Thematic Research Area
Regional Research Area
PhD, York University, 2013
MA, York University, 2008
BA, University of British Columbia, 2005
I am a historian of migration in the Americas, with a particular focus on both Argentina and Canada. In addition to my teaching in the UBC History Department, I am also chair of the Latin American Studies program (2022-2025). Beyond UBC, I am the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association.
My first monograph, To Belong in Buenos Aires: Germans, Argentines, and the Rise of a Pluralist Society (Stanford University Press, 2018) and its translation, Ser de Buenos Aires: Alemanes, argentinos y el surgimiento de una sociedad plural, 1880-1930 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos, 2019), chronicle the activities and fantasies of the people who sought to create a lasting German community in the Argentine capital and the behaviour of others who undermined their project. Across ethnic groups, gender and class hierarchies shaped community institutions. The typically male-led organizations fostered structures that created paternalistic relationships between wealthy and working-class immigrants and patriarchal hierarchies between men and women. Focusing on childhood, education, and social welfare, the book argues that ideas about the future drove thousands of German-speaking immigrants to carve out a place for ethnicity and pluralism in the cultural, religious, and linguistic landscape of Buenos Aires. It provides a timely reminder of how national identities in the Americas were built on cultural pluralism and multilingualism.
My newest monograph, The Boundaries of Ethnicity: German Immigration and the Language of Belonging in Ontario (forthcoming, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022) argues that children, parents, teachers, and religious communities shaped the nature of cultural pluralism in Ontario society. Taking German speakers as an illustrative case study, it demonstrates how people drew and re-drew the boundaries around groups defined by language, heritage, or denomination. In so doing, they created overlapping and contradictory visions of ethnic difference and civic belonging in Canadian society. This book uncovers some of the origins of Canadian multiculturalism and government attempts to manage that diversity.
I have been increasingly influenced by the “new ethnic studies” approach in Latin American history. Breaking with the common approach to look at a single group based on a shared national or ethnic origin, much can be learned by emphasizing the commonalities among groups and their relationship with one another and the surrounding society. One of my first steps in this direction has been a SSHRC-funded book project titled Healing the Nation: Health, Philanthropy, and Ethnicity in Argentina, 1880-1955. It analyzes the involvement of various immigrant groups in the evolving health care system of Buenos Aires. It casts light on the relationship between liberalism and cultural pluralism, the origins of the welfare state, and the importance of non-governmental actors in state formation in the Americas. Rather than focusing on the particularities of an individual ethnic group, this book project charts the role of Italian, Spanish, Syrian-Lebanese, Jewish, British, German, and French immigrants in questions of health and community organization. Through health, community leaders gained social status, fulfilled self-created obligations, and attempted to solidify the place of different European ethnicities in Argentine society.
I continue with this cross-group approach in my newest research. Funded by another SSHRC Insight Grant, Grounds for Exclusion: Immigration, Race, Health, and Gender in Argentina, 1876-1940 highlights the range of ways that bureaucrats, politicians, and nationalist agitators developed both formal and informal methods to exclude. In the view of many Argentine politicians and bureaucrats, South Asians, Japanese, Chinese, and Roma and to a lesser extent eastern European Jews and Ottoman subjects challenged the very reason for opening the country to immigration in the first place. Alongside these concerns about race, unmarried women, people with disabilities, and workers in ill health were also prevented from boarding ships bound for Buenos Aires, denied entry to the country, or excluded from the social and civic rights afforded to most other immigrants.
Race and ethnicity
The Boundaries of Ethnicity: German Immigration and the Language of Belonging in Ontario. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022.
To Belong in Buenos Aires: Germans, Argentines, and the Rise of a Pluralist Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.
Ser de Buenos Aires: Alemanes, argentinos y el surgimiento de una sociedad plural, 1880-1930. Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos, 2019 (Spanish translation).
Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin, eds. Race and Transnationalism in the Americas. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.
Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin, eds. Making Citizens in Argentina. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.
Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund, eds. Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015.
Refereed Journal Articles
“Seeing Japan: A Canadian Missionary’s Photography and Transpacific Audiences, 1888-1925.” Pacific Historical Review 91, no. 2 (2022): 190-219.
“Undesirable Britons: South Asian Migration and the Making of a White Argentina.” Hispanic American Historical Review 99, no. 2 (2019): 247-273.
“Citizens of Empire: Education and Teacher Exchanges in Canada and the Commonwealth, 1910-1940.” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 45, no. 4 (2017): 607-629.
“Paternal Communities: Social Welfare and Immigration in Argentina, 1880-1930.” Journal of Social History 49, no. 1 (2015): 213-236.
“Linguistic Ideology and State Power: German and English Education in Ontario, 1880-1912.” Canadian Historical Review 94, no. 2 (2013): 207-233.
