September 12: Congressional Briefing on Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Historical Perspective

The National History Center of the American Historical Association will be presenting a Congressional briefing on immigrant entrepreneurship in historical perspective.  The briefing will be held on September 12, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Dirksen G-11. Dr. Hartmut Berghoff, Director of the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, DC, and Professor of Economic History at the University of Göttingen; Professor Zulema Valdez, Associate Professor of the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Merced; and Professor Xiaojian Zhao, Professor of Asian American History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will conduct the briefing. Dane Kennedy, Director of the National History Center, will moderate the discussion.

In his remarks, Dr. Berghoff will outline some of the results of the GHI’s major research project “Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present.”  He will discuss how the ability to draw on immigrant entrepreneurship was a key factor in the United States’ emergence as a world economic power and remains crucial to its economic success today.   Focusing on the labor market history of the Mexican-origin people, Professor Valdez will trace how a temporary, low-wage, low-skilled, immigrant workforce transitioned to a permanent, if fragile, entrepreneurial class. For most, Professor Valdez will explain, entrepreneurship may provide an alternative to the low-wage, low-skilled secondary sector of the economy.  However, for a small but growing segment, entrepreneurship provides a pathway to middle class mobility and economic prosperity. Finally, Professor Zhao will present recent research on Asian immigrant entrepreneurship. In a brief overview, she will use Chinese, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, and Korean Americans as examples to show recent trends in Asian American entrepreneurship. Focusing on the impact of global economy, she will illuminate how changes in the U.S. economy and economic development in Asia have become increasingly important in Asian American entrepreneurship and Asian American ethnic economies.

For further information and to RSVP, please contact the Center’s assistant director, Amanda Moniz, at amoniz@historians.org or 202-450-3209.

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