Migrant Knowledge Blog
Writing knowledge into the history of migration and migration into the history of knowledge
Examines letters written to RELICO during the war by individuals seeking to share knowledge with loved ones or to receive information about them. Contextualizing the letters allows us to better appreciate the personalized knowledge transfer that occurred on a mass scale.
‘I beg you again from my heart to help me find my sister’: RELICO and the Need for KnowledgeDec 8, 2022
Joseph Malherek has recently published the book Free-Market Socialists with Central European University Press. He also contributed an article to Dynamics of Emigration, edited by Stefan Berger and Philipp Müller and published by Berghahn Books.
New Book from the Network: Central European Jewish Socialist Refugees in the USOct 24, 2022
Highlighting an interview with a Turkish migrant woman, Kübra Göksel explores the "knowledge" West Germans had about these guest workers, the impact this knowledge had on their lives, and the ways they occasionally utilized that knowledge for their own benefit.
Knowledge and Ignorance about ‘the Turkish Woman’ in West Germany and Migrant Women’s ResponsesJul 8, 2022
Mark Stoneman is leaving the Migrant Knowledge editorial team. We would like to thank him for his years of engagement, and especially for all his hard work in helping us to conceive and launch the blog. Patricia "Casey" Sutcliffe of the GHI Washington will manage the blog going forward.
Editorial NewsMay 23, 2022
West German experts emphasized cultural otherness as an impediment to the employment—and "emancipation"—of Turkish migrant women instead of attending to the women's testimony about the practical impediments they faced in a system built on the unpaid labor of housewives.
Knowledge about the ‘Migrant Woman’ as an Alibi for State Inaction in the Federal Republic of GermanyMar 29, 2022
Documents from the Qing dynasty's borderlands are crucial for understanding migrations in these regions, but accessing and contextualizing them is complicated by a unique set of political and archival challenges from the past and present.
The ‘Manchurian Archive’ and the Discourse on ‘Lost’ and ‘Returned’ Documents in ChinaMar 12, 2022
Categorization schemes are never neutral and rarely comprehensive, but the question of how to handle them is thornier than one might think. How can we question categories and their confining walls given that those same walls also provide shelter?
On the Discomfort of Shedding Ill-Fitting CategoriesMar 7, 2022
The intimate and personal network of an imperial official's well-educated wife who migrated with her husband temporarily to the colonies served as a conduit for the sharing and formation of knowledge about Britain’s empire in the late eighteenth century.
Colonial Correspondence and Knowledge Production: Elizabeth Simcoe and her Personal NetworksDec 27, 2021
What migrants relay about a host country to their country of origin is shaped by competing pressures that transform knowledge. The reports of two London-based correspondents to prerevolutionary Russia illustrate this point.
Between Fact and Fiction: The Fabrication of Migrant Knowledge in Professional and Personal CorrespondenceDec 16, 2021
Irawati Karve earned her doctorate in interwar Berlin before returning to India, where she pursued a career in anthropology. Discussing her work is difficult because she both rejected and adopted claims from the now infamous Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics.
The Contradictions of Irawati Karve: A ConversationNov 9, 2021
New book by Christiane Reinecke, Die Ungleichheit der Städte: Urbane Problemzonen im postkolonialen Frankreich und der Bundesrepublik [The Inequality of Cities: Urban Problem Zones in Postcolonial France and the Federal Republic of Germany] (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021).
New Book from the Network: Urban InequalityAug 30, 2021
The authors discuss disparagement practices using the "invectivity" approach developed at the TU Dresden. Shaming helps demarcate in-groups from out-groups, feeding communication loops and producing emotions beyond the immediate parties involved.
Invective Loops: How Shaming Migrants Shapes Knowledge OrdersAug 24, 2021
Call for a workshop titled "Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks during and after the Holocaust." Held by the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington and the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research.
Call: “Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks during and after the Holocaust”Jul 20, 2021
New essay collection: 'Navigating Socialist Encounters: Moorings and (Dis)Entanglements between Africa and East Germany during the Cold War' edited by Eric Burton, Anne Dietrich, Immanuel R. Harisch, and Maria Schenck – open access at De Gruyter Oldenbourg.
New Book from the Network: Africa and East Germany during the Cold WarJul 15, 2021
A new monograph by Albert Manke is now available, 'Coping with Discrimination and Exclusion: Experiences of Free Chinese Migrants in the Americas in a Transregional and Diachronic Perspective.' It appears in the Inter-American Studies series.
