University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

Affiliated Scholars

IHRC. The University of Minnesota has a long history of studying immigration as a formative element of American life. Today the university and its surrounding region are home to one of the largest, interdisciplinary clusters of scholar/teacher/student experts on immigration, race and ethnicity, and plural nations anywhere in the middle of the continent. For a quick introduction to the long history of immigration and refugee studies at the University of Minnesota, read the article “Minnesota School” by Donna Gabaccia..

Are you interested in becoming an affiliated scholar even though you’re not a member of the University of Minnesota faculty? Here are some guidelines.

The IHRC is proud to list as affiliated scholars for 2012-2013:

University of Minnesota

Hakim Abderrezak, Department of French and Italian

Cawo Abdi, Department of Sociology

Ryan Allen, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Martha Bigelow, Curriculum and Instruction

Bianet Castellanos, American Studies

David Chang, Department of History

Gary Cohen, Chair, Department of History

Molly Rojas Collins, Postsecondary Teaching and Learning

Evelyn Davidheiser, Director, Institute for  Global Studies

Katherine Fennelly, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs  (Winter 2011)

Jennifer Gunn, History of Medicine

Haven Hawley, Immigration History Research Center

Walt Jacobs, Chair, African American and African Studies

David Karjanen, American Studies

Kendall King, Curriculum and Instruction

Erika Lee, History and Asian-American Studies

Diyah Larasati, Department of Theatre Arts & Dance

Saje Mathieu, Department of History

Joanna O'Connell, Spanish and Portuguese

Eileen Sivert, French and Italian 

Catherine Solheim, Family Social Science


Visiting for 2012-2013

Adam Hjorthén (January 2013 - June 2013)


Interdisciplinary Research Projects

1. "Gender Ratios and International Migration"

Katherine Donato, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University

Johanna Leinonen, General History, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku

Trent Alexander, Trent Alexander, Census Bureau

Annemarie Steidl, Department of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna

Elizabeth Zanoni, Department of History, Old Dominion University


2. "Understanding the Migration Experience: The Austrian-American Connection, 1870-1914" (Center for Austrian Studies, MPC, IHRC)

Wladimir Fischer, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban History, Vienna

Annemarie Steidl, Department of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna

James Oberly, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


3. "Digitaizing Immigrant Letters"


Sonia Cancian, Lead scholar, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Faculty of Arts and Science, Concordia University

Marija Dalbello, Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Wladimir Fischer, University of Vienna

Ilze Garoza, College of Education and Human Development

Ihar Labacevich, Intern, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Halyna Myroniuk, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Daniel Necas, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Keit Osadchuck, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Bruno Ramirez, Department of History, University of Montreal

Annemarie Steidl, Department of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna

Scholarly Advisory Committee:

Suzanne Sinke, Florida State University
Walter Kamphoefner, Texas A&M University
John Willis, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa
Ursula Lehmkuhl, Trier University
Wolfgang Helbich, Bochum University, emeritus
Solveig Zempel, St. Olaf
David Fitzpatrick, Trinity College Dublin

Trent Alexander is a Supervisory Survey Statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau, where he is Chief of Data Analysis and User Education for the American Community Survey. His main research interests are in migration, historical demography, and the creation and dissemination of demographic data resources. Before coming to the Census Bureau, Trent worked as a Research Scientist for the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota, where he managed the IPUMS-USA project.

Sonia Cancian is a historian affiliated with the University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center, where she is lead scholar for the Immigrant Narratives Online: Letters in International Archives research project under the direction of Prof. Donna Gabaccia. In Montreal, Canada, she teaches at Concordia University’s Dept. of History, and is affiliated with the Centre d'Etudes Ethniques des Universités Montréalaises (CEETUM)at the University of Montreal. Her research focuses on immigrant correspondence in the context of international migration. In addition to her work at the IHRC, she has published and presented her research widely and internationally. Her book Families, Lovers and their Letters: Italian Postwar Migration to Canada (University of Manitoba Press, 2010) represents a first in the analysis of Italian immigrant and homeland correspondence exchanged in postwar Italy and Canada. Dr Cancian is concurrently working on a large collection of love letters for her second book, whose publication by McGill-Queen's University Press, is anticipated for 2013.

