As ‘ethnic’ history — the nation-to-ethnic-ghetto version of migrant strategies — came to include the process of migration and the socialization, the ‘roots’ of the field were still traced to the Chicago School and Oscar Handlin. European scholarship in the initial stages centred on emigration to North America and followed us approaches. I discuss, to the 1950s, European and Canadian epistemologies of the field and briefly refer to research in other parts of the world. The essays discuss neglected, theoretically and conceptually complex origins of migration studies and history in the us: (1) the Chicago Women’s School of Sociology of Hull House reformers and women economists from the 1880s and the cluster of interdisciplinary scholars at Columbia University (Franz Boas et al.); (2) scholars at the University of Minnesota who included the migrants’ societies of origin; as well as (3) scholars in California (Bogardus, social distance scale) and (4) British Columbia who recovered data collected in the 1920s and read them in modern multicultural perspectives. Against these many threads the emphasis by Chicago scholars, E. Park in particular, and O. Handlin on disorganization and ‘marginal men’ are assessed.
I, first, discuss the ethical and scholarly bases of approaches ‘emancipated’ from mainstream societal discourses. Next, I reinsert into the genealogy of us migration history’s development several ‘early’ research clusters or schools from the 1880s with a focus on other people than white western and northern Europeans. Third, I argue that, in a subsequent phase, such approaches coalesced around Franz Boas and what I call the Columbia University/ Barnard School of interdisciplinary research from the 1890s to the 1950s. Both men and women were part of this group working in the spatial-intellectual context of New York City’s Ellis Island, Greenwich Village, and Harlem. In addition, a network of cooperative scholarly transnational relationships emerged esp. to Polish post-1918 scholarship. I will focus on the Columbia-Barnard scholars’ research on (a) European immigrants and exiles, (b) Mexican migration to and life-ways in the us, and (c) African American (more precisely: ‘African-us’) and African-Caribbean cultures. To emphasise agency and networks I will emphasize individual scholars’ contributions and connections. The question, why this scholarship was ignored or (deliberately?) forgotten, remains latent but any suggestion for an answer can be made.
Migration in Rus’-land, Tsarist Russia and Soviet history received little attention before 1986. Since the 2000s interest has intensified. This issue of the Journal of Migration History provides a synopsis of the continuity as well as multiplicity of migrations from the sixth to the nineteenth century and case studies of different migrations from the late nineteenth century to the 1990s. Migration of state-backed Slavic-speaking peasants in the late nineteenth century into Kazakhs’ grazing lands disrupted the way-of-life of the herders and acerbated class relations between increasingly wealthy and increasingly poor herders. In Tsarist society as a whole, the regime deprived dissidents of ways of expression and encouraged pogroms against Jewish families and communities. Many of those who fled made their way to London and other safe havens. In Parliament, and among the British public in general, a sometimes acrimonious debate about immigration restrictions began. A 1905 anti-alien law kept the door open for political refugees but closed it to impoverished migrants. In wartime after 1914 and far more so after 1941 the state evacuated people before advancing armies and deported others, perceived to be disloyal. In this respect, the change from Tsarist to Bolshevik rule in its Stalinist version was no break – but the much larger quantity of people being moved around led to a new quality: authorities lost sight or interest in distinguishing evacuees from deportees. When, in the late 1950s, control relaxed, young people began to migrate on their own for a limited period of time. The limichiki faced exploitative hiring factories but often supportive state authorities. When glasnost changed the labour regime under neo-liberalist policies, the status of the temporary workers declined. The Tsarist-Soviet/Stalinist-post-1986 sequence of regimes encouraged, hindered or prohibited, and organised a vast variety of free, unfree, and forced labour migrations that were, in part at least, ways of life.
Migrations in the intercontinental macro-region have been studied as proto-Slavic early settlement; as transit zone for Varangian-Arab trade and Byzantine-Kiev interactions; as space of Mongolian intrusion and as a territorially integrated Muscovite state with rural populations immobilised as serfs. This article integrates migrations from and to the neighbouring Scandinavian, East Roman, and Steppe macro-regions up to the fifteenth century and, more briefly, from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. In these poly-ethnic worlds, resident and in-migrant cultural groups adapted in frames of intercultural contact, migration, hierarchies, processes of power imposition and of exchange. An important facet is the ‘small numbers-large impact’ character of many migrations before the advance of Mongol/Tatar armies. From the fifteenth century, elites of the new Muscovite state such as traders and colonisers moved east into Siberia’s societies and attracted technical and administrative personnel from German-language societies. The traditional historiographical narrative, centred on an east-west perspective, is expanded to include the north-south axes of migration and cultural contact.