Language and Historiography: A Roundtable on the Use of Non-English Sources in U.S. Migration History Research

Endorsed by the OAH Graduate Student Committee, OAH-Japanese Association for American Studies Japan Historians' Collaborative Committee, IEHS, and WHA

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 8:45 AM - 10:15 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Immigration and Internal Migration; International Relations; Nationalism and Transnationalism


Many historians of US migration use primary and secondary sources written in languages other than English and produced outside the United States. Such sources, while often giving historians logistical challenges in the process of collection, help them analyze perspectives which could be overlooked in the exclusive analysis of English language sources and allow for the integration of scholarship that develops in non-Anglophone worlds. With leading historians of US migration fluent in Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese, this roundtable explores the significance, potential, and challenge of incorporating non-English language materials into US migration history research.

Session Participants

Chair: Hidetaka Hirota, University of California, Berkeley
Hidetaka Hirota is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies at Sophia University. He will start his new position as an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, in April 2022.

Hirota is the author of Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (Oxford University Press, 2017). It received the First Book Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Lois P. Rudnick Award from the New England American Studies Association, and the Donald Murphy Prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies, as well as Special Commendation for the Peter J. Gomez Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society and Honorable Mention for the Peggy O'Brien Book Prize from the Irish Association for American Studies.

Hirota received his Ph.D. in History from Boston College, where his dissertation won the university’s best humanities dissertation award. The dissertation also received the Cromwell Dissertation Prize from the American Society for Legal History. Additionally, it was nominated by Boston College for the Society of American Historians Allan Nevins Prize and selected as a finalist for the Julien Mezey Award from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. After earning his Ph.D., he served as a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and taught in the History Department at the City University of New York-City College.

Panelist: Eiichiro Azuma, University of Pennsylvania
Professor of History
Director of Asian American Studies Program
University of Pennsylvania

Professor with Tenure, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, July 2021-Current
Director, Asian American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2013-2018, 2021-2022
Alan Charles Kors Endowed Term Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, 2009-2019 (maximum term)
Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, July 2007-June 2021
Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, January 2001-June 2007
Researcher and Curator (part-time), Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, 1996-2000
Curator, Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, 1992-1994

Ph.D. in History, UCLA, December 2000
MA in Asian American Studies, UCLA, June 1992 (terminal degree)
BA in Social Sciences, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan, March 1989

*Winner, 2020 John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History, American Historical Association, January 2021.
*Honorable Mention, 2006 Asian American Studies History Book Award, Association for Asian American Studies, April 2008.
*Winner, 2005 Asian American Studies History Book Award, Association for Asian American Studies, April 2007.
*Winner, 2005 Theodore Saloutos Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, April 2006.
*Honorable Mention in the 2006 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians, April 2006.
*Winner, Shimizu Hiroshi Annual Book Award, Japanese Association for American Studies, June 2005.
*Honorable Mention, History of Education Society Best Article Prize (Biennial), History of Education Society, November 2004.
*Winner, W. Turrentine Jackson Prize, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, July 1998.
*Winner, Alexander Saxton History Essay Award, Asian American Studies Center, UCLA, April 1993.

In Search of Our Frontier: Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019).
Between Two Empires: Race, History, Transnationalism in Japanese America. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Edited Books
Co-edited with David K. Yoo, Oxford Handbook of Asian American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 2020). Hardback (2016), and Paperback (2020).
Co-edited with Gordon H. Chang, Yuji Ichioka, Before Internment: Essays in Japanese-American History. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006).

