Since its founding in 2011, the Center for the History of the New America 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’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.
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 Central 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 understand this critical subject.
Migration is a matter of special significance to the United States, a nation of diverse peoples all of whom were at one time or another migrants or immigrants. Migration has shaped all aspects of our nation’s experience. Today’s immigrants arrive from around the world and are incredibly diverse in terms of national, cultural, racial, and religious identity. These new immigrants—from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa—have transformed American society, giving it a different face, a different sound, a different taste.