Date Approved

2017

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

World Languages

First Advisor

Margrit Zinggeler

Second Advisor

Motoko Tabuse

Abstract

Stereotypes can be seen as a tool to understand why a person or group of people behave the way they do. These stereotypes adapt over time as culture and cultural perceptions change. The purpose of this research is to analyze what stereotypes Americans have held of Germans over the years, starting in 1940, a couple years before the United States entered World War II, then the Cold War Era between 1947 and 1990, through today. The purpose of these time frames is to see how Americans viewed Germans just prior to entering the war, how the war may have changed those views, what happened to those views after the war was over, and what has become of those views since the fall of the Berlin Wall leading to today. The sources analyzed will be public opinion surveys, film, and comic books from this time, to have multiple sources of representation. The analysis includes what stereotypes remain, which have dissipated, and which have simply been modified, as well as questions why such changes, or lack thereof, have occurred. Additionally, this study contemplates in what way these present stereotypes affect doing business with Germans.

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