged that the Latino and black vote is important for the outcome of the election. On the other hand, populist and nativist elements are of similar importance. The fear of immigration and illegal aliens changes voting behaviour.
The second speaker of the event, Prof. Paul S. Rundquist from Halle University, asked: “Is America okay?” First he explained that this year’s election is challenging to teach to students in a classroom. Prof. Rundquist described the election as the most controversial he has experienced but pointed out that it is not as exceptional as represented at times. He questioned on one side if Trump really was the first to contest the outcome of the election and on the other side if Hillary Clinton is the most apt nominee in history.
American Space Leipzig directer, Prof. Crister S. Garrett, concluded the event with an analysis of the election on America’s role in the world. He talked about the meaning of globalization and its effect on our society. Prof. Garrett mentioned an emerging narrative of de-globalization in US political discourse. Additionally, he talked about storytelling in US politics and that voters incline to believe stories and decide for a candidate based on those stories. Finishing his presentation he detailed how the development of the industrial economy has become more efficient due to technology and therefore requiring less jobs. Also, crucial for the election is the US shift from an industrial to an information economy.
American Space Leipzig was especially pleased about the high number of participants which doubled in comparison to last year. The institution of our annual teacher workshop, it shows, is growing and will remain a yearly tradition for the future.