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Building New Bridges - Bâtir de nouveaux ponts

Jeff Keshen
Sylvie Perrier

10 – Revisiting Quantitative Methods in Immigration History

Immigrant Files in the Archives of the Russian Consulates in Canada

Vadim Kukushkin

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In the last two decades, quantitative methods of analyzing historical sources seem to have lost much of their appeal in Canadian and American immigration historiography, reflecting a trend common to social historians in general. Historians on both sides of the border have largely abandoned analyzing international population movements from a macrohistorical perspective in favour of studying local immigrant neighbourhoods through the prism of ethnicity/race, class, and gender.1 Influenced by the postmodernist critique of historical objectivity and the knowability of the past, academic scholars are becoming increasingly sceptical of seeing population statistics and other serial datasets as windows on past reality. It seems, however, too early to pronounce quantitative analysis dead for the purposes of immigration history. While the post-structuralist critique has raised our awareness of the problems and pitfalls behind the study of serial data, it can hardly be said to have rendered th...


Holds a doctorate in Canadian history from Carleton University and is currently a Grant Notley Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta. He specializes in the ethnic and immigration history of Canada with a focus on 20th-century immigrants from Eastern Europe. He is the author of several articles and co-editor, with R. C. Elwood, of Mikhail Klochko: Soviet Scientist, Cold-War Defector, Canadian Storyteller (Penumbra Press, 2002)

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2005

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