By Premilla Nadasen
Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The act transformed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal entitlement program for poor single parents and their children, into block grants, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with the aim of removing people from the welfare rolls. Passed with bipartisan support, the 1996 act reflected a liberal/conservative consensus around the racialized nature of welfare and the need to encourage work rather than dependency.
Indigenous history is everywhere, and yet too often overlooked or ignored. In Los Angeles, a coalition of academics, archaeologists, activists, and members of local indigenous communities, is working to create a digital storymapping project that “aims to uncover and highlight the multiple layers of indigenous Los Angeles.” Mapping Indigenous LA is exemplary in its privileging of indigenous knowledge and protocol, as well as in its attention to documenting the presence of Southern California’s original inhabitants as well as diasporic indigenous communities. AHA Today spoke to professor Mishuana Goeman, co-principal investigator of the project, for more on this effort.
By Meredith Oyen
The Sydney Morning Herald and Vox.com agree that the recent dispute between Beijing and Taipei over a deportation decision by Kenya is nothing short of “bizarre.” Though the decision to deport Taiwanese nationals to China might seem strange on the surface, it in fact is deeply rooted in history.
A few weeks ago the European Union (EU) signed a controversial agreement with Turkey to staunch the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe. The agreement is a testament to Europe’s failure to cope with the millions of refugees who have reached its shores from Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East over the past few years. This crisis seems unprecedented, but is it? The German Historical Institute took up this issue the other evening, hosting a fascinating panel discussion titled “Learning from the Past?
By Sarah Fenton
Suggest that the United States is a nation of immigrants and you’ll find wide-ranging agreement. Suggest that the current US immigration system is broken: again, nods all around. Now suggest some ways to fix that system. Try proposing, for instance, a possible route forward for the 11 million people—young, old, and every age in between—living in the United States without authorization. Watch consensus crumble.
Midway through discussing the American National Biography at the 2016 annual meeting, general editor Susan Ware asked her audience to imagine having “a ‘Fitbit’ to track Susan B. Anthony’s jaunts.” If we could map Anthony’s 1883 trip through England, Ireland, and France, for instance, we might be able to bring the transnational dimensions of the 19th-century women’s suffrage movement into sharper focus.
The theme of this year’s AHA annual meeting, held in Atlanta, was “Global Migrations: Empires, Nations, and Neighbors.”
Last spring Nisha Agarwal, the New York City commissioner on immigration, spoke to my students at Columbia University on the recent history of immigrants in New York City.