Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Sarah Lockhart, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Caley Johnson, Ph.D.


Within the past decade, migration has become an increasingly controversial subject in Western countries, producing a right-wing and nationalist backlash. In Europe, Germany became the core of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015 and gained global attention for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy towards refugees. This substantial influx of refugees into the country caused a sharp discursive shift regarding migrants and refugees in the German media during and after 2015. At the same time, Donald Trump announced his eventually successful presidential campaign by cultivating a starkly anti-immigrant platform, which generated disproportionate media attention for his campaign and intensified anti-immigrant rhetoric in mainstream media. In both countries, the discourse on migrants and refugees derived from similar racist historical stereotypes about men of color being sexual predators. I argue that despite the differences in the German and American contexts of these discursive shifts, the similar discursive trends in both countries’ mainstream media and the manufactured, transnational accumulation of racist rhetoric on social media demonstrate that migration is the primary issue that increasingly unifies right-wing parties.