Anja Benedikt

Memory and Migration: The Impact of Historical Experience on Immigrant Integration Discourse and Policy in Germany

Supervisors: Dr Sara Jones and Dr Luis Cabrera

My PhD looks at the contemporary German discourse on immigrant integration, particularly Muslim integration, which has been characterized by intense public debates. It identifies the tension in German integration policy and debate between the country’s traditional ethno-cultural focus in immigration policy and its liberal constitution on the other hand. It investigates this constellation and its consequences for the integration debate by looking at historical experiences and past conceptions and the role these play in the immigrant integration context.

The study seeks to identify and examine different narratives in order to explore how Germany’s peculiar history influences present integration discourse on religious practices and multiculturalism. The research project intends to contribute to the understanding of immigrant integration by drawing on social constructivist approaches and the concept of collective memory and by introducing these concepts to the academic literature on immigrant integration policy.


After completing a BA (Hons) in International Management with European Language and Society at the University of Stirling, which included exchange visits to Flinders University, Australia and La Salle, Mexico, Anja came to the University of Birmingham in 2011 for starting her MA in European Studies. Her dissertation of the MA entitled “How should the European Union Immigration Policy look like? An ethical investigation”.

For her PhD project which investigates historical influences on the contemporary German immigrant integration discourse, Anja has won a 1+3 ESRC award. She is currently in her first year of the programme and completing the Doctoral Training at the College of Social Sciences (MA Social Research).


  • BA (Hons) International Management with European Language and Society, University of Stirling, First Class
  • MA European Studies, University of Birmingham with Distinction

Research interests

  • Immigration and Integration Policies 
  • European Union Integration and Identity
  • German Politics
  • Historical and Collective Memory 
  • Ethics and Human Rights