Selected Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
“Japanese Agricultural Labor Program: Temporary Worker Immigration, US-Japan Cultural Diplomacy, and Ethnic Community Making among Japanese Americans,” in Maddalena Marinari, Madeline Y. Hsu, and Maria Cristina Garcia, eds., A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: US Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019), pp. 161-186. (26 pp.)
“The Making of a Japanese American Race, and Why Are There No ‘Immigrants’ in Postwar Nikkei History and Community?: The Problems of Generation, Region, and Citizenship,” in Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro, eds., Trans-Pacific Japanese American Studies: Conversations on Race and Racializations (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2016), 257-287. (31 pp.)
“Japanese Immigrant Settler Colonialism in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands and the U.S. Racial-Imperialist Politics of the Hemispheric ‘Yellow Peril,’” Pacific Historical Review 83:2 (May 2014): 255-276. (22 pp.)
“Remapping a Pre-World War Two Japanese Diaspora: Transpacific Migration as an Articulation of Japan's Colonial Expansionism,” in Donna Gabaccia and Dirk Hoerder, eds., Connecting Seas and Connected Ocean Rims: Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans and China Seas Migrations from the 1830s to the 1930s (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2011), 413-439. (27 pp.)
“Brokering Race, Culture and Citizenship: Japanese Americans in Occupied Japan and Postwar National Inclusion.” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 16:3 (Fall 2009): 183-211. (29 pp.)
“Race, Citizenship, and the ‘Science of Chick Sexing’: The Politics of Racial Identity Among Japanese Americans.” Pacific Historical Review 78:2 (May 2009): 242-275. (34 pp.)
“Pioneers of Overseas Japanese Development: Japanese American History and the Making of Expansionist Orthodoxy in Imperial Japan” Journal of Asian Studies 67:4 (November 2008): 1187-1226. (40 pp.)
“Community Formation across the National Border: The Japanese of the U.S.-Mexican Californias,” Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas 39:1 (May 2006): 30-44. (15 pp.)
“The Politics of Transnational History-Making: Japanese Immigrants in the ‘Western Frontier,’ 1927-1941,” Journal of American History 89:4 (March 2003): 1401-30. (30 pp.)
“’The Pacific Era Has Arrived’: Transnational Education among Japanese Americans, 1932-1941,” History of Education Quarterly 43:1 (Spring 2003): 39-73. (35 pp.)

Panelist: Lauren H. Braun-Strumfels, Cedar Crest College
Lauren H. Braun-Strumfels, PhD
Raritan Valley Community College
P.O. Box 3300, Somerville NJ 08876
(908) 526-1200 x8526

2010 PhD University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of History
2003 MA University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of History
2001 BA with honors College of William and Mary, Department of History

2018- Associate Professor of U.S. History Branchburg, NJ
2015 – 2018 Assistant Professor of U.S. History
2010 – 2015 Instructor, Tenure Track in U.S. History
Raritan Valley Community College Dept. of Humanities. Social Science, and Education

2009-2010; Summer 2010-2013 Adjunct Assistant Professor
Temple University Program in American Studies Philadelphia, PA

Partners in Gatekeeping: How Italy Shaped the Enforcement of U.S. Immigration Law over Ten Pivotal Years, 1891-1901 (under peer review, University of Georgia Press)
“Knowing Students on the Inside,” in Books Behind Bars: Stories from the Prison Books Movement ed. David and Moira Marquis (forthcoming, University of Georgia Press, Fall 2023)
Lauren Braun-Strumfels and Tim Herbert, “Terminal Does Not Mean Dead: Why the History MA Deserves our Attention,” Perspectives on History (May 2021)
"Binational Gatekeepers: The Italian Government and U.S. Border Enforcement in the 1890s”
Labor: Studies in Working-Class History 18:1 (March 2021)
“Remote Reflections: Adapting to the Research Conditions at Hand,” Perspectives Daily: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association (December 2020)
“Why Does This Class Matter Anyway? Tuning History in General Education Courses,” World History Connected 13:2 (June 2016)
“Dillingham Commission,” in Encyclopedia of Labor and Working Class History 3 vols., ed. Eric Arnesen (New York: Routledge, 2007): 365-366.

Managing Migration in Italian and US History, ed. by Lauren Braun-Strumfels, Maddalena Marinari and Daniele Fiorentino (under consideration by De Gruyter)
“Testing the Limits of Italian and US Migration Law: the 1904 Liguria Incident in New Orleans,” with Clara Zaccagnini, in Managing Migration in Italian and US History ed. Braun-Strumfels, Marinari, and
Fiorentino (under consideration by De Gruyter)
“‘Farmers, Not Harvest Hands, the Solution’: Taking Colonization Seriously in the Progressive Era Press,” Journal of American Ethnic History (revise and resubmit)

