Chapter

Introduction

Camille Guérin-Gonzales

in Workers Across the Americas

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199731633
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894420 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731633.003.0016
Introduction

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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The following chapters offer important insights into the uneasy tension between exclusionary practices of nation building in the early years of the twentieth century and the continued reliance of the United States on the transnational migration of labor. The authors examine the process of state building without seeing that process or its ultimate geographical expression—fixed borders and sovereign states—as determining migration patterns or migrants’ sense of belonging. Far from it, in fact. They suggest new ways of thinking about the study of human migrations by using a transnational approach to examine the microlevel life projects of individual migrants and groups of migrants and, in the process, illustrate the entwined historicity and contingency of those movements to, from, and around North America. They tackle three questions of particular interest to the study of workers, the nation-state, and transnationalism: How did internationalism shape the meanings of identity and citizenship? How did international migration challenge ideas of American exceptionalism? How did migrant workers draw on their transnational experiences to gain control over their everyday lives?

Keywords: transnational migration; internationalism; nation-state; workers; American exceptionalism

Chapter.  2386 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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