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Austrian immigration to Canada

Die österreichische Migration nach Kanada

Head of project: Andrea Strutz (LBIGKG), Habilitation project (concluded)
Cooperation partners: University of Graz, Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, University of Alberta; Department of History, University of Waterloo
Sponsors: own resources and procurement of bursaries and travel grants
Running time: 2010–2015

Migrations have to be considered as essential, persistent, and significant factors of societal change. Motivations and causes for migrations be it voluntary or forced, temporary, seasonal or permanent are multifaceted and complex. The project about the Austrian migration to Canada comprises various types of migrations such as forced migration of Jewish refugees, post-1945 economic migration processes of Jewish and non-Jewish Austrians as well as resettlements of Displaced Persons (DPs) and refugees in the aftermath of WWII via Austria that functioned as a post-45 transit country. Furthermore, the study includes temporary migrations as well as return migrations, which is a topic that had been overlooked for a long time in migration research but gains increasing awareness now. The research approach on the subject matter is twofold: Firstly, it is the aim to improve acquaintance on legal possibilities and the practice of transatlantic Austrian migration (permanent and temporary) as well as the interaction of authorities of the nation states concerned against the historical background in post-war Europe. Secondly, ample attention in the research will be given to study the experiences of Austrian migrants and the effects of transnational migration on an individual and biographical level such as identity shaping factors, question of belonging, etc. This part of the study will be carried out by means of a cultural studies approach, which includes analysis of historical memory drawn from a number of oral history interviews.