Coming to London

Coming to London: migration, society, and the state in the
imperial metropolis, 1880-1980
Tutor: Dr. Julia Laite
London has long been a city of migrants, and over the late-nineteenth and first half of the
twentieth century the metropolis became home to newcomers from different areas of Britain,
continental Europe, the British empire, and other parts of the world, as they sought work,
opportunity, excitement, and refuge. These migrants—who joined and formed communities,
laboured and started businesses, and settled in different neighbourhoods— profoundly shaped the
character of the metropolis; its economy, geography, and culture. They also sparked intense
debates, conflicts, and crises within British society, culture, and politics. Over the course of the
late twentieth and early twenty first century, meanwhile, migration and mobility have become very
important subjects of historical scholarship.
This course will encourage students to read deeply into the history of different kinds of migration
to London in the twentieth century, from the rural-to-urban migration of men and women from
other parts of Britain; to the arrival of a variety of European immigrants and refugees; to the
steady trickle, and eventual influx, of colonial immigrants after the Second World War.
course will use both secondary and primary sources to illustrate immigrant experiences, popular
perceptions and receptions of migrants, and state intervention into the perceived problems of
immigration. Through class discussions and presentations, students will explore wider historical
themes of race, racism, and (de)colonization; urbanization and modernity; gender and sexuality;
mobility and displacement; and national identity and migration control. They will also examine
different sources and theories associated with the history of migration, through compelling stories
of coming to London.
Introductory Bibliography
K. Burrell and P Panyai, eds, Stories and memories : migrants and their history in Britain (2006)
L. Chessum, From immigrants to ethnic minority : making black community in Britain (2000)
E. Delaney, Demography, state and society Irish migration to Britain, 1921-1971 (2000)
D. Feldman, Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture, 1840-1914 (1994)
D. Feldman, Immigrants, nations, and welfare in twentieth century Europe (2011)
P. Gilroy, 'There Ain't no Black in the Union Jack': The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (1987)
R. Hansen, Citizenship and Immigration in Post-War Britain: the institutional origins of a
multicultural nation (2000).
J. Herbert, Negotiating boundaries in the city : migration, ethnicity, and gender in Britain (2008)
T. Holmes, A tolerant country? Immigrants, refugees, and minorities in Britain (1991)
T. Kushner, ‘New Narratives, Old Exclusions? British Historiography and Minority Studies’,
Immigrants and Minorities, 24 (3), 2006
C. Pooley, Migration and mobility in Britain since the eighteenth century (1998)
S. Rose, Which People's War? National Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain 1939-1945
L. Ryan and W. Webster (eds), Gendering migration : masculinity, femininity and ethnicity in postwar Britain (2008)
J. White, London in the twentieth century (2001)