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‘Money has no smell’: travellers, traders and ‘economic migrants’

Political discourse has often been rhetorically hostile to 'economic migrants', while at the same time political cultures and economic structures across western Europe and North American (and indeed across the globe) have strongly favoured cheap, flexible and ever-available labour. In relation to migration -- and perhaps especially migration from African nations -- this contradiction has proven dangerous and unstable, but also rich in opportunities. From students to professionals to street traders, Africans have migrated to Europe and North America in large numbers especially in the twentieth century. Here we will explore and contrast the experiences of elite (usually students and professional) and non-elite migrants from Africa to London and New York.

Required Readings:

  • Paul Stoller, Money Has No Smell: The Africanization of New York City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), Chapters 1 and 3. E-book.
  • Jordanna Bailkin, The Afterlife of Empire (Berkeley: UC press, 2012), Chapter 3 'Problem learners: overseas students and the dilemmas of Cold War education' 95-133. Course Extract.

Discussion Questions:

  • Why have perceptions of and responses to African migrants been so unstable in the 20th century?
  • In relation to African migrants, does class trump 'race', or are strategies of migration and settlement all-important?

Background Readings:

*Jordanna Bailkin, 'The Postcolonial Family? West African Children, Private Fostering, and the British State', The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 81, No. 1, European Childhood in the Twentieth Century (March 2009), pp. 87-121

Margaret Byron and Stephanie Condon. "A Comparative Study of Caribbean Return Migration from Britain and France: Towards a Context-Dependent Explanation." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 21, no. 1 (1996): 91-104. doi:10.2307/622927.

Catherine Campbell and Carl McLean. "Ethnic identities, social capital and health inequalities: factors shaping African-Caribbean participation in local community networks in the UK." Social Science & Medicine 55, (January 1, 2002): 643-657.

Marcus Collins. "Pride and Prejudice: West Indian Men in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain." Journal of British Studies 40, no. 3 (2001): 391-418.

*Joan M. Haig, "From Kings Cross to Kew: Following the History of Zambia's Indian Community Through British Imperial Archives." History in Africa 34 (2007): 55-66.

Tariq Jazeel, "Postcolonial Geographies of Privilege: Diaspora Space, the Politics of Personhood and the 'Sri Lankan Women's Association in the UK'." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 31, no. 1 (2006): 19-33.

Lydia Lindsey, "The Split-Labor Phenomenon: Its Impact on West Indian Workers as a Marginal Working Class in Birmingham, England, 1948-1962." The Journal of African American History 87 (2002): 119-45.

Linda McDowell, Adina Batnitzky, and Sarah Dyer. "Division, Segmentation, and Interpellation: The Embodied Labors of Migrant Workers in a Greater London Hotel." Economic Geography 83, no. 1 (2007): 1-25.

Colleen McNeil-Walsh, "Widening the Discourse: A Case for the Use of Post-Colonial Theory in the Analysis of South African Nurse Migration to Britain." Feminist Review, no. 77 (2004): 120-24.

Louise Meijering, and Bettina Van Hoven. "Imagining Difference: The Experiences of 'Transnational' Indian IT Professionals in Germany." Area 35, no. 2 (2003): 174-82. Might be an interesting comparator for articles on medical migration to USA and UK!

Myfanwy Morgan, Maya Mayblin, and Roger Jones, 'Ethnicity and registration as a kidney donor: The significance of identity and belonging', Social Science & Medicine 66, (January 1, 2008): 147-158.

Joanne Nowak, "Gendered Perceptions of Migration among Skilled Female Ghanaian Nurses." Gender and Development 17, no. 2 (2009): 269-80.

Jason Parker. ""Capital of the Caribbean": The African American-West Indian "Harlem Nexus" and the Transnational Drive for Black Freedom, 1940-1948." The Journal of African American History 89, no. 2 (2004): 98-117. doi:10.2307/4134095.

Kennetta Hammond Perry, ‘"Little Rock" in Britain: Jim Crow's Transatlantic Topographies’, Journal of British Studies 51, no. 1 (January 2012): 155-177.

Julian M. Simpson, ‘Reframing NHS History: Visual Sources in a Study of UK-based Migrant Doctors’, Oral History 42, no. 2 (2014): 56-68.

W.M. Smith and Chris Jeppesen, eds, Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (London: UCL Press, 2017). 156-71

* David Styan, ‘The Security of Africans beyond Borders: Migration, Remittances and London's Transnational Entrepreneurs’, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 83, no. 6 (2007): 1171-191.

Kevin J. A. Thomas, ‘What Explains the Increasing Trend in African Emigration to the U.S.?’ International Migration Review 45, no. 1 (2011): 3-28.

Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, ‘Hopes and Reality in the West Indian Migration to Britain’, Oral History 8, no. 1 (1980): 35-42.

Vibha Bhalla. ‘“We Wanted to End Disparities at Work”: Physician Migration, Racialization, and a Struggle for Equality’, Journal of American Ethnic History 29, no. 3 (2010): 40-78. doi:10.5406/jamerethnhist.29.3.0040.

Waibinte E. Wariboko, ‘"I Really Cannot Make Africa My Home”: West Indian Missionaries as “Outsiders” in the Church Missionary Society Civilizing Mission to Southern Nigeria, 1898-1925’, The Journal of African History 45, no. 2 (2004): 221-36.

Joanna Warson, "Protecting Empire from Without: Francophone African Migrant Workers, British West Africa and French Efforts to Maintain Power in Africa, 1945–1960’, in Andrew W.M. Smith and Chris Jeppesen, eds, Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (London: UCL Press, 2017). 156-71

Family, Home and Work in Hausaland