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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 2015-2016, these activities include:

  • Immigrant America: New Immigration Histories from 1965 to the Present
  • Immigrant Stories Digital Storytelling Project
  • Global Midwest
  • Global REM
  • Digitizing Immigrant Letters 

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 

Erika Busse, Assistant Professor, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Universidad del Pacífico (Perú)

Erika Busse received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2011. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota funded by the Institute of Diversity, Equity and Advocacy. Her research and teaching interests include transnational migration, race relations, family and gender, and ethnography.  Erika has recently published research on Latino entrepreneurs in Minnesota, and on women left behind. She is currently conducting an ethnography of a Peruvian dance group in MN, to investigate the interplay of gender and context of reception in the process of ethnic identity construction.

Sonia Cancian, Assistant Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Stuides, University College, Zayed University (Dubai)

Sonia Cancian is a migration historian with a special interest in transnational communication, gender and women's studies, family history, and the history of emotions in Canada and Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships, she has presented her research both nationally and internationally.  Cancian is the author of several articles and chapters, including "The Language of Gender in Lovers' Correspondence" (Gender & History, 24,3, 2012), and the book, Families, Lovers, and their Letters: Italian Postwar Migration to Canada (University of Manitoba Press, 2010). The working title of her current book project is 'Tua per sempre': The Letters of Antonietta Petris and Loris Palma. Dr. Sonia Cancian teaches at Zayed University's Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in Dubai, and continues to serve as Project Lead of the Digitizing Immigrant Letters Project at the IHRC. ​​

Maria Cristina GarciaHoward 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 ofSeeking 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 theJournal 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.