Global Perspectives on North American Migration Histories

IEHS (requested) Endorsed by the Western History Association

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

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


This roundtable historicizes migration and US immigration policy by exploring how global perspectives demonstrate that migration is an intrinsic aspect of how human societies operate and that institutions for disciplining migrants have developed contingently even as they became naturalized in ways that serve established political and economic interests. This conversation aims to foster discussions and strategies that improve alignment between immigration policies and actual systems and practices of mobility.

Session Participants

Chair: Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Texas-Austin
Madeline Y. Hsu is professor of history and Asian American Studies at UT Austin. Her books include Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943 (Stanford University Press, 2000); The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press, 2015); and Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2016). She co-edited the anthology with Maddalena Marinari and Maria Cristina Garcia, A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: U.S. Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965 (UIP 2019). She is currently one of five co-editors for the Cambridge History of Global Migrations. Please visit her most recent project, which provides curriculum for K-12 classrooms, “Teach Immigration History,” at

Panelist: David C. Atkinson, Purdue Universtiy
David Atkinson received his Ph.D. in history from Boston University. His research specializations are in American foreign relations and migration, international history, and American and British imperial history.

His book is entitled The Burdens of White Supremacy: Containing Asian Labor Migration in the British Empire and the United States. White governments in Australasia, North America, and Southern Africa closed their borders to Japanese and South Asian labor migrants during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Atkinson is also working on a new project that explores how Americans interacted with their growing commercial empire in the 19th century.

Panelist: David FitzGerald, UCSD
David Scott FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California San Diego. His research analyzes policies regulating migration and asylum in countries of origin, transit, and destination. FitzGerald’s books include Refuge beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers (Oxford University Press 2019), winner of the American Sociological Association International Migration Section Best Book Award; Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (Harvard University Press 2014), whose several awards include the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarly Book Award; A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press 2009), Immigrant California: Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Policy (Stanford University Press 2021), and six edited volumes on Mexico-U.S. migration. His more than 30 articles and book chapters have been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Law and Society Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Comparative Studies in Society and History, International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Qualitative Sociology, and New York University Law Review. He is currently co-authoring a book titled Refugees: A Sociological Systems Approach. FitzGerald was honored with the “Award for Public Sociology” from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association and frequently provides comment to local, national, and international media.

Panelist: Monique Laney, Auburn University
Monique Laney joined Auburn University in 2014. Her research combines the history of science and technology and migration studies by focusing on "highly skilled" migrants. Her first book, German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era (Yale University Press, 2015), won the 2015 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2016 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as an honorable mention for the Deep South Book Prize of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. This study’s main subjects are the German rocket specialists and their families, who were brought to the United States after World War II under the military operation Project Paperclip and later followed the Army to Huntsville, Alabama. Led by Wernher von Braun, the German rocket team has been celebrated internationally for its contributions to the Army’s missile and NASA’s space programs. Based on oral histories and archival material, the book examines this post-World War II international and national migration linked to military and “Big Science” projects and the effects of this migration on a small southern community, race relations in the South, and negotiations over U.S. history, memory and identity during the Cold War.

Panelist: Xiao An Wu, Huaqiao University
Wu Xiaoan has a professor of history at Peking University and director of its Centre for the Study of Chinese Overseas. He is assuming a position as Huaqiao University Chair Professor and Founding Dean of the Research Institute of Global Chinese and Area Studies (RIGCAS). His many publications include Chinese Business in the Making of a Malay State, 1882-1941: Kedah and Penang ((Chicago 2010).