2021-2022 Faculty Research Grant, Raritan Valley Community College
2021 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award, Italy All-Country Award, Alternate
2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award, Research Lectureship, University of Rome III
2018 Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society
2018 Research Sabbatical, Raritan Valley Community College
2017-2018 Faculty Research Grant, Raritan Valley Community College
2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, UCLA
2014 American Academy in Rome - Community College Humanities Association Affiliated Fellow
2007-2008 Marion S. Miller Dissertation Fellowship, Department of History, UIC
2007 Graduate Student Travel Award (for the best paper), Labor and Working Class History Association
2005-2006 Deena Allen Research Fellowship, Department of History, UIC
2004-2005 Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Core Research Grant to Italy, finalist
2004-2005 John B. and Theta Wolf Award (for research in Europe), Department of History, UIC
2004 Andrew Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society
2004 Ellison Durant Smith Research Award, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina
2001-2005 History Doctoral Award, Department of History, UIC

Panelist: Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, University of Connecticut
University Campus Director, University of Connecticut-Hartford
Professor of History and Latinx & Latin American Studies
10 Prospect Street | Hartford, CT | 06103
959 200 3810 |

Ph.D., Yale University, Latin American History, 2002.
M.A. & M.Phil., Yale University, Latin American and U.S. Latino History, 1998-1999.
Selkirk College, Contemporary Music and Technology Program, Jazz Piano Performance, 1996.
B.A., University of British Columbia, History and German Literature, 1993.

University Campus Director/Chancellor, University of Connecticut-Hartford, 2017-present.
Strategic Advisor to the Provost, 2021-
(Founding) Director, El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, University of Connecticut, 2012-2017.
Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Connecticut, 2008-2012.

Professor, Joint Appointment in History and El Instituto, University of Connecticut, August 2017 - present.
Associate Professor, Joint Appointment in History and El Instituto, University of Connecticut, August 2012- 2017.
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Connecticut, August 2008- 2012.
Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Connecticut, August 2004 - July 2008.
Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Latino/a Studies, Pomona College, 2002-2003.

Research Professor, Leonel Fernández Center for Latin American Studies, Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II School of International Studies and Political Science, University of Jordan, Amman, 2014-2018.
Visiting Lecturer, Chinese Foreign Affairs University, Beijing, October-November 2015.
Visiting Professor, Instituto de Historia, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, January - July 2011.
Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Brown University, Sept.-Dec. 2010.
Visiting Researcher, El Colegio de México, Mexico City. September 1999 – August 2000.
Visiting Researcher, Universidad Autónoma de Oaxaca, Oaxaca City. January – August 2000.

Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant, (P.I.), El Instituto, 2015-2018 and 2009-2012.
Fulbright Faculty Scholarship, Chile, 2011.
Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University, 2010.
Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2009-2010.
Social Science Research Council - International Migration Institute Fellowship, UCLA, Summer 2004.
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University, 2003-2004.
César E. Chávez Dissertation Fellow, U.S. Latino/a Scholars, Dartmouth College, 2002.
Outstanding Student in Latin American Studies, New England Council of Latin American Studies, 2002.
National Research Council Ford Foundation Fellowship for Minorities, 2001.

Editor, Construyendo el Gran México: La emigración a Estado Unidos. Mexico City: Editorial del Colegio de San Luis, in production. [Spanish translation of Beyond la Frontera, revised and expanded edition]

Coordinator, Fernando Saul Alanis Enciso, Let them Stay There: The Mexican Government and the Repatriation of Mexicans from the United States, 1834-1940. English translation of Que se quedan allá: El gobierno de México y la repatriación de mexicanos de Estados Unidos 1934-1940.University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
-Received and coordinated publication award from the Latin America in Translation/en Traducción/em Tradução Series with the University of North Carolina Press. The series provides translation and publishes in English outstanding books in a wide range of fields by important Latin American writers and scholars. I wrote a foreword to the translated version.
-Published as an Audible Book,
Award: 2018 Choice Academic Title

Co-editor/author, Global Latin(o) Americanos: Transoceanic Diasporas and Regional Migrations. New York: Oxford University Press (History of the Americas Series), 2017.

Editor, Beyond la Frontera: The History of Mexico-US Migration. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Editor, Latino America: State-by-State. (2 vols.) Westport: Greenwood Press, 2008.
Award: 2009 American Library Association Booklist Editors' Choice Winner

Visions of the Emerald City: Modernity, Tradition and the Formation of Porfirian Oaxaca, Mexico. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006 [2nd edition 2011].
-New England Council on Latin American Studies 2007 Best Book Prize
-Finalist, Urban History Assoc. Kenneth Jackson 2007 Best Book in North American Urban History

Visiones de la ciudad esmeralda: Modernidad, tradición y la formación de Oaxaca porfiriana. Oaxaca City: Universidad Autónoma de Oaxaca, 2010. [Spanish translation of Visions of the Emerald City, revised and expanded edition]

General Editor for six volume series, Latino-American History. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2007. (Secondary School Textbook)

Panelist: Sally Chengji Xing, Columbia University
Sally Chengji Xing

Website:; Twitter: @psally007
Contact: 560 Riverside Drive, Apt T2, NY 10027.

