Italian Scientific Migration to the United States after the 1938 Racial Laws

Alessandra Gissi, University of Naples “L’Orientale”

The Fascist government’s 1938 anti-Semitic Racial Laws prompted a major migration of Italian intellectuals to the United States. While historiography has devoted considerable attention to the issue of scientific migration during the 1930s, scholars have mostly overlooked the Italian case. Drawing on individual biographies and institutional histories, Alessandra Gissi provides a new analytic approach to the topic. Using a wide range of sources, principally the records of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, Gissi challenges the idea that the Italian scientific wave to the United States was an exile or an escape. Rather, it presented traits typical of migration, such as the placement of scholars via a system of migration networks.