Author Q&A: The English diaspora in North America

Posted by Chris Hart - Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017


Dr Tanja Bueltmann, Northumbria University & Professor Don MacRaild, Ulster University

The English diaspora in North America: Migration, ethnicity and association, 1730s-1950s


What book in this field has inspired you the most?

Bertoff, British Workers in Industrial America.

Charlotte Erickson, Invisible Immigrants: TheAdaptation of English and Scottish Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century America.

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Yes, we were surprised to find connections through English associational culture between the Sons of England in Canada and South Africa, and regular reportage of US and Canadian English societies in the Bajan press, etc. The connections to Asia and Australasia fascinated us.

What did you enjoy the most about writing your book?

There is hardly an aspect we didn’t enjoy. Extensive archive work globally, enabled by a major research grant, was a privilege – though perhaps sometimes also a challenge. Co-authoring the book, drawing on our complementary skills and research expertise, was the best thing.

What did you find hardest about writing your book?

Reading through thousands of pages of hand-written minute books could be taxing.

Is this your first published book, or have you had others published?

No, we are both seasoned authors with 15+ books between us!

How did you feel when you saw your first published book?

There is always a feeling satisfaction, the glow of completion. There is also always a voice saying: now get on with the next one.

Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

We were looking for a publisher with an excellent reputation in the field, but also one who would enable us to produce a substantial book. MUP has a reputation for excellent editorial and production values.

Did you approach writing this book differently to any of your previous work?

Yes. The Arts and Humanities Research Council grant which supported it, allowed us to gather far more material than otherwise would have been possible. For instance, we included a comparative global chapter at the end: this could not have been considered without significant backing.

Have you had time to think about your next research project yet? What are you working on now?

Don is writing and completing a book on an Irish secret society, called the Ribbonmen, and will then produce something which brings together his essay on Irish migration and research on Irish surnames and forenames.

Tanja is concluding an ESRC-funded project on British and German expats and their social networking in Asia; this will produce a monograph in due course. She currently plans to launch a new project on return migration.

Read more about the book, including a sample chapter:

The English diaspora in North America

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