New Book from the Network: Experiences of Free Chinese Migrants in the AmericasJul 15, 2021
Elliot Young reminds us to consider migrants not only as victims, as the objects of others' actions, but also as subjects with their own agency. This shift in perspective has implications for how we understand migration facilitation, among other things.
Beyond Chinese “Coolies” as VictimsJul 14, 2021
The author examines records from trade union seminars given by IG Metall to Yugoslav workers in West Germany. Initially, the classes reflected the union's needs, but xenophobia in the 1980s led immigrant workers to express their own concerns in these meetings.
Trade Union Knowledge and Educational Programs for Yugoslavian Workers in West Germany, 1970s–1980sMay 27, 2021
In this two-part piece about Jewish refugee photographers, the authors "travel to another historical context to inquire about what migrants and refugees 'knew' and how they choose to communicate their knowledge in their photographic work."
Displacement in Stills: German-Jewish Photographers on the MoveMay 14, 2021
Using oral history, the author explores how a Polish Jewish family "used knowledge as a strategy not merely to survive but to build a new life" in what turned out to be a highly contingent transit process.
Knowledge as a Strategy on the Migratory Routes of Polish Jewish Survivors after World War IIMar 29, 2021
Migration strategies and state regulative measures exist in a dialectical relationship. The author looks at state efforts to control emigration from the Habsburg monarchy and the efforts of migration facilitators to satisfy demand for passage to South America.
Where Is the Migration Innovation? The Habsburg State vs. Facilitators of MigrationMar 8, 2021
The author looks at the relationship between two famous early sociological community studies, "Middletown" and "Marienthal." The latter became Paul Lazarsfeld's "ticket out of Europe just as the continent was descending into fascism."
Drifting Along: Unemployment and Interwar Social Research, from Marienthal to MuncieDec 28, 2020
The author discusses the source value of U.S. immigrant newspapers. If there are many reasons to approach them with caution, they can still help scholars learn "what migrants knew and wanted their fellow migrants to know..."
Transatlantic Migrants and Knowledge in the U.S. Immigrant PressDec 22, 2020
Annette Lützel explains the FRG's very different responses to the large numbers of refugees who came in the early 1990s and in 2015. Citing recent employment and job-training numbers, she sees an ongoing positive trend.
From Hoyerswerda to Welcome Culture: Asylum and Integration Policy in the Federal Republic of GermanyNov 5, 2020
Lorella Viola and Machteld Venken at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History seek applications for a large panel on "Doing Historical Research on Migration in the Digital Age." Deadline: November 20, 2020.
Call: Doing Historical Research on Migration in the Digital AgeOct 30, 2020
"Migration" is not a stable, preexisting category but rather a product of societal processes that shape what the term comprises. We must take these entanglements with the past into account in our present-day research.
Not a Given Object: What Historians Can Learn from the Reflexive Turn in Migration StudiesOct 27, 2020
A Berlin-based group works with refugee girls, who make films as a way to narrate their life experiences. The idea is to help the girls form and mobilize knowledge repertoires for their self-empowerment, although the process is by no means linear.
Girls’ Self-Empowerment through Narrative in FilmSep 23, 2020
Event to launch "Refugees from Nazi-Occupied Europe in British Overseas Territories," the first book to cover forced emigration from Nazi-controlled Europe to the territories of the British Empire as a whole. (Oct. 7, 2020, via Zoom. Registration required.)
Virtual Book Launch: The British Empire as Refuge?Sep 5, 2020
A book for children about young refugees in New York was rooted in real experiences. Its author's eye for children's agency can help us to understand refugee children as go-betweens in wartime New York.
Young Refugees and Knowledge in New York during World War II: The Example of Babette Deutsch’s ‘The Welcome’Aug 17, 2020
Protestant missionary schools affected the construction of "indigenous knowledge" in complex ways, including through their role in the emergence of local go-betweens, who carried this knowledge into colonial contexts.
The Formation of Indigenous Knowledge in Protestant Mission Schools, 1900–1930Aug 10, 2020
Glenn Penny highlights aspects of children's go-between role in Chile not visible in histories of European migration to the United States. German schools in Chile and teachers posted there from Germany are central to this multigenerational story.
