IEHS Online

Outstanding Dissertation Award

The Immigration and Ethnic History Society makes an annual award for an outstanding dissertation in the field of immigration and ethnic history. The IEHS will confer the 2021 award at its annual meeting in the spring of 2021. The award carries a cash gift of $1,500.

To be considered, a dissertation must focus on some aspect of North American immigration and/or ethnicity, be successfully defended between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020, be in English, and be submitted by the deadline: November 15, 2020

All submissions must be accompanied by a letter of support from the dissertation director. Inquiries and application materials should be submitted by email to

2020 Committee:
Laura Madokoro (Chair), Yukari Takai, Aldo Lauria Santiago.

Outstanding Dissertation Award

2021 Winner: Dr. Brianna Nofil (Columbia University): “Detention Power: Jails, Camps, and the Origins of Immigrant Incarceration, 1900-2002.” 

2021 Honorable Mention: Dr. Kathleen Reed (Manchester University): “Graffiti at Ellis Island: Personal Testimony, Mark-Making and Experiences of Immigration Detention, 1900-1924.”

Previous Recipients

2014: Julian Lim, “The Future Immense:’ Race and Immigration in the Multiracial U.S. – Mexico Borderlands” (Cornell University, 2013)

2015: Jared Toney, “Locating Diaspora: Afro-caribbean Migration and the Transnational Dialectics of Race and Community in North America, 1910-1929” (University of Toronto, 2014)

2015: Elizabeth Craft (honorable mention) “Becoming American Onstage: Broadway Narratives of Immigrant Experiences in the United States” (Harvard University, 2014)

2016: Megan Asaka, “The Unsettled City: Migration, Race, and the Making of Seattle’s Urban Landscape”  (Yale University, 2014)

2017: Sarah R. Coleman, Redefining American: The Shifting Politics of Immigration at the End of the Twentieth Century (Princeton University, 2016)

2018: Bernadette Jeanne Perez, Before the Sun Rises: Contesting Power and Cultivating Nations in the Colorado Beet Fields (University of Minnesota, 2017)

2019: Brendan A. Shanahan, “Making Modern American Citizenship: Citizens, Aliens, and Rights, 1865-1965”

2019 Honorable Mention: Evan Taparata,”No Asylum for Mankind: The Creation of Refugee Law and Policy in the United States, 1776-1951″

2020: Matthew Guariglia, University of Connecticut, “The American Problem: Race, Empire, and Policing in New York City, 1840–1930.”