Tara Zahra

Tara Zahra is Professor of East European History at the University of Chicago.

She is interested in exploring the relationship between migration and social protection from the 1920s-onward. How has migration shaped social protection and how has social protection shaped migration and migrant communities?

Her current research deals with how states and voluntary associations in eastern Europe have attempted to extend their sovereignty overseas in order to protect migrant workers and retain their loyalties, redefining relationships between citizens abroad and their homelands.

She is also interested in how the expansion of social protections and welfare states have affected state and local attitudes toward immigrants and emigrants and the way social policy is used as a tool for the integration or exclusion of migrant families. In addition, she looks at the role of international humanitarian organizations in the provision of social protection and services to refugees and displaced persons, and how these international organizations have defined and shaped ideals of family, public health, and social welfare on a transnational scale.

Her publications include:

  • Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands, 1900–1948 (Cornell University Press, 2008)
  • The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II (Harvard University Press, 2011
  • The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (Norton, 2016).

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