From statehood until the 1970 census, Germans constituted Iowa’s largest immigrant group, and the same was true throughout much of the Midwest. “German Iowa and the Global Midwest” explored the story of German immigration, German American communities, and anti-German xenophobia in Iowa and the Midwest. Originally conceived to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the United States’ entry to World War I and attendant actions against German Americans, the project was intended to spark discussion about immigration and anti-immigrant sentiment today. The xenophobia of the 2016 presidential campaign and the early stages of the Trump presidency made these discussions yet timelier—while also deepening the risks of a counter-narrative heroizing earlier generations of European immigrants as a foil to negative portrayals of more recent immigrants from other locations.
German Iowa and the Global Midwest: Discussing Immigration and Xenophobia in the Trump Era
Laurel Sanders is a PhD student in history at The University of Iowa and has a master's degree in public history from Appalachian State University. She was an historical interpreter at Grand Portage National Monument and conducted public history research for the Grand Portage Ojibwe Band. As a member of HistoryCorps, the graduate student public history group at The University of Iowa, she has also worked on the digital history project Iowa Native Spaces. She is writing a dissertation on the history of public health nursing in Native American communities.
Elizabeth Heineman is a professor of history and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at The University of Iowa. She is the author of several books on gender and sexuality in German history, historical memory, and human rights, and she is a frequent media commentator on these subjects. She was founding host of the podcast New Books in Gender and Sexuality Studies, founding co-curator of the New Fascism Syllabus, and co-principal investigator on the public history project “German Iowa and the Global Midwest.”
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Laurel Sanders, Elizabeth Heineman; German Iowa and the Global Midwest: Discussing Immigration and Xenophobia in the Trump Era. The Public Historian 1 February 2020; 42 (1): 98–125. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2020.42.1.98
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