Social Sciences

Transatlantic careers of social scientists.

The wave of exiles from Nazi-occupied Europe brought many social scientists to the United States. This section deals predominantly with those women among them whose activities concentrated on applied areas of the social sciences, particularly on social work. They helped establish a framework for research and practice that combined their European roots with American traditions in social research and gendered practices of social inquiry.

Working as academic researchers, college and university professors, or in professions outside universities, such as social services and market research, the most successful émigrés combined a unique set of characteristics. Their European and American training, their experience of persecution and exile, their cultural and cognitive traditions, and their encounters with social norms and role expectations in different places deepened their understanding of social relations and their commitment to social reform. In their work, these émigré women put to use their interdisciplinary and international training and experience, often on both sides of the Atlantic, and served as transnational facilitators of exchange.

While this section focuses predominantly on women, it will also feature several men in the applied social sciences who proved either significant for the development of their field, or were crucial contacts for the women émigrés, or both.  Together these entries reveal the significance of this understudied group of émigrés for the development of the social sciences in the United States and Europe, their transnational networks of exchange, as well as transfers of theories, methods, and practices in social inquiry and social welfare in the second half of the twentieth century.