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Johanna Mellis


The early 20th century saw an increase in Indian migration to the United States, but what did this migration process mean to the migrants themselves, and how did they understand it in relation to their experience as part of the British Empire? The migrants clearly did not conceive of their experiences in the typical framework of movement from point a to point b. Rather, their usage of their migration experience to stay connected to India forces us to better understand how we have studied migration in the past, and how that old framework might be altered to better align with the experiences of those I am studying in this work. Looking at Indian migration to the United States from 1905 to 1917, one can argue that even though many chose to stay in the United States, the ability to connect with those at home in India through the Indian anti-colonialism movement provided a unique space for agency and belonging. While the act of migration physically occurred, Indian migrants were able to keep mental frameworks within India, thereby creating a unique migration experience that colored how they perceived their time in the United States in relation to colonialism and empire.


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 22, 2021.

The downloadable .mp4 video file is a poster presentation with audio commentary with a run time of 11:15.

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Available to all.