History of Mobilities & Migration

The GHI’s longstanding engagement with the migration of German speakers to North America from the seventeenth century to the present is the foundation for the broader program on the history of migration and mobility that has developed at the institute since 2015. Several GHI-supported projects look beyond the flows of European migrants across the Atlantic and analyze migrant groups and receiving societies around the world, including in a transpacific and inter-American perspective. Particular attention is given to diasporic communities, migrants’ agency and networks, and comparative research on the social and cultural integration of migrants.

The research at the institute also places a focus on spatial mobility and its social impacts and asymmetries by bringing together projects on migration with colleagues working on different mobile groups, objects, information, or ideas. The notion of multiple and uneven mobilities provides the opportunity to explore global and transregional entanglements and ruptures, continuities and disconnections. The conference series and research network “In Global Transit” combines the history of forced migration and mobility studies to explore the spatialities and temporalities of escape trajectories. Current GHI research projects on traffic networks investigate the materiality of infrastructure and how complex networks were managed locally.

The GHI’s research focus on mobilities and migration is closely linked to its established program in the history of knowledge. The roles of migrants as producers and transmitters of distinctive bodies of knowledge is the focus of the “Migrant Knowledge” initiative at the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office. The collaborative project "Migrant Connections" draws on the tools of digital history to explore the ways German emigrants and their family and friends at home created or dismissed  transnational spaces of communication and knowledge circulation.

Photo Credit: El Shatt, UNRRA Refugee Camp, 1944. Otto Gilmore/FSA/OWI, Library of Congress.

Team


Isabel Richter

Deputy Director
Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute Washington
Institute of European Studies | University of California, Berkeley | 249 Philosophy Hall | Berkeley, CA 94720-2316
Phone +1.202.552.8936

richter@ghi-dc.orgRead on

Projects


In Global Transit

In Global Transit currently consists of two separate pillars: a conference series and resulting research network and individual projects from GHI research staff.

Migrant Connections

Migrant Connections is a digital research infrastructure for historical research on German migration to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Events & Conferences


Oct 21, 2024

Young Scholars Forum: Histories of Migration - Transatlantic and Global Perspectives

Eighth Annual Young Scholars Forum | Pacific Office of the GHI in Berkeley | Conveners: Isabel Richter (GHI Pacific Office Berkeley) and Benno Gammerl (European University Institute Florence)

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Oct 31, 2024

Wings of Globalization? New Approaches to the History of Commercial Aviation, 1920s–2020s

International Conference at the German Historical Institute Washington | Conveners: Andreas Greiner (GHI Washington) and Stefan Rinke (Freie Universität Berlin)

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Feb 13, 2025

Refugees in Global Transit: Encounters, Knowledge, and Coping Strategies in a Disrupted World, 1930s–50s

Conference in Mumbai, India | Organized by Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington), Sebastian Schwecke (Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies, Delhi), and Swen Steinberg (Queen's University, Kingston). in collaboration with Christoph K. Neumann (OI Istanbul), Maria Framke (Erfurt University), and Jens Hanssen (OI Beirut).

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Jun 25, 2025

Germans in the Asia-Pacific Region: (Post) Colonial Entanglements, Conflicts and Perceptions in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Conference in Flinders University (city campus), Adelaide, South Australia | Conveners: Mathew Fitzpatrick (Flinders University), Simone Lässig (GHI Washington), Isabel Richter (GHI Washington Pacific Office at UC Berkeley)

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Sep 29, 2025

Food, Migration, and Belonging in 20th Century European History

Conference at German Historical Institute | Pacific Office at UC Berkeley | Conveners: Maren Möhring (University of Leipzig), Isabel Richter (GHI Washington Pacific Office at UC Berkeley)

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Publications


Jan C. Jansen & Kirsten McKenzie, eds.

Mobility and Coercion in an Age of Wars and Revolutions

Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2024.

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Bulletin 72 (Fall 2023)

Forum: The German Treatment of Soviet Prisoners of War During The Second World War

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Bulletin 70 (Fall 2022)

Forum: Rethinking Cross-Border Connections

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Anna Corsten

Unbequeme Erinnerer: Emigrierte Historiker in der westdeutschen und US-amerikanischen NS- und Holocaust-Forschung, 1945–1998

Transatlantische Historische Studien. Band 62. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2022.

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Bulletin 69 (Fall 2021 & Spring 2022)

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Paul Lerner, Uwe Spiekermann, Anne Schenderlein, eds.

Jewish Consumer Cultures in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Europe and North America

Worlds of Consumption. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2022.

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Latest News


Fellowship

2025 Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants

Deadline: October 6, 2024 | The Max Weber Stiftung's Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants provide funding up to 3 months travel funding for junior scholars…

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Call for Papers

Food, Migration, and Belonging in 20th Century European History

Deadline: September 20, 2024 | Conference at the German Historical Institute | Pacific Office at UC Berkeley

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Call for Papers

Germans in the Asia-Pacific Region: (Post) Colonial Entanglements, Conflicts and Perceptions in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Deadline: September 30, 2024 | Conference in Flinders University (city campus), Adelaide, South Australia

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Video

Watch recording of our event "Voting Authoritarians into Power"

If you were unable to watch our event "Voting Authoritarians into Power" live, it is now available on our Vimeo channel.

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Fellowship

Doctoral and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Deadline: October 1, 2024 | The GHI awards short-term fellowships to European and North American doctoral students as well as postdoctoral scholars to…

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