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Affiliated Scholars

The University of Minnesota has a long history of studying immigration as a dynamic force in American life. Today, the University and its surrounding region are home to one of the largest interdisciplinary clusters of experts on immigration, race, and ethnicity.

This program brings together local, regional, national, and international scholars to foster collaborative research and programming and to highlight the IHRC’s role as a regional, national, and international hub of research excellence.

Who are Affiliated Scholars?

U of M Affiliated Scholars include invited faculty and graduate students who are actively involved in IHRC-sponsored research and community-engagement activities. In 2016-2017, these activities include:

  • Immigrant Stories Digital Storytelling Project
  • Global Race, Ethnicity, and Migration
  • #ImmigrationSyllabus
  • Global Minnesota

Affiliated scholars are listed on the IHRC website and become part of the IHRC’s international community of researchers invited to participate in IHRC events, connect with other scholars, and engage in collaborative activities. Affiliated Scholars may be expected to participate in, or attend some IHRC activities as well as respond to requests for information.

Visiting Affiliated Scholars may also access available research collections of the IHRC Archives, short-term space and computer use (depending on availability), and the opportunity to give a research presentation. The IHRC is not able to officially sponsor international scholars visitors and the Affiliated Scholars Program offers no financial support. Affiliation is renewed on an as-needed basis.

The Affiliated Scholars Program is by invitation-only. For more information, contact Director Erika Lee at

IHRC Affiliated Scholars

Kelly Condit-Shrestha

Research Associate, Immigration History Research Center

Kelly Condit-Shrestha is a transnational U.S. historian of migration, adoption, critical race, and Asian American studies. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Minnesota. Her research argues that child placement, the transfer of children from one authority to another, is a history of mobility and migration. She is fascinated by what we can learn about the United States and world history by analyzing children who are placed out, whether for economic or humanitarian rationales, as child migrants operating within transnational social, cultural, and political systems. She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Adoption and American Empire: Migration, Race-Making, ad the Child, 18445-1988. As the IHRC’s Research Associate, Kelly will expand her research on transnational adoption and child placement history, present research in the IHRC’s Global Race, Ethnicity, and Migration lecture series, and organize a Fall 2018 research symposium that highlights the intersections of different (im)migrant community histories. Kelly also serves as Lead Historian on the Vision and Strategy Group of the Adoption Museum Project's Public History Initiative.

Maria Cristina Garcia

Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies; Professor, Department of History and the Latino Studies Program, Cornell University; President, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

Maria Cristina Garcia is the Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Cornell University, where she teaches courses on 20thcentury US history, immigration and refugee history, and Latino history.  She also holds a joint appointment in Cornell’s Latino Studies Program.  She is the author of Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, the United States, and Canada and Havana USA: Cuban exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida. A third book project, Refuge in Post-Cold War America, is currently in press.  García is president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (2015-2018).

Maddalena Marinari

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Gustavus Adolphus College

Maddalena Marinari is assistant professor of history at Gustavus Adolphus College. In 2014, she published an article on the history of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act in the Journal of Policy History, and she has an article on the coalition that emerged to mobilize against the 1952 Immigration Act forthcoming in the Journal of American Ethnic History. She is currently in the final stages of revising a book manuscript, From Unwanted to Restricted, on Italian and Jewish mobilization against restrictive immigration laws from 1882 to 1965. Her next project will examine the multi-country process that enabled Italian migrants to enter the United States illegally from the 1880s to the early 1970s.

Bryan Pekel

Research Fellow, Immigration History Research Center

Bryan Pekel holds a master's of arts degree in history from Florida International University and is currently finishing his doctoral thesis in history at the University of Minnesota, titled, “Colonial Discourses: Radical Politics, Emigration, and Colonization in Great Britain, 1815-67.” Bryan is interested in the competing claims/desires/imagined futures about life in the British colonies of settlement during these years. Specifically, he is interested in the ways that Britain’s elites saw the colonies as a palliative for the miseries of the poor, a reprieve from political and social unrest, and a means of supplying colonial industries with much needed labor. But Britain’s working classes were not the enthusiastic imperialists so often imagined. During this period they developed their own ideas on how to uplift the poor: political enfranchisement, domestic land reform, or emigrating to lands completely outside of Britain’s reach. While a fellow at the IHRC, Bryan will research the Parliamentary debates that led to the passing of the 1834 South Australia Act and the advent of government-assisted passages for British emigrants to the Antipodes.