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.


Albert Manke

Research Fellow, GHI PRO
Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington
Institute of European Studies | University of California, Berkeley | 249 Moses Hall | Berkeley, CA 94720-2316
Phone +1.510.643-4558

manke@ghi-dc.orgRead on


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

Jan 21, 2022

Homeland as Nightmare: Fatma Aydemir and Hengameh Yaghoobifarah in Conversation with Jon Cho-Polizzi and Deniz Göktürk

Panel Discussion (Virtual) | Speakers: Fatma Aydemir and Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, Jon Cho-Polizi, and Deniz Göktürk

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Jan 26, 2022

The Transatlantic Origins of the Modern Research University

Virtual Lecture | Speaker: Emily Levine (Stanford University); moderator: Matthew Specter (UC Berkeley)

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Jan 27, 2022

Laboratories of the Social: Utopian Settlements and Reform Movements in the Long 19th Century

Virtual Workshop | Conveners: Anne Kwaschik (Universität Konstanz) and Claudia Roesch (GHI Washington)

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Apr 04, 2022

Knowledge on the Move: Information Networks During and After the Holocaust

International Workshop at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles | Conveners: Robin M Buller (GHI | PRO, UC Berkeley), Wolf Gruner (USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research), Anne-Christin Klotz (GHI | PRO, UC Berkeley) | Co-organized by the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI | PRO) and the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research

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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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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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Bulletin 65 (Fall 2019)

Forum: The Weimar Republic Reconsidered

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Anne C. Schenderlein

Germany on their Minds: German Jewish Refugees in the United States and Their Relationships with Germany, 1938–1988

Studies in German History. Vol. 25. New York: Berghahn Books, 2020.

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Latest News


Doctoral and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Deadline: April 1, 2022 | The GHI awards short-term fellowships to European and North American doctoral students as well as postdoctoral scholars to…

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GHI Fellowships at the Horner Library

Deadline: March 1, 2022 | Together with the German Society of Pennsylvania, the GHI sponsors two to four fellowships of up to four weeks for research…

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Call for Papers

Histories of Migration: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives

Deadline: February 1, 2022 | Sixth Annual Bucerius Young Scholars Forum at the Pacific Regional Office of the GHI in Berkeley

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Call for Papers

Lost Knowledge: Approaching Migrant Knowledge After Migration

Deadline extended: January 31, 2022 | Virtual Workshops and Special Issue | Organized by Philipp Strobl (Universität Hildesheim) and Swen Steinberg…

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Watch recording of the Bucerius Lecture "Knowing Refugees, Historically Speaking"

If you were unable to watch our event "Knowing Refugees, Historically Speaking" live, it is now available on our Vimeo channel.

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