At the Forest Edges of the City: An Ethnography of Racial Geographies and National Belonging in Berlin and its Countryside


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Cultural Anthropology


While Berlin is currently promoted as a flourishing “Green City” and “Europe's Nature Capital,” debates about immigrant segregation and unemployment stress the emergence of troubled neighborhoods and “ghettos” in the city’s body. Based on fifteen months of fieldwork in Berlin, this dissertation uses several case studies—multicultural gardens, forest schools, urban parks, and a post-unification era nature park at Berlin’s fringes—to examine how “natural” landscapes become sites of contestation over national belonging and race. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with several immigrant and refugee communities, as well as environmentalists, public officials, foresters, and East and West German nature lovers, this project asks: how are social inequalities and notions of belonging reconfigured in conflicts over the creation, use, and management of greenspaces?