Migration and Mobility during World War I
Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 4
Too often, histories of migration and transnational mobility include periodization in which one section ends in 1914 and the next section begins in 1918. Or they gloss over what one migration study has called “the parentheses of the war.” This panel, in turn, seeks to zoom in especially on the period of World War I, when migration and mobility adjusted their patterns, slowed in some cases, and became more controlled in others—but nevertheless retained their characteristic dynamism. More than this, as with many other historical phenomena, the period of crisis and war from 1914 to 1918 illuminated experiences that might remain hidden during peacetime, it heightened the pace of change over time, and it laid the foundation for the reconfiguration of migration and mobility in the postwar era. As a result, this panel hopes not only to trace new ground by focusing on World War I, but also to improve our understanding of transnational movement in the early twentieth century.