The United States is the only nation in the world that allows its citizens to hold one or more foreign citizenships, vote in another nation's elections, run for or be appointed to office in another country, and join the armed forces even of a nation with interests hostile to those of the U.S. while retaining their citizenship. These policies reinforce the often already strong emotional, political, and economic ties today's immigrants retain to their home countries. Yet few studies have addressed what dual citizenship means for the United States as a nation and the integration of immigrants into the American national community. Is it possible to reconcile two different nationalities, cultures, and psychologies? How can we honor immigrants' sense of identity without threatening American national identity? What do Americans have a right to expect of immigrants and what do they have a right to expect of Americans?
In The 50% American political psychologist Stanley Renshon offers unique insight into the political and national ramifications of personal loyalties. Arguing that the glue that binds this country together is a psychological force—patriotism—he explains why powerful emotional attachments are critical to American civic process and how they make possible united action in times of crisis. In an age of terrorism, the idea that we are all Americans regardless of our differences is more than a credo; it is essential to our national security. Comprehensive in scope, this book examines recent immigration trends, tracing the assimilation process that immigrants to the United States undergo and describing how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with volatile issues such as language requirements, voting rights, and schooling. Renshon turns a critical eye to the challenges posed over the past four decades by multiculturalism, cultural conflict, and global citizenship and puts forth a comprehensive proposal for reforming dual citizenship and helping immigrants and citizens alike become more integrated into the American national community.
During the many years that they were separated by the perils of the American Revolution, John and Abigail Adams exchanged hundreds of letters. Writing to each other of public events and private feelings, loyalty and love, revolution and parenting, they wove a tapestry of correspondence that has become a cherished part of American history and literature.
With Abigail and John Adams, historian G. J. Barker-Benfield mines those familiar letters to a new purpose: teasing out the ways in which they reflected—and helped transform—a language of sensibility, inherited from Britain but, amid the revolutionary fervor, becoming Americanized. Sensibility—a heightened moral consciousness of feeling, rooted in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Adam Smith and including a “moral sense” akin to the physical senses—threads throughout these letters. As Barker-Benfield makes clear, sensibility was the fertile, humanizing ground on which the Adamses not only founded their marriage, but also the “abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity” they and their contemporaries hoped to plant at the heart of the new nation. Bringing together their correspondence with a wealth of fascinating detail about life and thought, courtship and sex, gender and parenting, and class and politics in the revolutionary generation and beyond, Abigail and John Adams draws a lively, convincing portrait of a marriage endangered by separation, yet surviving by the same ideas and idealism that drove the revolution itself.
A feast of ideas that never neglects the real lives of the man and woman at its center, Abigail and John Adams takes readers into the heart of an unforgettable union in order to illuminate the first days of our nation—and explore our earliest understandings of what it might mean to be an American.
The release of U.S. census data in 1910 sparked rhetoric declaring the nation had a literacy crisis and proclaiming illiterate citizens a threat to democratic life. While newspaper editors, industrialists, and officials in the federal government frequently placed the blame on newly arrived immigrants, a smaller but no less vocal group of rural educators and clubwomen highlighted the significant number of native-born illiterate adults in the Appalachian region. Author Samantha NeCamp looks at the educational response to these two distinct literacy narratives—the founding of the Moonlight Schools in eastern Kentucky, focused on native-born nonliterate adults, and the establishment of the Americanization movement, dedicated to the education of recent immigrants.
Drawing on personal correspondence, conference proceedings, textbooks, and speeches, NeCamp demonstrates how the Moonlight Schools and the Americanization movement competed for public attention, the interest of educators, and private and governmental funding, fueling a vibrant public debate about the definition of literacy. The very different pedagogical practices of the two movements—and how these practices were represented to the public—helped shape literacy education in the United States. Reading the Moonlight Schools and the Americanization movement in relation to one another, Adult Literacy and American Identity expands the history and theory of literacy and literacy education in the United States. This book will be of interest to scholars in literacy, Appalachian studies, and rhetoric and composition.
A movement for "Americanization" swept the nation during and after World War I, fueled by wartime hysteria over "foreign" ways. Eileen Tamura examines the forms that hysteria took in Hawaii, where the Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) were targets of widespread discrimination.
