Dissertation abstract

In the shadow of empire and nation: Chilean migration to the United States since 1950

This dissertation deals with how Chilean emigrants who have migrated to the US since the 1950s remember and define their migration decision in connection to changing historical processes in both the country of origin and that of destination. Using mainly oral histories collected from 30 Chileans I compare the processes that led to their migration; their memories of Chile at the time of migration; the arrival to the United States, as well as their intermediate migrations to other countries; their memories of Chile during the visits to the country of origin; and their self identifications with the countries of origin and destination. I also use census data and migration entry data to characterize and analyze the different waves of Chilean migration to the United States. I separate each wave by a major historical moment. The first wave commences at the end of World War II and the beginnings of the Cold War; the second with the military coup of September 11, 1973; the third with the economic crisis of 1982; and the fourth with the return to democratic governments in 1990. Connecting the oral histories, migration data and historiographies to current approaches to migration decision-making, the study of social memory, and the construction of migrant identities, this dissertation explores the interplay of these multiple factors in the social constructions underlying the decisions to migrate.

You can read a review of my dissertation at Dissertation Reviews Online here.