The Borders of Integration: Polish Migrants in Germany and the United States, 1870-1924

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Ohio University Press, Jul 12, 2011 - History - 270 pages
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The issues of immigration and integration are at the forefront of contemporary politics. Yet debates over foreign workers and the desirability of their incorporation into European and American societies too often are discussed without a sense of history. McCook’s examination questions static assumptions about race and white immigrant assimilation a hundred years ago, highlighting how the Polish immigrant experience is relevant to present-day immigration debates on both sides of the Atlantic. Further, his research shows the complexity of attitudes toward immigration in Germany and the United States, challenging historical myths surrounding German national identity and the American “melting pot.”

In a comparative study of Polish migrants who settled in the Ruhr Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania, McCook shows that in both regions, Poles become active citizens within their host societies through engagement in social conflict within the public sphere to defend their ethnic, class, gender, and religious interests. While adapting to the Ruhr and northeastern Pennsylvania, Poles simultaneously retained strong bonds with Poland, through remittances, the exchange of letters, newspapers, and frequent return migration. In this analysis of migration in a globalizing world, McCook highlights the multifaceted ways in which immigrants integrate into society, focusing in particular on how Poles created and utilized transnational spaces to mobilize and attain authentic and more permanent identities grounded in newer broadly conceived notions of citizenship.

 

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Contents

Migration and Citizenship in a Globalizing World
1
Migration and Settlement
17
The Face of Mining
38
Breaking Barriers
54
Becoming Mining Men
70
Divided Hearts Divided Faith
101
Gallery
121
Challenging State and Society
121
War and Polish Communities Transformed 191424
146
Determining the Borders of Integration
164
Appendix
173
Notes
175
Bibliography
239
Index
257
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About the author (2011)

Brian McCook is a senior lecturer in history and politics at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the German Historical Institute, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Center.


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