Tamura analyzes Hawaii's organized effort to force the Nisei to adopt
"American" ways, discussing it within the larger phenomenon of Nisei acculturation. While racism was prevalent in "paradise," the Nisei and their parents also performed as active agents in their own lives, with the older generation attempting to maintain Japanese cultural ways and the younger wishing to become "true Americans." Caucasian "Americanizers," often associated with powerful agricultural interests, wanted labor to remain cheap and manageable; they lobbied for racist laws and territorial policies, portending the treatment of ethnic Japanese on the U.S. mainland during World War II.
Tamura offers a wealth of original source material, using personal accounts as well as statistical data to create an essential resource for students of American ethnic history and U.S. race and class relations.
American social critics in the 1970s seized on narcissism as the sickness of the age. But they missed the psychoanalytic breakthrough that championed it as the wellspring of ambition, creativity, and empathy. Elizabeth Lunbeck's history opens a new view on the central questions faced by the self struggling amid the crosscurrents of modernity.
A highly readable introduction to and overview of the postwar social sciences in the United States, The Americanization of Social Science explores a critical period in the evolution of American sociology’s professional identity from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. David Paul Haney contends that during this time leading sociologists encouraged a professional secession from public engagement in the name of establishing the discipline’s scientific integrity.
According to Haney, influential practitioners encouraged a willful withdrawal from public sociology by separating their professional work from public life. He argues that this separation diminished sociologists’ capacity for conveying their findings to wider publics, especially given their ambivalence towards the mass media, as witnessed by the professional estrangement that scholars like David Riesman and C. Wright Mills experienced as their writing found receptive lay audiences. He argues further that this sense of professional insularity has inhibited sociology’s participation in the national discussion about social issues to the present day.
This collection of essays taken from a series of papers given at the Popular Culture division of the MLA convention in 1987 consists of a serious investigation of Popular Culture and in simplest terms investigates what people do and why they do it. Rolin's collection deals with the national identity of consumer countries and comes to grips with the fact that the consumption of foreign products could generate emoions of disjunction and displacement.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, facilitated by easy entry and lax immigration controls, cast into bold relief the importance and contradictions of U.S. immigration policy. Will we have to restrict immigration for fear of future terrorist attacks? On a broader scale, can the country's sense of national identity be maintained in the face of the cultural diversity that today's immigrants bring? How will the resulting demographic, social, and economic changes affect U.S. residents? As the debate about immigration policy heats up, it has become more critical than ever to examine immigration's role in our society. With a comprehensive social scientific assessment of immigration over the past thirty years, America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity provides the clearest picture to date of how immigration has actually affected the United States, while refuting common misconceptions and predicting how it might affect us in the future. Frank Bean and Gillian Stevens show how, on the whole, immigration has been beneficial for the United States. Although about one million immigrants arrive each year, the job market has expanded sufficiently to absorb them without driving down wages significantly or preventing the native-born population from finding jobs. Immigration has not led to welfare dependency among immigrants, nor does evidence indicate that welfare is a magnet for immigrants. With the exception of unauthorized Mexican and Central American immigrants, studies show that most other immigrant groups have attained sufficient earnings and job mobility to move into the economic mainstream. Many Asian and Latino immigrants have established ethnic networks while maintaining their native cultural practices in the pursuit of that goal. While this phenomenon has led many people to believe that today's immigrants are slow to enter mainstream society, Bean and Stevens show that intermarriage and English language proficiency among these groups are just as high—if not higher—as among prior waves of European immigrants. America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity concludes by showing that the increased racial and ethnic diversity caused by immigration may be helping to blur the racial divide in the United States, transforming the country from a biracial to multi-ethnic and multi-racial society. Replacing myth with fact, America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity contains a wealth of information and belongs on the bookshelves of policymakers, pundits, scholars, students, and anyone who is concerned about the changing face of the United States. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was faced with a new and radically mixed population, one that included freed African Americans, former reservation Indians, and a burgeoning immigrant population. In The Autobiography of Citizenship, Tova Cooper looks at how educators tried to impose unity on this divergent population, and how the new citizens in turn often resisted these efforts, reshaping mainstream U.S. culture and embracing their own view of what it means to be an American.
The Autobiography of Citizenship traces how citizenship education programs began popping up all over the country, influenced by the progressive approach to hands-on learning popularized by John Dewey and his followers. Cooper offers an insightful account of these programs, enlivened with compelling readings of archival materials such as photos of students in the process of learning; autobiographical writing by both teachers and new citizens; and memoirs, photos, poems, and novels by authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Jane Addams, Charles Reznikoff, and Emma Goldman. Indeed, Cooper provides the first comparative, inside look at these citizenship programs, revealing that they varied wildly: at one end, assimilationist boarding schools required American Indian children to transform their dress, language, and beliefs, while at the other end the libertarian Modern School encouraged immigrant children to frolic naked in the countryside and learn about the world by walking, hiking, and following their whims.
