History Department
History Department

IHS Workshop: “’Religious Persecution’ in the 1917 Immigration Law and Post WWI Immigration to the United States,” by Yael Schacher, IHS Fellow, UT Austin, and Harvard University

Mon, October 23, 2017 | GAR 4.100

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

About this workshop: Yael Schacher's paper analyzes the definition of "religious persecution" in the 1917 U.S. immigration law  and its application in cases of immigrants from the former Russian and Ottoman empires in the early 1920s.  Using immigraton interviews, legal cases, and social work files, the paper highlights the different ways  co-ethnic attorneys and advocates, immigraton officials and judges, and Jewish and Armenian women migrants represented wartime and postwar refugee experiences. 

Yael Schacher received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard in 2016.  Her dissertation, “Exceptions to Exclusion: A Prehistory of Asylum in the United States, 1880-1980,” traced the relationship of U.S. immigration restriction to refugee policy over the course of the twentieth century, examining the handling of claims for refuge by political exiles, war widows and orphans, deserting seamen, and stranded students. This examination highlighted both important precedents for, and paths not taken in, the contemporary American asylum system (established in law in 1980). In Fall 2016, Yael received a Cromwell Foundation early career fellowship through the American Society for Legal History to support revisions of her dissertation for publication.  Yael has published essays and reviews on ethnic literature and immigration history, most recently a chapter in American Literature in Transition: The 1930s (Cambridge University Press) analyzing diversity and multiculturalism in American literature at a time of restrictionist and exclusionary immigration policy.  Yael was a research assistant for Harvard Library's digital archives on immigration to the US, and, from 2012 through 2017, she made immigration a focus of her American Studies courses at the University of Connecticut. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017-2018.

Read more about Dr. Schacher at:

William E. Forbath
Professor of History, Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law, and Associate Dean for Research
University of Texas at Austin

Free and open to the public. RSVP required. To RSVP and receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please email cmeador@austin.utexas.edu by 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 20.

Sponsored by: Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies; Center for European Studies; Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History

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