East-West Passage: Emigration from Central Europe and U.S. Immigration in the 19th and 20th Centuries

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The history of Central and Eastern Europe was shaped by migrations in a major way. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was one of the top ten countries that contributed most significantly to American immigration. An estimated 3.5-4 million citizens of the former Habsburg Monarchy left for the U.S. and subsequent waves of emigrants changed the social composition of Central Europe in a definitive way. After the mass migrations of the fin-de-siècle between the 1880s and World War I an important group of professionals and intellectuals left in the 1920s and 1930s contributing to the growth of American civilization. The U.S. also provided shelter to various groups of Eastern European citizens in the Cold War period.

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Learning outcomes: 

Students will be able to

  • contrast and compare the various intricacies of immigration terminology
  • explain and debate transatlantic social mobility
  • identify and debate about the Austro-Hungarian contribution to US labor force
  • develop a deeper awareness of the concept of brain drain
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Organized discussions
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class participation - 10%
  • Midterm exam - 30%
  • Paper - 30%
  • Final exam - 30%

The midterm and final exams will inclue idenfications of terms, names and dates, a map quiz and essay question.

The page requirements for this paper will be 12-15 pages.

Week Reading
Week 1: The Age of Migrations
  • Koser (full text)
  • Yans-McLaughlin, ed. 187-238
Week 2: The Social Construction of Austro-Hungarian Emigration
  • Puskás 3-10
  • Frank 21-78
Week 3: Changing Patters of U.S. Immigrations Policies in the 19th & earth 20th Centuries
  • Dinnerstein-Reimers 15-84
  • Yans-McLaughlin, ed. 37-75
  • Archdeacon 57-142
Week 4: From the LIteracy Bill to the Quota Laws of 1921 and 1924
  • Tezla 149-219
  • Dinnerstein—Nichols—Reimers 93-144
  • Archdeacon 143-172
Week 5: The Effect of the Quota Laws, 1924-1965
  • Capaldi, ed. 117-154
  • Dinnerstein—Reimers 63-106
  • Archdeacon 202-235

Mid-Term Exam

Week 6: World War I, the Peace Treaties of Paris and Migrations in and from Central Europe
  • Macmillan 3-49, 83-97, 207-270, 459-483
  • Frank 79-120
Week 7: Professional and Intellectual Immigration into the U.S.
  • Congdon 3-42
  • Frank 167-241
  • Wyman (1985) 3-26, 184-222
  • Wyman (1984) 61-142
Week 8: The Effects of World War II; The Cold War and its Impact on Emigration from "Eastern" Europe
  • Capaldi, ed. 161-249
  • Dinnerstein—Reimers 85-106
  • Brimelow 25-114
Week 9: Identities, Assimilation, Multiculturalism
  • Reimers 109-154
  • Dinnerstein—Nichols—Reimers 245-278
  • Dinnerstein—Reimers 173-193
  • Capaldi, ed. 253-322
Week 10: Recent Immigration from Europe
  • Dinnerstein—Nichols—Reimers 194-282
  • Portes—Rumbaut 269-300

Final Exam


Required readings: 
  • Archdeacon, Thomas J. Becoming American. An Ethnic History. New York: The Free Press, 1983.
  • Brimelow, Peter. Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster. HarperPerennial, 1996.
  • Capaldi, Nicholas, ed. Immigration: Debating the Issues. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1997.
  • Congdon, Lee. Exile and Social Thought. Hungarian Intellectuals in Germany and Austria 1919-1933. Princeton University Press, 1991.
  • Dinnerstein, Leonard and David M. Reimers, Ethnic Americans. A History of Immigration. 3rd ed. HarperCollins, 1988.
  • Dinnerstein, Leonard, Roger L. Nichols, David M. Reimers. Natives and Strangers. A Multicultural History of Americans. 4th ed. New York—Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Frank, Tibor. Double Exile: Migrations of Jewish-Hungarian Professionals through Germany to the United States, 1919-1945. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009.
  • Koser, Khalid. International Migration. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2007. MacMillan, Margaret. Paris 1919. New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Portes, Alejandro and Rubén C. Rumbaut. Immigrant America: A Portrait. 2nd ed. Berkeley—Los Angeles—London: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Puskás Julianna. Ties That Bind, Ties That Divide: One Hundred Years of Hungarian Experience in the United States. New York—London: Holmes & Meier, 2000.
  • Reimers, David M. Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn Against Immigration. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
  • Tezla, Albert, ed. The Hazardous Quest. Hungarian Immigrants in the United States 1895-1920. Budapest: Corvina, 1993.
  • Wyman, David S. Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis 1938-1941. New York: Pantheon, 1985. Wyman, David S. The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945. New York: Pantheon, 1984.
  • Wyman, Mark. Round-Trip to America. The Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930. Ithaca—London: Cornell University Press, 1993.
  • Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia, ed. Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology, and Politics. New York— Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1900.