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About Us

Who we are

The Center for the Study of American Exile & Expatriation (CSAEE) is an independent, unaffiliated, nonprofit, nonpartisan, scholarly research center dedicated to the study of Americans who throughout history have made their lives abroad. CSAEE provides focused research and support for scholars engaged in the study of Americans outside of the United States. CSAEE also serves as a global point of coordination for a network of universities and public-facing institutions.

Ada "Bricktop" Smith (1894 - 1984)

Ada “Bricktop” Smith (1894 – 1984) was born in West Virginia and lived in Europe from 1924 to 1961.  She owned jazz clubs in Paris, Rome, and Mexico City that became the epicenters of American expatriate social life in those cities.  (Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution)

Why we exist

For the historical consensus that exists around notions of American exceptionalism, there is a long history of Americans choosing to live and work abroad for extended periods of time.

By way of example, this includes the scholarly treatment of early American Loyalists seeking refuge in Canada, the British Caribbean, West Africa, and Great Britain, and the departure for France of approximately 50,000 of Louisiana and Mississippi’s free people of color.  CSAEE contextualizes the history of towns and villages throughout Latin America settled by Confederate soldiers and their families, and the eternal draw of European cities like Paris and Rome to American artists and writers seeking training and validation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. CSAEE researches contemporary American expatriates currently seeking more affordable health care for chronic conditions or better standards of living in countries like Portugal, Thailand, New Zealand, and Mexico.

Our mission will be accomplished through a program of cross-disciplinary research, collection, and education.