The battle of Britishness: migrant journeys 1685 to the present,
Manchester, GB, Manchester University Press, 320pp.
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This pioneering study of migrant journeys to Britain begins with Huguenot refugees in the 1680s and continues to asylum seekers and east European workers today. Analyzing the history and memory of migrant journeys, covering not only the response of politicians and the public but also literary and artistic representations, then and now, Kushner’s volume sheds new light on the nature and construction of Britishness from the early modern era onwards. It is an essential tool for those wanting to understand why people come to Britain (or are denied entry) and how migrants have been viewed by state and society alike.
The journeys covered vary from the famous (including the Empire Windrush in 1948) to the obscure, such as the Volga German transmigrants passing through Britain in the 1870s. While employing a broadly historical approach, Kushner incorporates insights from many other disciplines and employs a comparative methodology to highlight the importance of the symbolic as well as the physical nature of such journeys.
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