Marija Dalbello is an associate professor of information science and director of doctoral studies at Rutgers University's School of Communication and Information. She received her doctorate at the University of Toronto with a dissertation on transnational print culture of diaspora Croatians. Her current research, teaching and publications focus on visual genres, history of information, and history of the book. She co-edited Print Culture in Croatia: The Canon and the Borderlands (2006) with Tinka Katic; and Visible Writings: Cultures, Forms, Readings (2011) with Mary Shaw. She is currently writing a book on ceremonies of information in the Habsburg sphere. She co-directs Rutgers Seminar in the History of the Book.

Katharine M. Donato is a Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Since 2006, Dr. Donato has been a principal investigator on a tri-city project that examines immigrant parent involvement in schools (with Dr. Marshall in Political Science at Rice University). With funding from The National Science and Russell Sage Foundations as well as from Vanderbilt's Center for Nashville Studies, Dr. Donato has supervised the collection of a unique data set from interviews with immigrant parents in New York, Chicago, and Nashville. Together with Dr. Marshall, they use these new data to supplement existing analyses of federal school data and examine variation in immigrant parent involvement and school outreach programs.  

Wladimir Fischer is researcher at the University of Vienna, History Department. His main areas of interest are Balkan migration, nationalism, class, and popular cultures in the city. He is author of Dositej Obradović als bürgerlicher Kulturheld (2007) and co-editor of Räume und Grenzen in Österreich-Ungarn, 1867-1914 (2010).

Ilze Garoza is a Program Development Associate at the American Latvian Association. In 2011, she graduated from the University of Minnesota with an M.A. degree from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Her research interests are intersection of forced and voluntary migration, acculturation, and heritage language and culture preservation within America's ethnic communities. More specifically, Ilze has focused on what role Latvian educational institutions in the U.S. play in Latvian language and culture preservation, overcoming boundaries, political refugees, and voluntary migrants from Latvia. 

Johanna Leinonen holds a Master’s Degree in General History from the University of Turku, Finland, and a Ph.D. Degree in History from the University of Minnesota. Her areas of specialization include international marriage migration, transnational families, gender and migration, and highly skilled migration. In 2012–2014, she is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (University of Turku, Finland). Her post-doctoral project focuses on public discussions surrounding international marriages, migration, and national identity in Finland from the 1980s to the present.

Jim Oberly is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His publications include A Nation of Statesmen: The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1816-1972, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. He received his B.A. degree from Columbia University in 1975, his M.A. degree from the University of Rochester in 1977, and his Ph.D. in history, also from the University of Rochester in 1982. He joined the faculty at UW-Eau Claire in 1983 and has taught in the summer program at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2002-2007), and for the past two years worked as a visiting faculty member at the Minnesota Population Center, Center for Austrian Studies, and Immigration History Research Center, all at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Bruno Ramirez is professor of history at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of several studies on the history of Italian migration to Canada and to the U.S. He has also published extensively on the history of intra-continental migrations (North America). His books include On the Move: French-Canadian and Italian Migrants in the North Atlantic Economy, 1860-1914 (Toronto, Oxford of Canada, 1991) and Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migrations from Canada to the U.S., 1900-1930 (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2001). Both books are available in French translation. As a screenwriter, he has contributed to a cinematic history of the Italian experience in Canada through the films Caffé Italia, Montréal; La Sarrasine; La déroute; and Il Duce Canadese. More recently he has directed and produced the documentary Sempre, Rudi: A Minnesota Diary –an homage to the life contribution of historian Rudolph Vecoli (

Annemarie Steidl is an assistant professor at the University of Vienna, Department of Economic and Social History. In 2011 she was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the History Department of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She finished her doctoral degree on the regional mobility of Central European artisans in the 18th and 19th centuries at the University of Vienna in 1999, and worked there in various research projects. Her main research interests are migration studies, social and economic history of urban environments in Central Europe, gender history and quantitative methods.

Elizabeth Zanoni is assistant professor in the History Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  She completed her dissertation on gendered migratory and commercial links between Italians in Italy, the U.S., and Argentina during the late 19th and early 20th century.  Her research interests include international migration, consumer culture, gender, and food history.  She completed much of her research on the history of Italian immigration and commerce at the Immigration History Research Center.

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