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Center for Global Migration Studies



About the Center Since its founding in 2011, the Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, has sought to advance teaching and interdisciplinary research around issues of migration and immigration. As part of this work, the Center is committed to learning from and engaging with local immigrant communities. Working in collaboration with numerous academic departments on campus, with community organizations, and with government institutions in Washington, D.C., the Center is pioneering new ways of producing and sharing knowledge about the processes of migration. The Center regards migration as a matter of paramount importance. At present, nearly every nation is wrestling with the creation of equitable and practical policies to address the massive movement of peoples that has come to characterize the twenty-first century. The last few years have witnessed historical migrations from the Middle East and Northern Africa to Europe and from Asian and Latin American nations to the United States. Migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers around the world are transforming local politics, economies, and cultures. In an ever more global world, in which movement is multi-directional and the

patterns constantly changing, the Center is bringing its expertise to improve understanding of this critical subject. The Center’s work concentrates on researching historical and contemporary migrations, training faculty and students, documenting and archiving the stories of local immigrants, empowering immigrant communities by connecting them to the University of Maryland and local organizations, and disseminating information about the immigrant experience to a broad public. The Center serves as a model of interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching on the topic of migration and immigration, with a particular capacity to bridge the humanities, public policy, and social sciences. It brings together historians, sociologists, anthropologists, lawyers, political scientists, and others to share their diverse approaches to the study of migration.

Research Projects and Education Center faculty and staff are engaged in several ongoing research projects. These project cross disciplines and are undertaken in collaboration with colleagues around the globe. The Center also offers UMD students the opportunity to take courses in Immigration and Migration Studies.

Community Outreach The Center connects pioneering research on immigration to community partners and then brings the fruits of that collaboration back to stimulate further campus research and teaching. Faculty scholarship and student internships build strong connections to local immigrant communities.



Leadership Directors Ira Berlin is Co-Director of the Center and Distinguished University Professor of History. His most recent book, The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States, draws upon decades of study to offer a framework for understanding slavery’s demise in the United States, weaving the distinct characteristics of emancipation into a larger narrative of the meaning of American freedom. Julie Greene is Co-Director of the Center and Professor of History with particular interest in the history of labor, the working-class, and immigration. Her most recent book, The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal, focuses on the tens of thousands of workingmen and workingwomen who traveled from all around the world to live and labor on the canal project. Christina Getrich is Associate Director of the Center and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on health disparities among Hispanic immigrants and on immigration policies and

enforcement practices, citizenship and belonging, identity, second-generation youth, and immigrant families.

Affiliated Faculty The Center’s Affiliated Faculty include scholars engaged in a broad range of research on immigration policy, the migrant experience, and related issues. Faculty Affiliates take part in the Center’s work-inprogress seminars, conferences, film series,

and research projects. CLUSTER FACULTY In 2012, the “cluster hire” in Migration Studies brought to the University of Maryland five leading scholars in the fields of American Studies, Anthropology, Languages, Sociology, and Theater. These faculty offer advice and support for the Center’s mission. Learn more here:

Leadership Council The Center’s Leadership Council is comprised of community leaders from the worlds of policy, media, philanthropy, and business. Members of the Council advise the Center on matters of development and outreach.

The Council’s members include:

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Aldo Bello, founder of Mind & Media, Inc. Michael DiVirgilio, Director of Collective Bargaining with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Tim Driscoll, Executive Vice President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers

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Neil Horikoshi, President of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund Michael Lin, former President of the Organization of Chinese Americans Marc Schliefer, President of Equity Planning, Inc. Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Ruth Wasem, Clinical Professor of Public Policy Practice, University of Texas



Fall 2017 Highlights Special Screening and Discussion


On October 18, the Center will host a screening of the documentary film, Complicit, which weaves the story of the SS St Louis into the political drama unfolding within the Roosevelt Administration regarding its policies on the Jewish refugee issues during World War II. The film addresses issues of immigration, refugee policy, and the world’s response to genocide.

The Center will be co-sponsoring two conferences in the Fall 2017 semester. The September 30 event, “The Latin Diaspora and the Great Central American Migration,” will include academic scholarship, student presentations, community organizing panels, and a discussion led by Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras.

In addition to the film screening, this event will feature a panel discussion led by Distinguished University Professor Jeffrey Herf, documentarian Robert Krakow, and five of the survivors of the SS St. Louis. Also speaking at the event will be former Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat.

On November 10 and 11, the Center will partner with Departments of English and History to examine the migration of people and ideas in the medieval and early modern world.

For updates on events, check our webpage or social media accounts!

Immigration in K-12 Education

According to the Migration Policy Institute, in 2009, there were about 16.9 million children age 17 and under with at least one immigrant parent. They accounted for 23.8 percent of the 70.9 million children age 17 and under in the United States.

In collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the Center is conducting research in the field of education with the goal of assessing the state of the field regarding the teaching and learning of immigration history. Together, we are assessing how migration and immigration are being taught in K-12 schools across the United States. The data and analysis generated by the research will serve as the basis for the creation of a new framework for teaching migration/immigration across the country. The study of Immigration and Migration can provide a rich civic learning environment for all students, yet our preliminary research shows that the teaching of this subject is fragmented and contemporary stories of immigration and migration are not given

equal historical weight with those of the past. Understanding the historical and contemporary experiences and effects of immigration and migration is crucial not only to an appreciation of American history but also to a fostering of civic engagement. Information gathered from this study will help raise awareness of the diversity of modern American life and serve as an important resource to educators and policymakers as they develop a curriculum that more accurately reflects the dynamic impact of immigration and migration, while also helping inform new educational practices and policies.



IMMIGRATION & MIGRATION STUDIES The University of Maryland is home to leading scholars and researchers in the fields of Immigration and Migration Studies.

Educational Mission The Center brings together faculty, students, and the general public to study migration and the immigrant experience. Scholarly conferences augment the educational mission of the Center.

Research and Scholarship Scholarship lies at the heart of the Center’s mission. Such work takes many forms from international conferences to academic courses to opportunities for faculty and graduate students to share their works-inprogress.

Academic Conferences

Transcript Notation Students at the University of Maryland can earn a transcript notation indicating their specialization in Immigration and Migration Studies.


The Center’s annual conference explores a major question in im/migration scholarship across a range of disciplines. These international conferences function as critical forums on which to disseminate new research on migration studies and through which to educate a wide public. Conference themes have included: 

13% Immigrants represent 13% of the American population.

40 million 40 million people residing in the United States are immigrants.

A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS These new immigrants—from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa—have transformed the campus of the University of Maryland just as they have transformed American society.

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Born in the USA: The Politics of Birthright Citizenship in Comparative Perspective Immigration and Entrepreneurship The Migrant Metropolis Health Across Borders: Migration, Disease, Medicine, and Public Health in a Global Age Remaking America: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and Its Impact Organizing for Power and Workers’ Rights in the 21st Century Crimmigration: In the Shadow of Sovereignty Census 2020

Research Projects The Center’s faculty, staff, and students conduct wide-ranging research on migration and immigration. These projects encompass multiple research disciplines and methods, including statistical analysis, oral history, and

the digital humanities. Among the Center’s signature projects are:      

Global Labor Migration Network Archive of Immigrant Voices Documenting Deportation African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities Teaching and Learning of Immigration in K-12 Schools Transforming the Afro-Caribbean World

Ongoing Series Each month, the Center sponsors a number of events to bring together students, faculty, and the public. It hosts a monthly “Immigration in Film Series” to promote an understanding of the multiple experiences of immigrants. It sponsors a group that reads popular fiction about or by immigrants. And it welcomes researchers and scholars to share their work in informal presentations. All of these programs are open to the public.   

Immigration Reading Group Immigration Film Series Migration Exchanges

Forums The Center’s semi-regular forums focus on issues of immediate significance. Typically, the Center invites experts to explain or lead a discussion on topics in the news for the general public. Past forms have examined issues such as the 2015 Syrian migrant crisis, immigration policy questions in the elections of 2012 and 2016, and violence directed toward immigrants after the 2011 massacre in Sweden.



Courses The University of Maryland is home to dozens of faculty researching and teaching migration studies. Students at UMD have the opportunity to earn a transcript notation in Immigration and Migration Studies. Students completing the notation have pursued careers in public health, public policy, law, and economics. Students also have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning through the Center’s many partnerships. Students may conduct research or complete internships at a wide range of policy, community, or service organizations.


To hear or read these stories, visit the Archive’s website at:

The Archive of Immigrant Voices creates, accumulates, and preserves a repository of memories that reveals living history and documents the fine lines of social change that might be otherwise ignored or lost to history. These stories provide the basis for understanding how newcomers adapt to challenges and successes. The Archive unites the Center's mission to advance scholarship and teaching while enhancing the Center's connection to migrant communities by capturing, recording, and preserving the experience of migration, dislocation, and community formation as immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, and other newcomers themselves understood it. In addition to housing these oral history interviews, the Archive also contains further information on the history of immigration, educator resources, and tools for conducting oral histories.




