The Chair in the History of International Migration Movements was established in 1976 along with the creation of the interdisciplinary Institute of Polish Diaspora Research of the Jagiellonian University whose staff includes sociologists, linguists, literary scholars, and historians. Prof. Mirosław Frančić became the first head of the chair. In subsequent years, this position was held by Prof. Andrzej Brożek, Prof. Halina Florkowska-Frančić, and Prof. Adam Walaszek (since 1991).
The chair’s early research focused primarily on the history of the Polish diaspora in the U.S., Australia, Switzerland, France, and Canada; overseas Polish immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; as well as the migrations of other national groups from the areas of partitioned Poland and later from independent Poland. Scholars from the chair have closely collaborated with, among others, the team conducting research on Polish economic emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries led by Prof. Andrzej Pilch of the Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University as well as the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Those connections are still important today; currently, the chair also collaborates with the Emigration Museum in Gdynia.
During the 1980s, scholars from the chair co-created fundamental bibliographical and archival guides on the history of the Polish diaspora and emigration. They have also conducted innovative projects on social memory about emigration from the Podhale region and a synthesis of the history of the Polish diaspora. For many years, scholars working for the chair have actively participated in the international discourse on migration and the history of ethnicity, maintaining extensive contacts with scientific centers in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, including the University of Lund in Sweden and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. These contacts result in the exchange of publications, organization of international symposia, and joint research projects.