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Lauren Braun-Strumfels
Associate Professor of History
Hartzel Hall 113


B.A., College of William and Mary
M.A./Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

Lauren Braun-Strumfels, PhD. is an Associate Professor of History with a focus on migration and transnational history. She writes about the critical role Italians had in shaping US immigration policy at the turn of the twentieth century. She is the author of Partners in Gatekeeping: How Italy Shaped U.S. Immigration Policy over Ten Critical Years, 1891-1901 (University of Georgia Press, 2023). and coeditor of Managing Migration in Italy and the United States, which will be published by DeGruyter simultaneously in the US and Europe. She is a contributor to Rituals of Migration: Irish and Italians on the Move (New York University Press, 2025).  She has also published “Binational Gatekeepers: The Italian Government and U.S. Border Enforcement in the 1890s,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History 18:1 (March 2021), 11-37;  and on her experiences teaching incarcerated students in New Jersey in “Knowing Students Inside,” in Books Behind Bars: Stories from the Prison Books Movement ed. Moira and Mac Marquis (University of Georgia Press, 2023). 

Her work as a transnational US historian crosses historiographical boundaries that traditionally divide United States and European history. She has an active research pipeline at the intersection of US immigration policy and Italian migration history, and in her research, teaching, and service she works to build communities and foster connection in the classroom, on campus, and internationally. The meaning of her research, teaching, and mentoring are captured in the words that form the core of her professional value set: connection, community, and intentionality.

Her academic research is motivated by connection—encouraging scholars working on migration from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, who are studying or based in diverse sending countries, to consider how the US became a gatekeeping nation through the history of Italian exclusion. She reveals the messy ways that barriers to the freedom to move formed to control working-class people in the early twentieth century.

Her work brings her to Rome frequently. She researches primarily in the records of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a rich yet little explored archive that illuminates US history in the era of mass migration. In 2020 she held the Fulbright Research Lectureship in US History in the Department of Political Science at the University of Rome III, and in 2014 she was the inaugural Community College Humanities Association Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. 

She presents regularly at conferences and roundtables on topics like using foreign archives to illuminate US history (Organization of American Historians, 2023); the scholarship of work and the work of scholarship (OAH, 2022); Understanding early migration from Italy: The case of Sicily and Louisiana (Oxford University, 2022); and Terminal does not mean dead: why the history MA deserves our attention (American Historical Association, 2020), also a featured article in Perspectives on History in May 2021. 

At Cedar Crest, she teaches courses in US, European, and world migration history and co-advises the History and Political Science Club.  She is a former director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship at Raritan Valley Community College. She emphasizes peer support, community building, and practical strategies to increase self-efficacy in her teaching and mentoring.  You can read her 2020 piece, Adapting to the Research Conditions at Hand, in Perspectives on History.