Global Labor Migration Network The Center for Global Migration Studies has created a global, interdisciplinary, network of scholars focused on contemporary and historical labor migration. This network seeks to generate intellectual dialogue, faculty and student exchanges, collaborative projects, virtual communities, workshops, conferences, and publications. The CGMS is committed to studying migration through interdisciplinary collaborations and through a global framework. It is also committed to a model of engaged scholarship and pedagogy that seeks to illuminate contemporary social problems. The conditions surrounding global labor migration today—unprecedented in world history—provide the challenge and opportunity for precisely this model of engaged scholarship and pedagogy. Labor migration is a vast, global, and highly fluid phenomenon in the 21st century. There are more labor migrants working in areas beyond their birth country or region than ever before. According to the United Nations, 232 million people—more than 3% of the world’s population—are living today outside their country of citizenship. More than half of these are migrant workers. If we include internal labor migrants, the numbers soar much higher. In China alone, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, there are today 262 million internal labor migrants. This fluid system of migration is shaping most parts of the globe, from South and North America to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Labor migrants are vulnerable: they are exploited more easily by recruiters and employers, and are less likely to benefit from union representation. They often face arrest or deportation when attempting to fight for their rights, and are bound to special documents that limit their ability to change jobs. They can become enmeshed in debt bondage, and routinely face separation from family members as well as social isolation. Roughly half are women. And although there are many efforts underway to regulate and improve the conditions migrant workers face by such organizations as the United Nations and the ILO, as well as various NGO’s and regionally-based efforts, so far they are insufficient for protecting laborers.

Labor migration is not only a pressing social issue; it is also a growing area of scholarship and research in a wide variety of disciplines. In sociology, anthropology, public health, education, and public policy, there is renewed and energetic attention to labor migration. And global labor migration concerns not only social scientists but also humanities scholars. Historians are lavishing attention on the journeys of those who moved to make their living, whether voluntarily or under conditions of coercion, such as slaves or indentured laborers. From the Irish and Chinese who laid railroad tracks in the 19th century, to contemporary Filipina care workers, or South Asians building soccer arenas, labor migrants’ experiences form a major concern for humanities and social science scholars alike. Because global labor migration is shaping the lives of millions, and because it is receiving unprecedented attention by scholars, the time is right for an international and interdisciplinary scholarly network. This network unites social scientists and humanities scholars because connecting the work being done on labor migration in the contemporary world with those historicizing the phenomenon will lend the project much power, insight, and cross-fertilization. It involves scholars from diverse parts of the globe because only that will fully illuminate the continuities and contrasts facing diverse workers, while also allowing for global exchange about the range of intellectual cultures and methodologies available for expanding knowledge on this topic. This project will bring international attention to one of the world’s most pressing issues, generate scholarly dialogue and new research agendas, and propose policies that can improve conditions for migrants.

GLMN Scholars in College Park Scholars from around the world gathered in College Park in April 2017 to share research, exchange information, and plan future collaborations.

Workers on the Move The GLMN project studies labor migration around the world to find common patterns and to share solutions. By focusing on one aspect of migration, the GLMN is able to bring the lens of critical scholarship to a complex and multinational issue.

Interdisciplinary Scholarship Researchers in both the humanities and the social sciences are represented in the GLMN. By connecting the historical to the contemporary, GLMN’s scholarship offers greater context and understanding.



Community Outreach As immigration has rapidly and powerfully transformed our local community and the nation at large, and as political tensions around immigration have escalated, there is an urgent need for public scholarship focused specifically around this topic.

Scholars and students affiliated with the Center are already making key connections with immigrant populations. Such work enhances undergraduate and graduate education by training students in community and global outreach. 

Internship in Migration Studies Undergraduate students across disciplines and schools have opportunities to work with faculty on research projects or to partner with local community or policy organizations. They may also complete a service learning project combined with structured classroom education.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Maryland Associate Director Christina Getrich’s newest project explores the health and well-being of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in Maryland. She is leading a team of UMD graduate and undergraduate anthropology students to determine how this population’s access to care, health conditions, and overall well-being have changed as a result of DACA.

Health Expo In partnership with the Maryland Center for Health Equity and the Archdiocese of Washington, the Center hosted a health fair that connected community members to health professionals and organizations. The 2014 health fair provided dental care to 1,200 people. It also provided free HIV screening, blood pressure tests, and glucose screenings. The next health fair is scheduled for September 2017.

Refugee Language Skills Project In partnership with New Horizons, Inc., the Center is providing free English mentoring for refugees of all ages and skill levels. Students and refugees gather in College Park and in Riverdale to practice conversational skills.

Future Initiatives 

Institute of Social Engagement In the future, the Center plans to host a two-day interactive institute that will train students in the concepts of social engagement and public scholarship, with an emphasis on local opportunities to work on policy and social resources related to immigration and migration. The program will be open to 25 students across all disciplines. The institute will include thematic sessions with faculty members on immigration policy and history, as well as workshops with community representatives.

Migration Theater In the future, the Center plans to develop a theater project using the narratives derived from the Archive of Immigrant Voices project to stage theatrical readings. The theater project will mount productions in local school and community group venues.


Center for Global Migration Studies STAY IN TOUCH! 2137 Francis Scott Key Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 Twitter: @UMD_CGMS

Photo Credits “Ellis Island” by Ludavic Bertron (p.1); "Statue of Liberty Silhouette, from Red Hook, Brooklyn" by Chris Goldberg (p.2); “Wall Mural in Nogales” by Jonathan McIntosh (p.5) [all licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0].


Profile for Center for Global Migration Studies

Center Overview  

Learn more about the Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland

Center Overview  

Learn more about the Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland