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 "German Heritage in Letters" 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


Projects


German Heritage in Letters

German Heritage in Letters is a project to create a digital collection of German-language correspondence currently held in private hands, by archives, by special collection libraries, museums, and other institutions.

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.

Events & Conferences


Jun 08, 2022

“The sea lays like an insulating layer between the home world and the course of these days”: Times and Places of Liminality in the Emigration Process

Virtual Lecture | Speaker: Joachim Schlör (University of Southampton); comment: Leora Auslander (University of Chicago)

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Jun 23, 2022

Research Seminar (hybrid)

Andreas Greiner (GHI Washington)

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Jul 13, 2022

Historicizing the Refugee Experience, 17th‐21st centuries

Second Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies | Organized by The University of Duisburg‐Essen (UDE), the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) and the National History Center of the American Historical Association (NHC), in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Center for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM), the Institute for the Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) and the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)

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Sep 08, 2022

Roads to Exclusion: Socio-Spatial Dynamics of Mobility Infrastructures since 1800

International conference at the German Historical Institute Washington | Organized by Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş (GHI Washington), Andreas Greiner (GHI Washington), Mario Peters (GHI Washington), and Roland Wenzlhuemer (LMU Munich)

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Oct 10, 2022

Histories of Migration: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives

Sixth Annual Bucerius Young Scholars Forum at the Pacific Regional Office of the GHI in Berkeley | Conveners: Frithjof Benjamin Schenk (Department of History, University of Basel) and Sören Urbansky (Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington, Berkeley)

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Nov 03, 2022

German Migrants and Migrating Knowledge in Latin American History

Conference at GHI Washington | Conveners: Simone Lässig (GHI Washington), Mario Peters (GHI Washington), H. Glenn Penny (University of Iowa), Stefan Rinke (Freie Universität Berlin)

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Publications


Paul LernerUwe SpiekermannAnne Schenderlein, eds.

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

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

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Simone Lässig, ed.

Digital History

Special Issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47.1 (2021)

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Jan C. Jansen & Simone Lässig, eds.

Refugee Crises, 1945-2000: Political and Societal Responses in International Comparison

Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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Das Pazifikbüro des DHI Washington. Aufbauphase 2017-2019

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Andrea Westermann & Onur Erdur, eds.

Histories of Migrant Knowledge: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives

Bulletin Supplement 15 (2020)

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John P.R. Eicher

Exiled Among Nations: German and Mennonite Mythologies in a Transnational Age

Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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Latest News


Opportunities

Intern at the German Historical Institute

Deadline: July 31, 2022 | The GHI Internship Program gives students of history, political science, public relations, and public administration at…

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Video

Research Infrastructure “Migrant Connections” launched

The launch event for "Migrant Connections," a new digital research infrastructure for historical research on German migration to the United States in…

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Video

Watch recording of our event "Whiteness and Collective Trauma in the Rearview Mirror"

If you were unable to watch our event "Whiteness and Collective Trauma in the Rearview Mirror" live, it is now available on our Vimeo channel.

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Video

Watch recording of our event "The Power of Multilingualism"

If you were unable to watch our event "The Power of Multilingualism: Olga Grjasnowa in Conversation with Elisabeth Krimmer, Karina Deifel, and Yasemin…

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Video

Watch recordings from our Annual Policy Symposium "Contested Meanings of Migration Facilitation: Emigration Agents, Coyotes, Rescuers, and Human Traffickers"

If you were unable to join our Annual Policy Symposium "Contested Meanings of Migration Facilitation: Emigration Agents, Coyotes, Rescuers, and Human…

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