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Ashley Johnson Bavery

Assistant Professor

 701-T Pray-Harrold



Ph.D., Northwestern University
B.A., Mount Holyoke College

Professional Associations/Memberships

Representative Courses Taught

History 124: The United States 1877 to Present
History 426: U.S. History 1963-present
History 585: Studies in Twentieth Century United States History


Interests and Expertise

Ashley Johnson Bavery is a historian of American immigration and ethnicity, urban space, and foreign policy in twentieth-century America. She is currently finishing her manuscript, Destination Detroit: Immigration Politics on America's Northern Borderland, which explores how undocumented immigration in Detroit, America's epicenter for illegal immigration before World War II, created the framework for America's contemporary immigration system. In the first half of the twentieth century, the border separating the world's automobile capital, Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario marked North America's number one site for undocumented immigration, and the migrants in question were European, not Latino or Asian. By bringing the U.S.-Canada border to the larger history of North American immigration, her manuscript uncovers the roots of America's impetus to close its borders while simultaneously keeping them open to free trade and commerce. Nearly a century before President Donald Trump called for a border wall with Mexico, businesses, politicians, and immigrants on the U.S.-Canada border pushed certain Europeans toward illegal labor in America's automobile industry, helping build a system of policing and deportation that continues on the U.S.-Mexico border today. She is also beginning work on a second project, which investigates America's largest Arab-American community in Dearborn, Michigan to uncover how xenophobia and racism overlapped to stigmatize and isolate Muslims in Michigan and across the Midwest.

Selected Publications

Destination Detroit: Immigration Politics on America's Northern Borderland (under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press).

"Crashing America's Back Gate: Illegal Europeans, Policing, and Welfare in Detroit, 1921-1939," Journal of Urban History, June 23, 2016.