Migration, Creativity, and the Construction of Knowledge

BENJAMIN HEIN reflects on the nature of knowledge and knowledge formation in connection with a German migrant to North America in the mid-nineteenth century. What did it mean that this man, Christian Bönsel, could brag that he had been able to "learn and see how it goes in the world"? (1,455 words)


  • Call: Workshop, Migration and Racism (deadline June 15, 2019)
  • Program: Conference, In Global Transit (May 20–2, 2019)
  • Crowdsourced Project: German-American Letters

Following the Archives: Migrating Documents and their Changing Meanings

NICK UNDERWOOD reflects on how files he had expected to find in Paris for his study of Franco-Yiddishness during the interwar period had, in fact, migrated elsewhere. He uses his surprise to discuss the part played by rescued or stolen documents in "the migratory history of knowledge and knowledge-making." (2,015 words)

Calls and Grants

  • Summer school, University of Bern (due April 30)
  • Research grant for Immigration History Research Center Archives (due June 1)
  • Conference, London School of Economics (due June 30)

A Little Advice: Syrian American Advice Booklets as Knowledge Production

STACY D. FAHRENTHOLD discusses the significance of a 1909 Syrian American advice book for Ottoman subjects planning to emigrate to the United States. The Arabic-language text included knowledge about the would-be immigrants' specific rights in America and the important self-fashioning necessary for dealing with U.S. authorities. (1,578 words)

Calls: Upcoming Deadlines

  • Deadline: March 31, 2019, for Material Cultures in Migration, University of Birmingham, June 21, 2019.
  • Deadline: April 20, 2019, for Imagining Migration, Knowing Migration: Intermedial Perspectives, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, March 19–21, 2020.

Migration and Knowledge Transfer

CHARLOTTE MUELLER points out that "migrants can be knowledge senders and knowledge receivers simultaneously, in their country of destination as well as in their country of origin." Knowledge transfer and human migration can both be "circular."

History of Knowledge

READING TIP: Simone Lässig, “The History of Knowledge and the Expansion of the Historical Research Agenda,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 59 (Fall 2016): 29–59.