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Barbara Mennel

Department of English
2015-2016 Library Enhancement Grant

Dr. Barbara Mennel, Associate Professor of English, was awarded a Library Enhancement grant to acquire DVDs of contemporary Turkish German female filmmakers with additional faculty support from Holly Raynard, Esther Romeyn, Emrah Sahin, Sylvie Blum, and John Richard Stepp. In the 1960s, a generation of Turkish German filmmakers were born after their parents immigrated to Germany. Under the auspices of the Marshall Plan, the West German government recruited workers from Turkey to help rebuild Germany’s broken infrastructure after the Second World War. The workers’ children would grow up to produce and direct films celebrating multiculturalism and a self-confident cosmopolitanism. As a result, their films are important cultural products; they interrogate the experience of the Turkish minority during a transitional period in German history and provide unique access into a world of new, negotiated identities and undetermined possibility.

However, these films are often very expensive or difficult to access. While male directors have historically been provided access to funding and distribution channels for their film projects, female directors are still at a disadvantage. As a result, the gender and ethnic discrimination in the Turkish German film industry is inadvertently duplicated within library collections. The wider circulation of male Turkish German directors make their films cheaper, more accessible, and more attractive to libraries due to cost. The acquisition of films by female directors such as Seyhan Derin, Ayşe Polat, and Buket Alakuş will help rectify this situation and supplement the existing collection of male directed Turkish German films in the Film and Media Studies Library.

The acquisition of these films will allow teachers to provide a fuller picture of the cultural spectrum for students of German Studies, Women’s Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Anthropology. It will also benefit graduate students and faculty in these fields to pursue new avenues of research because of the addition of new sources. As such, acquiring these films builds on and expands the strength of a variety of programs at the University of Florida.