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.



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

Mar 02, 2023

The 1948 Flooding of Vanport, Oregon: Legacies of Disaster and Displacement

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Uwe Lübken (Ludwig Maximilians Universität München)

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Apr 06, 2023

Putting Contemporary Climate Migration in Context: What Do We Know from Two Decades of Research?

Lecture at 223 Moses Hall, UC Berkeley | Speaker: Amanda Carrico (University of Colorado Boulder)

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Apr 13, 2023

"Little Ice Age" Disasters and Migration: Insights for (and from) Global Warming

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Sam White (University of Helsinki)

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Apr 17, 2023

Knowledge Production in Displacement and Forced Migration

Workshop at the University of California, Santa Barbara | Conveners: Joshua Donovan (GHI Washington | Pacific Office), Vitalij Fastovskij (GHI Washington | Pacific Office), and Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (University of California, Santa Barbara)

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Apr 25, 2023

Diaspora and Debris: Material Culture in German-Jewish History

Seventh Junior Scholars Conference in Jewish History at GHI Washington | Co-organized by Anna-Carolin Augustin (GHI Washington), Mark Roseman (Indiana University Bloomington), and Miriam Rürup (Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European-Jewish Studies, Potsdam), with additional support from the Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft des Leo Baeck Instituts

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May 03, 2023

Research Seminar (Hybrid)

Jana Weiß (University of Texas in Austin)

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May 04, 2023

Climate Displacement in the Shadow of War: Feminist Refugee Perspectives on Hydro-disaster

Lecture at UC Berkeley | Speaker: Heidi-Amin-Hong (University of California, Santa Barbara)

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Jul 04, 2023

Historicizing the Refugee Experience, 17th–21st Centuries

Third Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies Duisburg | Organized by the University of Duisburg‐Essen (UDE), the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) and the American Historical Association (AHA), 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 18, 2023

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

Seventh Annual Bucerius Young Scholars Forum | Pacific Office of the GHI in Berkeley & Sitka, AK | Conveners: Sören Urbansky and Nino Vallen (both Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute Washington, Berkeley)

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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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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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Latest News

Call for Papers

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

Deadline: March 15, 2023 | Seventh Annual Bucerius Young Scholars Forum at the Pacific Office of the GHI in Berkeley & Sitka, AK

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New Publication

Fall 2022 Bulletin (70) 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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Binational Visiting Tandem Fellowship in the History of Migration at the GHI's Pacific Office in Berkeley

Deadline: February 15, 2023 (deadline extended) | The GHI is seeking applications for a Binational Visiting Fellow Tandem at its Pacific Office at UC…

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Watch recording of our event "Trying to become "German"

If you were unable to watch our event "Trying to become "German": Author Can Merey in Conversation with Historian Michael Printy" live, it is now…

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New Publication

Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 Bulletin (69) double 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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