Talking History – November 13, 2017

In this talking history, Professor Steven Harris spoke about his own research on Areoflot History and how it contributed to late socialism within the Soviet Union. Aeroflot was the first and only Soviet Union airline. Professor Harris started his research in the economic archives in the Moscow region. He focuses on state archives, looks into the passenger experiences, and what it was like to fly Aeroflot. Professor Harris stressed the importance of looking at sources in a variety of different ways, and did this by studying the letters of complaints that the Soviet Union strongly encouraged, creating the first ideas of socialism in the Soviet Union. He discovered a Russian journalist who kept the letters of complaints for which he was going to publish in Russia to exploit Aeroflot with their inability to meet the expectations of what they should be providing to the state. The expectations that the State had with the Soviet Union changed with time. When this journalist came to America he donated the letters to the Library of Congress. Professor Harris then went in to the importance of sources and getting those sources peer reviewed. He actually spoke about the conferences he organized around the world, where scholars from everywhere get together and share their own research and provide help to others. At the end of this talking history Professor Harris stressed on the importance of sources, and how throughout writing and researching, peer reviews are necessary when bringing everything together.

Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography and No Lamps

Kevin Kenny’s book review on Kerby Milllers; Emigrants and Exiles, which goes into detail of Irish Amerian historiography. Kenny studies how Miller determined why the Irish were the only group of migrants to feel exiled out of their country. He also points out that Irish historiography has only recently been studied properly. Kenny brings up Donald Akensons thesis on Irish migration and mobility through Austria, New Zealand, and Canada and how this pre-migration culture contributed to this groups progress abroad, concluding that the Miller thesis was inaccurate interpretation of the culture background of these migrants. Kenny also brings up other historians research on the migration of Irish settlers in other parts of the world and how their success there does not explain why Millers thesis about the pre-migration culture and why the Irish thrived so poorly in America. Miller influenced many other historians to study the path of this ethnic groups life. Not only in America but also in other countries. Miller addresses the “whiteness thesis” in his book, this is where white people would experience racism before being made “white” or American white. Kenny ends his review by pointing out the different approaches to Irish American historiography and migration. No Lamps Were Lit for Them: Angel Island and the Historiography of Asian American Immirgaiton, by Roger Daniels is about the history of Angel Island, and the different migrant groups that went through it to gain citizenship. Mainly Asian immigrants passed through this Island before becoming American citizens. Many of these people also gave false names in order to gain access into America. Daniel uses records, papers, census to find the historiography of this group and the difficulties that they went through to get into the country.

Pegler-Gordon Reviews

The first review on Anna Pegler-Gordon’s In Sight of America: Photography and the Development of U.S. Immigration Policy, Colin John Davis analyzes the production of media and its impact on racial knowledge. Davis goes on to discuss the books premise and how photography produces race as a visualizable fact. The second book review by Tara Browner analyzes how photography impacted immigration policy through Pegler-Gordons book. Photography played a major role in how immigrants were viewed, not only to the people of America, but also how they were view by the government. Browner also notes that photography opens up a new form of documentation of the U.S. immigrant experience. The final book review done by Andreas Killen, argues that Pegler-Gordon’s book shows how photography skewed the publics opinion on immigrants, and how it influenced government policies on immigration. Killen discusses specific acts and laws that impacted immigration in America. Killen also discusses how photography also had a impact on the documentation of immigrants. Each of these reviews discusses the different influences that photography had on U.S. immigration discussed within Pegler-Gordon’s book, and throughout each review a different understanding of this impact is discussed by each person.