Routes of Knowledge: Growing up German in Chile, 1900–50Aug 7, 2020
The role of children in history matters, including in knowledge formation and in migration. Simone Lässig introduces a miniseries about children and youth as go-betweens in migration contexts, whether people migrated or knowledge itself.
Knowledge and the Agency of Children in Migration ContextsAug 5, 2020
Ben Nobbs-Thiessen' monograph, 'Landscape of Migration: Mobility and Environmental Change on Bolivia's Tropical Frontier, 1952 to the Present,' is now available at UNC Press. Check out his recent interviews with Elena McGrath and Steven Hyland too.
New Book from the Network: Landscape of MigrationJul 9, 2020
How to name people who move their lives across borders willingly or under duress? Eliyana Adler discusses the diverse terms contemporaries used to identify the various groups of Polish Jews who survived World War II as refugees in the Soviet Union.
What’s in a Name? How Titles Construct and Convey Knowledge about MigrantsJun 18, 2020
Many European émigrés escaping the Nazis helped shape consumer capitalism in the United States. After the war, they did business in Europe as well, circulating their transformed knowledge to shape marketing there.
European Émigrés and the Transatlantic Circulation of Knowledge: Examples from Mid-20th-Century Consumer CapitalismApr 29, 2020
Germans translated Buddhist texts in Germany, and they migrated to British Ceylon in order to get closer to Buddhism. Their Buddhist practices ended up changing Buddhism's relationship to texts in their South Asian home.
German Migrants and the Circulation of Buddhist Knowledge between Germany and British CeylonApr 18, 2020
As Chinese children and youth immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they had to overcome increasing restrictions on their entry. Wendy Rouse describes the knowledge they formed and passed on to succeed.
Crossing Borders: Chinese Immigrant Children and the Production of KnowledgeMar 2, 2020
The work of both Hans Rosenberg and Raul Hilberg was initially marginalized, but later entered the mainstream of German historiography. Why? What role did migration play in their work and its reception?
Marginalized Migrant Knowledge: The Reception of German-Speaking Refugee Historians in West Germany after 1945Nov 6, 2019
Revisits Werner Schiffauer's 1991 classic, Die Migranten aus Subay, which reminds us that "migrants have lives of their own before they arrive in host societies, and they never cease to maintain ties … to the homelands they leave behind."
Rebels against the Homeland: Turkish Guest Workers in 1980s West German AnthropologyOct 23, 2019
Surveys the research on current efforts to leverage professional knowledge and skills among migrant populations for development in their countries of origin. Pays particular attention to a program called Connecting Diaspora for Development.
Research on Diaspora Knowledge Transfer within a Temporary Return ProgramOct 16, 2019
Thinks about how migrant biographies and autobiographies can be used to understand associated knowledge transfer and translation processes, including their "success" or "failure." Examples are from Australia after World War Two.
Migrant Biographies as a Prism for Explaining Transnational Knowledge TransfersOct 7, 2019
Explores two points in U.S. past when Jewish history and migration studies intersected: 19th-century studies of Jewish migration by local community organizations; and role played by Jewish social scientists in shaping modern migration studies.
Acquiring Knowledge About Migration: The Jewish Origins of Migration StudiesSep 25, 2019
"Migrant knowledge figures as a category of absence" in Europe. In Germany, one core issue is knowledge about recycling requirements and expectations. Efforts to teach it "betray an unreflective understanding of cultural identity."
Refuge and Refuse: Migrant Knowledge and Environmental Education in GermanySep 13, 2019
"Reconstituting the networks of the complex and mobile individuals through which indenture globally spread as a legal form of labor can sharpen our understanding of how migration practices and policies became universalized over the course of the nineteenth century..."
Of Dodos, Cane, and Migrants: Networking Migrant Knowledge between Mauritius and Hawai’i in the 1860sJun 17, 2019
The author expected to find files in Paris for his study of Franco-Yiddishness in the interwar period, but they had wandered elsewhere. His surprise led him to consider "the migratory history of knowledge and knowledge-making."
Following the Archives: Migrating Documents and their Changing MeaningsApr 18, 2019
Discusses a 1909 Syrian American advice book for Ottoman subjects planning to emigrate to the U.S., which contained knowledge about would-be immigrants' specific rights in the U.S. and self-fashioning tips for dealing with authorities there.