Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Cedar Crest College
Website URL
US immigration, Italian migration, Italian-American relations, US immigration policy, gatekeeping, Progressive era, American South, New Orleans
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

My values of cultivating joy, community, and international connections motivate my research and writing. I’m a historian working at the intersection of US immigration policy and Italian migration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I focus on the earliest years of national border controls as they emerged simultaneously in Italy and the US. I argue in all of my work that Italy and Italian diplomatic archives (which captured the work and the worries of Italian diplomats and consuls stationed in the US from the 1890s to World War I) provide an essential perspective on the creation of US immigration policy. This period fundamentally shaped ideas and practices reflected to this day of the role of governments in controlling borders. In other words, the connection between the two nations forged through migration is profoundly illuminating – and necessary – for historians, policy-makers and advocates, migrants and citizens, to understand.

My current chapter-length work focuses on New Orleans as a gateway into the American South for Italians and Sicilians primarily sailing from Palermo in the early twentieth century.

My next book, The Forgotten Solution to America’s Immigration Problem: Italians, Distribution Policy, and the South in the Progressive Era, promises to restore the role of the South to the origin story of the “immigration problem.” 

The book will argue that the history of Italian migration to a region otherwise seen as tangential during the height of mass European immigration is actually essential to understanding how an “immigration problem” came to be defined in the years that Congress forcefully asserted its right to control American borders.


Recent Publications

“‘’A Desirable Class of Homeseekers’: Colonization, Race, and Italian Migration in the Progressive Era US South,” Journal of American Ethnic History 43: 2 (winter 2023): 34-69.

Managing Migration in Italy and the United States, ed. Lauren Braun-Strumfels, Maddalena Marinari and Daniele Fiorentino (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2024) 

Partners in Gatekeeping: How Italy Shaped US Immigration Policy  over Ten Pivotal Years, 1891-1901 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2023)

“A Case for Foreign Language Sources in U.S. History Research,” The American Historian (Spring 2023)

Lauren Braun-Strumfels and  Tim Herbert, “Terminal Does Not Mean Dead: Why the History MA Deserves our Attention,” Perspectives on History (May 2021)

“Binational Gatekeepers: The Italian Government and U.S. Border Enforcement in the 1890s” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History 18:1 (March 2021): 10-37

Media Coverage; KUAF (NPR affiliate, Fayetteville, AR)
Country Focus
United States and Italy
Expertise by Geography
United States, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Diplomacy, Labor, Migration & Immigration, Rural & Agrarian History