Greetings from the IHRC!
Immigration is in the news on a daily basis once again as immigrant communities, Congress, and President Obama discuss plans for comprehensive immigration reform. Some parts of these discussions sound familiar to the last time we debated immigration reform in 2006-2007. For those of us who study the past, we can find echoes across the span of U.S. history - the 1980s, 1960s, 1920s, 1880s, and even earlier. Students in my immigration history class this week just read Benjamin Franklin's 1751 musings on the need to populate the American colonies with the "purely white" people from England rather than the "tawny" Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, Germans and Swedes! Of course, there is much that is different about the current conversation about immigration reform as well. Chief among them is the extraordinary new political power that Latinos demonstrated in the recent elections.
At the IHRC, we're following these and other news about immigration closely. We are always pleased when important historical perspectives, like this editorial http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/bruni-my-grandfather-the-outlaw.html?_r=0by from Frank Bruni that appeared in the New York Times (and features a quote from former IHRC Director Donna Gabaccia!)
As we continue our work to connect the history of immigrant and refugee life to current issues and communities, we have a full schedule of talks, events, and community collaborations planned. Please check out our Global REM page http://ihrc.umn.edu/collaboration/globalrem.php for more information. We are also deeply engaged in researching the IHRC's history in preparation for our 50th anniversary in 2015. If you have a story to tell, please share it with us here! http://ihrc.umn.edu/news.php?entry=377971 We've found old press clippings and will be doing some oral histories with our IHRC Friends this semester.
2013 has brought some big changes at the IHRC. I am happy to announce that the College of Liberal Arts and the University Libraries are collaborating to create a new model in support of immigration history research and archives, with a goal of leveraging the synergies between the two organizations. In broad strokes, the current IHRC will transfer responsibility for developing and managing the immigration history research collections (now known as the IHRC Archives) to the Archives and Special Collections division of University Libraries. The IHRC will continue as a College of Liberal Arts research center devoted to promoting research on international migration in the IHRC Archives and beyond. The IHRC and the University Libraries will work closely together in its shared joint mission to support the documentation of diverse immigrant and refugee experiences to support research, teaching, learning, programming, and outreach.
At the same time, the IHRC is joining with nine other College of Liberal Arts research centers to form the West Bank Research Center Hub to provide shared administrative support for our operations. This will allow us to collaborate more closely on programming, seeking grants, research, and connecting with students. We are excited about the new opportunities the Hub will bring, and the new staff that will be part of our team. I am especially pleased to introduce Saengmany Ratsabout, the new IHRC Program Coordinator. Saeng comes to us with a wealth of programming and outreach experience, grant writing, and community service, and we are so fortunate to have him join our IHRC team! For more on Saeng, see his profile. http://ihrc.umn.edu/whoweare/bio_ratsabout.php
Thank you to all who supported us in our recent Annual Appeal. We had another successful year, and with your support, are able to continue our great research, academic programming, and outreach in 2013.
Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History
Director, Immigration History Research Center