Ph.D., US history, Columbia University in the City of New York (Expected: Spring 2023)
Dissertation: “Pacific Crossings”: China Foundation, the American Quest to Shape China in its Image, and a Negotiated Translation of American Science to China, 1913-1949.
Committee: Mae Ngai, Casey Blake, Richard John, Marwa Elshakry, Ira Katznelson.
MPhil., US History, Columbia University in the City of New York (2019)
Orals Examination Fields: 20th Century US history (Mae Ngai), 19th century US history (Elizabeth Blackmar), US intellectual history (Casey Blake), US-East Asian Relations (Lien-Hang Nguyen)
M.A., US History, Columbia University in the City of New York (2018)
“Influencing China from Morningside Heights: Transnational Pioneers of ‘Wilsonianism’ during the May Fourth Movement” (advisor: Mae Ngai)
M.A., US History, Peking University, Beijing (2015)
“The Marginalized ‘Mr. Common Sense’: Thomas Paine and the American Revolution in a Transnational Perspective” (advisor: Li Jianming)
B.A., World History, Tsinghua University, Beijing (2013)

Richard Hofstadter Fellowship, Columbia University, New York City, 2016-present.
Predoctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin, 2022.
Research Fellowship, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Philadelphia, 2020-2021.
Gilder Lehrman Scholarly Fellowship, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2020.
Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History, Taipei, 2020-2021.
Research Fellowship, Rockefeller Archive Center, Tarrytown, NY, 2020.
Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Research Abroad Award, Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, Tokyo, 2020.
Samuel Bemis Dissertation Research Grant, The Society for Historians of American Foreign Affairs, 2019.
Research Fellowship, American Studies Center, Columbia University, 2019.
Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship (SYLFF), Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, 2017, 2018, 2019.
Lead Teaching Fellowship (LTF), Center for Teaching and Learning, Columbia University, the academic year of 2018-2019.
Pre-prospectus Summer Research Grant and G-Zero Fellowship, History Department, Columbia University, 2016-2018.
ICJS fellowship, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies in Monticello, Virginia, 2017.
History in Action Award, History in Action Program, the Mellon Foundation & Columbia University, Spring 2018, Fall 2017.
Presidential Fellowship, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 2016.
Wu Guanzhong Academic Fellowship, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 2013.

1) in English
Review of Wu Lin-chun, “China and the United States: Business, Technology and Networks, 1914-1941”, The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 27 (2020) 119-141, H-Diplo, link see here.

In Preparation:
“The Chinese Students in the US and the Rise of Wilsonianism in China Prior to the May Fourth Movement” (presented at the Annual Conference of SHAFR-Society of Historians for American Foreign Relations, 2021, June 19, to appear on The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, first issue of 2023)

“Madman and Sage: the “Two Toms Paradox” of the Early Republic” (presented at Thomas Jefferson Center at Monticello, VA; Columbia University; Iona College, New Rochelle; Wuhan University and Nankai University; to be submitted to Early American Studies)

“The American-trained Chinese Intellectuals: Hu Shi, Jiang Menglin, Ren Hongjun and Zhang Boling, and the Establishment of the China Foundation” (Research presented at Nankai University, Wuhan University and Shanghai Normal University, to be submitted to History of Education)

2) Chinese Language Academic Journal Publications
Xing, translation (with Teng Kaiwei), Akira Iriye’s Global and Transnational History: The Past, Present and Future (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), Zhejiang: Zhejiang University Press, 2018.

[Forthcoming] Xing Chengji ed., History in Practice: Interview with Contemporary American Historians, Beijing: Commercial Press, 2022.

[In preparation] Xing Chengji, Yang Zhao and Chen Zhihong trans., Sean Wilentz’s The Rise of American Democracy, to be published in the Commercial Press of Beijing.

Journal Article:
Journal Article, “The Marginalized ‘Mr. Common Sense’: Thomas Paine and the American Revolution in a Transnational Perspective”, The Historical Research, Vol. 4, 2019.