IEHS at the 2019 OAH Annual Meeting

The Immigration and Ethnic History Society
an Annual Meeting Participating Organization

Founded in 1965, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society promotes the study of the history of immigration to North America from all parts of the world. The Society publishes the quarterly Journal of American Ethnic History and the twice-yearly Newsletter. We sponsor prizes for outstanding books and articles and an award to encourage promising dissertation research.

The IEHS adopts a broad perspective that encompasses the history of coerced and voluntary migration, acculturation and conflict, race and indigeneity, and regional, national, and transnational contexts. The Society holds its annual meeting and dinner in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians. We also help organize sessions on immigration and ethnicity at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, the Labor and Working-Class History Association, the Latin American Studies Association, the Social Science History Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Western History Association.

For this year’s OAH Annual Meeting, the IEHS has solicited two panels, “Freedom of Movement in the Slavery Era: Defining, Regulating, and Limiting the Movement of Migrants and Sailors in the 19th Century” and “Rethinking 1924–1965 in U.S. Immigration History for Today’s World.” In addition, we have endorsed ten panels, sessions, and workshops ranging in subject matter from the underground railroad to contemporary African American migration, post–Civil War politics, gender and U.S. imperialism in the Philippines, immigrant activism, the exercise of U.S. migration policy abroad, suburban Latinos and Asian Americans in postwar Southern California, twentieth-century Mexican American activists, and the politics of caring labor.

IEHS members have a strong engagement with public history and a commitment to providing a historical context for contemporary debates surrounding immigration issues. Recent examples include the panel, “Immigration Control and Resistance: Historicizing the Present Moment, a Conversation between Historians and Activists,” organized by Andrew Urban and Chantal Rodriguez for the 2018 AHA, which will be published as part of a special issue by the Journal of American History; and the Chat Room Seminar on the history of birthright citizenship in the United States at this year’s OAH meeting led by IEHS member Hidetaka Hirota. The society also maintains a lively blog where members post on past and current events and an annual blog competition for graduate students.

IEHS activities at the 2019 OAH Annual Meeting

Thursday, April 4
Dessert before Dinner Reception

Friday, April 5

Freedom of Movement in the Slavery Era: Defining, Regulating, and Limiting the Movement of Migrants and Sailors in the 19th Century
Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and endorsed by the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)

Chair and Commentator: Lucy Salyer, University of New Hampshire

The Business of Migration, 1830–1880
Katherine Carper, Boston College

The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic
Kevin Kenny, Boston College

The Crew of the Higginson: Race, Rights, and Border Control in Antebellum South Carolina
Michael Schoeppner, University of Maine-Farmington

Inventing the Immigrant Welfare State in Nineteenth-Century New York
Brendan O'Malley, Newbury College

Rethinking 1924–1965 in U.S. Immigration History for Today’s World
Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS)

Although the landmark 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act marked a departure from decades of immigration restrictions based on race and national origins, new kinds of discrimination surfaced in the form of preferred categories and limits on immigrants from Latin America. This panel discussion revisits the period between 1924 and 1965 through different topics such as extraterritorial immigration controls, transnational migrant smuggling, a Japanese guest worker program, and continued legislative debates on nationality- and race-based immigration policies. How can this period inform us about contemporary debates on “good” immigrants, race and nation as categories for exclusion, and refugee and asylum policies?

Chair: Madeline Hsu, University of Texas-Austin
• Kathleen Lopez, Rutgers University
• Elliott Young, Lewis & Clark College
• Eiichiro Azuma, University of Pennsylvania
• Ruth Wasem, University of Texas at Austin

Saturday, April 6

Immigration Advocacy: Then and Now
Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS)

One of the stories of American freedom is the story of immigrants and immigration. Newcomers to the nation have sought refuge and struggled for freedom, faced the denial or restriction of freedom, made sacrifices and met the obligations of freedom, and have come to represent the value and meaning of freedom. This roundtable discussion will provide a historical perspective on current immigration advocacy, focusing on immigration advocates, inside and outside the United States, who have lobbied, litigated, and worked on behalf of newcomers to help them attain liberty, safety, opportunity, and equality in America.

Chair: Rachel Ida Buff, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
• Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts
• Katherine Benton-Cohen, Georgetown University
• Yael Schacher, University of Texas at Austin
• Jane Hong, Occidental College

Chat Room Seminar:
What is Birthright Citizenship, What Threats Has it Faced in the United States, and Why is it Under Attack Today?
Solicited by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS)
Commentator: Hidetaka Hirota, Waseda University

Endorsed Session Titles

  • Inclusions and Exclusions: Race, Region, and Women's Enfranchisement
  • Looking Outside the Nation: The Exercise of U.S. Migration Policy and Law Abroad
  • Racial Politics in the Suburbs: Latinos and Asian Americans in Postwar Southern California
  • Working for Freedom: The Often Ignored Labors of the Underground Railroad and New Directions for Understanding
  • Twentieth Century Mexican American Activists: Political Biographies of Gender and Leadership
  • Continuing the Work of Freedom: Understudied African American Migrations and the Search for Opportunities and Rights
  • Immigration Activism and the Labors of Freedom
  • Keywords of Post–Civil War Politics in the United States
  • The Politics of Caring Labor: Histories of Race, Gender, and Migration in the 20th Century

    Kevin Kenny is Professor of History at Boston College, where he teaches the history of American immigration and global migration. He is the author of Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction (2013), which examines the origins, meanings, and utility of a central concept in the study of migration; Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn's Holy Experiment (2009), an inquiry into the encounter between Ulster colonists and Native Americans in the eighteenth century; The American Irish (2000), a standard history of the field; and Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998), which considers how traditions of Irish rural protest were translated into an American industrial setting. He served as contributing editor for Ireland and the British Empire (2004), which launched The Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series and he has published articles about Irish migration and the category of diaspora in such venues as Irish Economic and Social History, the Journal of American History, and the Journal of American Ethnic History. Kenny is currently working on a book about the intersection between immigration and slavery in the United States from the American Revolution through Reconstruction.


Posted: December 14, 2018
Tagged: Conference, OAH Works, Around the Profession, Resources