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


Jun 05, 2024

Research Seminar (Hybrid)

Viola Alianov-Rautenberg (GHI Washington, Pacific Office)

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Jun 28, 2024

Archives in/of Transit: Historical Perspectives from the 1930s to the Present

Workshop at University of Southern California, Los Angeles | Conveners: Einstein Papers Project / California Institute of Technology (Jennifer Rodgers); German Historical Institute Washington and its Pacific Office at UC Berkeley (Simone Lässig, Anna-Carolin Augustin, Swen Steinberg); Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London (Dan Stone); Queen Mary, University of London (Jane Freeland); Wiener Holocaust Library, London (Toby Simpson, Christine Schmidt) as part of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership (HGRP); USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research (Wolf Gruner)

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Jul 03, 2024

Historicizing the Refugee Experience, 17th–21st Centuries

Fourth Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies in Tübingen | Organized by University of Tübingen (UT), the German Historical Institute in Washington (GHI) and the American Historical Association (AHA), in cooperation with the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)

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Jul 14, 2024

Making a World of Many Worlds: Identities, Activisms, and Comparisons

Summer School | Pacific Office, Berkeley | organized by The Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS), the Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) at UC Berkeley, and the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1288 “Practices of Comparing” at Bielefeld University

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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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Publications


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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Simone Lässig, ed.

Digital History

Special Issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47.1 (2021)

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Latest News


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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Opportunities

Intern at the German Historical Institute

Deadline: July 31, 2024 | The GHI Internship Program gives students of history, political science, public relations, and public administration at…

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New Publication

Fall 2023 Bulletin (72) issue published and available for download

The latest issue of the Bulletin is now available online for download as well as in print.

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GHI in the Media

Director Simone Lässig interviewed by Deutschlandfunk Kultur

GHI Director Simone Lässig was interviewed by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and discussed the institute’s role in North America, our research priorities, and…

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New Publication

Spring 2023 Bulletin (71) issue published and available for download

The latest issue of the Bulletin is now available online for download as well as in print.

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