Here then is an engaging portrait of what it was like to be, and become, a U.S. citizen one hundred years ago, showing that what it means to be “American” is never static.
When it comes to the production and distribution of mass culture, no country in modern times has come close to rivaling the success of America. From blue jeans in central Europe to Elvis Presley's face on a Republic of Chad postage stamp, the reach of American mass culture extends into every corner of the globe. Most believe this is a twentieth-century phenomenon, but here Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes prove that its roots are far deeper.
Buffalo Bill in Bologna reveals that the process of globalizing American mass culture began as early as the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, by the end of World War I, the United States already boasted an advanced network of culture industries that served to promote American values. Rydell and Kroes narrate how the circuses, amusement parks, vaudeville, mail-order catalogs, dime novels, and movies developed after the Civil War—tools central to hastening the reconstruction of the country—actually doubled as agents of American cultural diplomacy abroad. As symbols of America's version of the "good life," cultural products became a primary means for people around the world, especially in Europe, to reimagine both America and themselves in the context of America's growing global sphere of influence. Paying special attention to the role of the world's fairs, the exporting of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show to Europe, the release of The Birth of a Nation, and Woodrow Wilson's creation of the Committee on Public Information, Rydell and Kroes offer an absorbing tour through America's cultural expansion at the turn of the century. Buffalo Bill in Bologna is thus a tour de force that recasts what has been popularly understood about this period of American and global history.
A seismic population shift is taking place as many formerly racially homogeneous cities in the West attract a diverse influx of newcomers seeking economic and social advancement. In The Changing Face of World Cities, a distinguished group of immigration experts presents the first systematic, data-based comparison of the lives of young adult children of immigrants growing up in seventeen big cities of Western Europe and the United States. Drawing on a comprehensive set of surveys, this important book brings together new evidence about the international immigrant experience and provides far-reaching lessons for devising more effective public policies. The Changing Face of World Cities pairs European and American researchers to explore how youths of immigrant origin negotiate educational systems, labor markets, gender, neighborhoods, citizenship, and identity on both sides of the Atlantic. Maurice Crul and his co-authors compare the educational trajectories of second-generation Mexicans in Los Angeles with second-generation Turks in Western European cities. In the United States, uneven school quality in disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods and the high cost of college are the main barriers to educational advancement, while in some European countries, rigid early selection sorts many students off the college track and into dead-end jobs. Liza Reisel, Laurence Lessard-Phillips, and Phil Kasinitz find that while more young members of the second generation are employed in the United States than in Europe, they are also likely to hold low-paying jobs that barely life them out of poverty. In Europe, where immigrant youth suffer from higher unemployment, the embattled European welfare system still yields them a higher standard of living than many of their American counterparts. Turning to issues of identity and belonging, Jens Schneider, Leo Chávez, Louis DeSipio, and Mary Waters find that it is far easier for the children of Dominican or Mexican immigrants to identify as American, in part because the United States takes hyphenated identities for granted. In Europe, religious bias against Islam makes it hard for young people of Turkish origin to identify strongly as German, French, or Swedish. Editors Maurice Crul and John Mollenkopf conclude that despite the barriers these youngsters encounter on both continents, they are making real progress relative to their parents and are beginning to close the gap with the native-born. The Changing Face of World Cities goes well beyong existing immigration literature focused on the United States experience to show that national policies on each side of the Atlantic can be enriched by lessons from the other. The Changing Face of World Cities will be vital reading for anyone interested in the young people who will shape the future of our increasingly interconnected global economy.
Winner, 2016 ALA-Choice Outstanding Academic Title
In Chica Lit: Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century, Tace Hedrick illuminates how discourses of Americanization, ethnicity, gender, class, and commodification shape the genre of “chica lit,” popular fiction written by Latina authors with Latina characters. She argues that chica lit is produced and marketed in the same ways as contemporary romance and chick lit fiction, and aimed at an audience of twenty- to thirty-something upwardly mobile Latina readers. Its stories about young women’s ethnic class mobility and gendered romantic success tend to celebrate twenty-first century neoliberal narratives about Americanization, hard work, and individual success. However, Hedrick emphasizes, its focus on Latina characters necessarily inflects this celebratory mode: the elusiveness of meaning in its use of the very term “Latina” empties out the differences among and between Latina/o and Chicano/a groups in the United States. Of necessity, chica lit also struggles with questions about the actual social and economic “place” of Latinas and Chicanas in this same neoliberal landscape; these questions unsettle its reliance on the tried-and-true formulas of chick lit and romance writing. Looking at chica lit’s market-driven representations of difference, poverty, and Americanization, Hedrick shows how this writing functions within the larger arena of struggles over popular representation of Latinas and Chicanas.
