Migration, Empire, and Transnational History

Saturday, January 9, 2016: 2:50 PM
Grand Ballroom C (Hilton Atlanta)
Paul Alexander Kramer, Vanderbilt University
In this talk, I'll be using the historiography of migration, specifically migration to the United States, to explore and critique broader trends in transnational history.  Specifically, I'll be looking at the ways migration historiography in effect transnationalized older concerns about immigrant cultural retention in a celebration of dynamic back-and-forth migrant flows, in contrast to exclusionary boundary-making states. This work did extremely important work in illuminating migrant agency, the multidirectionality of mobility, and migrant cultural inventiveness, it paid less attention to, and sometimes neglected, global asymmetries of power, including state power, that both shaped and were shaped by transnational migration.  In this talk, I'll explore what a migration historiography that put these dynamics at the center would look like.