Lecture Tangier Global Forum Lecture Series
The Statue of Liberty has long stood as a symbol of America's welcome to immigrants from abroad. But the United States hasn’t always been receptive to the world’s “huddled masses yearning to be free.” This talk examines the checkered history of immigration to the United States, explaining why the country has alternated between openness and closure, between tolerance for diversity and the belief that American identity had come undone. It also considers the political economy of immigration, especially the contest between those who want an infusion of new workers and those who favor workers already in place.
Edward Berenson is a professor of history at NYU and director of NYU's Institute of French Studies. He is also senior fellow at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Berenson is a cultural historian specializing in the history of modern France and its empire, with additional interests in the history of Britain, the British Empire, and the United States. He is the author or editor of seven books and is currently at work on a book entitled Blood Libel in an American Town: Massena, NY 1928, which examines the lone case of a ritual murder accusation against American Jews. In 1999, Berenson received the American Historical Association's Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, having earlier won UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2006, French President Jacques Chirac decorated him as Knight in the Order of Merit.