Category History

Review of ‘Homesickness: An American History’ by Susan J. Matt

By Sara Burnett In a nation that’s been around for over 200 years, a surprising number of Americans still trace their ancestry to the countries where their families immigrated from before they came to the U.S.  Among the many persistent myths of U.S. immigration, is the one of eternal optimism and relentless enthusiasm despite the […]

Immigration Stories: The more things change, the more they stay the same

I recently had a chance to read a book that I’ve been wanting to dive into for years. Immigration Stories, edited by David A. Martin and Peter H. Schuck, is part of the Stories Series, which relates the political and historical context behind some of the more important case law in a variety of different […]

The Migrants Keep Coming: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series

What are the greatest achievements in American arts on the theme of migration? John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath comes to mind, as do Dorothea Lange’s photographs of migrant farm families. I would add Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series now on show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In sixty small panel paintings, Lawrence […]

Enduring Hunger: Memorialising the Irish Famine Overseas

In the mid 1990s, the 150th anniversary of the Great Famine inspired Irish diaspora communities around the globe to commemorate the deaths of more than one million persons and the displacement of more than two million. These communities were faced with a challenge: how do we publicly memorialise death and survival? Is there a way […]

“Undocumented” is not as old as you think it is

Aviva Chomsky’s most recent book, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (Beacon Press, 2014), brings up a common narrative most American children learn early on in school: “We are a country of immigrants.” Throughout the book, Chomsky questions the historically situated ways in which we have defined who is an immigrant and who is not, largely […]

The repatriation of Aboriginal ancestral remains to Australia

by Rowena Dickins Morrison Last year, for the first time, Aboriginal human remains were returned to Australia from a German institution (as reported here). Nine sets of remains, including some full skeletons, were returned to South Australia by Charité University Hospital in Berlin. This was followed by the return of remains to Queensland, New South […]

Moments’ Monuments: Laurence Aberhart’s “Anzac”

Every immigrant absorbs a new cultural matrix, some of which is predictable, some that surprises. When I moved to New Zealand, I thought I knew my adopted matrix pretty well: after all, I had read Erewhon, owned at least three Crowded House CDs, and admired the cinematic settings of Middle-earth. My aversion to Robbie Williams […]

June is Immigrant Heritage Month in the United States

“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” ― John F. Kennedy Although the United States’ has a long history as an immigrant country, this June marks the first annual Immigrant Heritage Month. Welcome.us, a “non-profit dedicated to celebrating a United States that is fueled by an immigrant tradition,” is leading the […]

Fitting In: Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum

Sometimes the travel gods are against you. Worse, sometimes you hit a bad streak, where your whole decision-making process is off, and one bad decision leads to another. I felt that way on a visit last summer to Bendigo, in the heart of Australia’s nineteenth-century goldmining region. On my first evening I had dinner with […]

The UK Immigration Debate: more of the same, with a side order of ‘managed migration’

by Erica Consterdine Judging by the sheer scale of coverage in the press on immigration, and the constant barrage of ‘getting control of the borders’ from politicians on all sides of the house, you may consider that immigration is an issue which is finally facing serious and considered debate. But is this a ‘new’ debate? After […]