“Entangled Communities: Religion and Ethnicity in Ontario and North America, 1880-1930.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 23, no. 1 (2012): 189-226.
“Los caballeros de beneficencia y las damas organizadoras: El Hospital Alemán y la idea de comunidad en Buenos Aires, 1880-1930.” Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos 70 (2011): 79-107.
“Asian Migration, Racial Hierarchies, and Exclusion in Argentina, 1890-1920.” In Race and Transnationalism in the Americas, edited by Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin, 20-36. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.
“Transatlantic Religion: German Lutheran Missionaries in Canada and Argentina, 1880-1930.” In Atlantic Crossroads: Webs of Migration, Culture and Politics between Europe, Africa and the Americas, 1800–2020, edited by José C. Moya, 152-174. New York: Routledge, 2021.
Co-author. “Overcoming the National.” In Race and Transnationalism in the Americas, edited by Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin, 330-336. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021 (forthcoming).
Co-author. “Introduction: Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Argentina.” In Making Citizens in Argentina, edited by Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin, 1-17. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.
Co-author. “Introduction.” In Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada, edited by Benjamin Bryce and Alexander Freund, 1-13. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015.
“La etnicidad en el Argentinisches Tageblatt, 1905-1918: la discusión de una comunidad germánica y alemana.” In Anuario Argentino de Germanística IV, edited by Regula Rohland and Miguel Vedda, 125-143. Buenos Aires: Asociación Argentina de Germanistas, 2008.
2018, University Excellence in Research Award, University of Northern British Columbia
2014, German-Canadian Studies Doctoral Dissertation Prize
2017-23, Associate, L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University
Major Research Grants
2021-26 Insight Grant (principal investigator), “Grounds for Exclusion: Immigration, Race, Health, and Gender in Argentina, 1876-1940,” $88,369, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
2021-23 Insight Development Grant (principal investigator), “Settler Vines: Migrants, Science, and Environment in Canada and Argentina, 1890-1940,” $56,875, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
2020-2022 Hampton New Faculty Grant, “Grounds for Exclusion: Immigration, Race, Health, and Gender in Argentina, 1876-1940,” $10,000, Hampton Fund, University British Columbia
2020-22, SSHRC Connection Grant (co-applicant), “Settler Vines: Making and Consuming Wine in a Globalizing World since 1850,” $17,777
2016-22, SSHRC Insight Grant (principal investigator), “Healing the Nation: Healthcare, Philanthropy, and Ethnicity in Argentina, 1880-1945,” $61,666
2013-2014, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, “Exchanging Empire: Canada, Britishness, and the Rise of the Commonwealth, 1919-1939,” $50,000
2012-2014, SSHRC Connection Grant (co-applicant), “Borderlands and Transnationalism: New Perspectives on Immigration to Canada and the United States,” $38,500
2011, DAAD Research Grant, “Making Ethnic Space: Education, Religion, and the German Language in Argentina and Canada, 1880-1930,” €4,000
2022, “Public History and Community Engagement at the Roedde House Museum,” Advancing Community Engaged Learning Grant, Centre for Community Engaged Learning, UBC
2021, “Settler Vines: Migrants, Science, and Environment in the BC Wine Industry, 1900-1950,” $2,500, Arts Undergraduate Research Awards, University British Columbia
2020, “Community Engagement at the Roedde House Museum,” $2,500, Public History Initiative, Department of History, University British Columbia
2019, “Student Research and Community Engagement at the North Pacific Cannery,” Research Strategic Initiatives Grant, Office of Research, University of Northern British Columbia, $5,866
2017, University Experiential and Service Learning Award, Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, University of Northern British Columbia, $5,254
Public History and Community Engagement
Bryce has been involved in a public history project at the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site in Prince Rupert, BC where he taught experiential learning courses in 2017 and 2019. Student researchers from the University of Northern British Columbia have shared their findings here. In September 2019 students from the course appeared on CBC radio and were featured in The Northern View. Bryce has published an essay about teaching experiential learning seminars here. More recently, he has taught a similar experiential learning course at the Roedde House Museum in Vancouver. Students shared a range of research projects here.
Here are some other online publications that stem from research and teaching.
“Subjectivity and Objectivity: Photography, Family, and the Historian,” ActiveHistory.ca, September 26, 2019.
“J. Cooper Robinson: A Canadian Missionary and Photographer in Japan, 1888-1925,” The Meiji at 150 Digital Teaching Resource, University of British Columbia, July 2018.
“Immigration, Communities, and Neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, 1880–1930,” Global Urban History, January 17, 2018.
Co-authored with Anna Casas Aguilar, “Religion and Auteurism in The Revenant,” ActiveHistory.ca, September 16, 2016.
Co-authored with Ryan McKenney, “Creating the Canadian Mosaic,” ActiveHistory.ca, May 16, 2016.