Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Refugees International
Website URL
Immigration history, asylum and refugee policy
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Yael Schacher has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University, a masters in History from Harvard, and a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She specializes in the study of immigration. In January 2019 she started working as a senior US domestic advocate at Refugees International. Her focus is on U.S. asylum policy, refugee admissions, temporary protected status and other immigration policies with refugee protection implications.

Yael’s dissertation, “Exceptions to Exclusion: A Prehistory of Asylum in the United States, 1880-1980” (2016) traced the relationship of immigration to refugee policy over the course of the twentieth century, examining claims for refuge by political exiles, war widows and orphans, deserting seamen, and stranded students, among others. 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. In 2017-2018, she worked on her monograph as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has recently presented papers, building on her dissertation research, about the history of legal advocacy for asylum seekers since the 1970s. In fall 2018, she was a guest professor at the Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt in Germany, where she lectured about her past and current research.

Yael previously taught American history and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut and at Barnard College. Since completing her doctorate, she has lectured on immigration law and policy and volunteered at the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants’ legal services office in Hartford. She 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 served on the editorial board of “New Literary History of America” (Harvard University Press, 2009) and was a research assistant for Harvard Library’s digital archives on immigration to the US. ( Her public history activities continued through her work as an archivist at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

Recent Publications
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Holocaust & Nazi Persecution, Human Rights, Labor, Law, Migration & Immigration, Women