The political involvement of earlier waves of immigrants and their children was essential in shaping the American political climate in the first half of the twentieth century. Immigrant votes built industrial trade unions, fought for social protections and religious tolerance, and helped bring the Democratic Party to dominance in large cities throughout the country. In contrast, many scholars find that today's immigrants, whose numbers are fast approaching those of the last great wave, are politically apathetic and unlikely to assume a similar voice in their chosen country. E Pluribus Unum? delves into the wealth of research by historians of the Ellis Island era and by social scientists studying today's immigrants and poses a crucial question: What can the nation's past experience teach us about the political path modern immigrants and their children will take as Americans? E Pluribus Unum? explores key issues about the incorporation of immigrants into American public life, examining the ways that institutional processes, civic ideals, and cultural identities have shaped the political aspirations of immigrants. The volume presents some surprising re-assessments of the past as it assesses what may happen in the near future. An examination of party bosses and the party machine concludes that they were less influential political mobilizers than is commonly believed. Thus their absence from today's political scene may not be decisive. Some contributors argue that the contemporary political system tends to exclude immigrants, while others remind us that past immigrants suffered similar exclusions, achieving political power only after long and difficult struggles. Will the strong home country ties of today's immigrants inhibit their political interest here? Chapters on this topic reveal that transnationalism has always been prominent in the immigrant experience, and that today's immigrants may be even freer to act as dual citizens. E Pluribus Unum? theorizes about the fate of America's civic ethos—has it devolved from an ideal of liberal individualism to a fractured multiculturalism, or have we always had a culture of racial and ethnic fragmentation? Research in this volume shows that today's immigrant schoolchildren are often less concerned with ideals of civic responsibility than with forging their own identity and finding their own niche within the American system of racial and ethnic distinction. Incorporating the significant influx immigrants into American society is a central challenge for our civic and political institutions—one that cuts to the core of who we are as a people and as a nation. E Pluribus Unum? shows that while today's immigrants and their children are in some ways particularly vulnerable to political alienation, the process of assimilation was equally complex for earlier waves of immigrants. This past has much to teach us about the way immigration is again reshaping the nation.
The face of U.S. television broadcasting is changing in ways that are both profound and subtle. Global Television uncovers the particular processes by which the international circulation of culture takes place, while addressing larger cultural issues such as identity formation.
Focusing on how the process of internationally made programming such as Highlander: The Series and The Odyssey—amusingly dubbed “Europudding” and “commercial white bread”—are changing television into a transnational commodity, Barbara Selznick considers how this mode of production—as a means by which transnational television is created—has both economic rewards and cultural benefits as well as drawbacks.
Global Television explores the ways these international co-productions create a “global” culture as well as help form a national identity. From British “brand” programming (e.g, Cracker) that airs on A&E in the U.S. to children’s television programs such as Plaza Sesamo, and documentaries, Selznick indicates that while the style, narrative, themes and ideologies may be interesting, corporate capitalism ultimately affects and impacts these programs in significant ways.
Providing a useful analysis of and framework for understanding immigration and assimilation narratives, anupama jain's How to Be South Asian in America considers the myth of the American Dream in fiction (Meena Alexander's Manhattan Music), film (American Desi, American Chai), and personal testimonies. By interrogating familiar American stories in the context of more supposedly exotic narratives, jain illuminates complexities of belonging that also reveal South Asians' anxieties about belonging, (trans)nationalism, and processes of cultural interpenetration.
jain argues that these stories transform as well as reflect cultural processes, and she shows just how aspects of identity—gender, sexual, class, ethnic, national—are shaped by South Asians' accommodation of and resistance to mainstream American culture.
The Dutch scholar Rob Kroes argues that American culture is "modular,"
continually fragmenting, disassembling, and reassembling itself--and in
the process creating something new. In a series of topical essays that
show why he is one of Europe's leading authorities on American culture,
Kroes probes trends in American advertising, the image of the Vietnam
war in American films, the implications of American vernacular culture as represented in rap music, and other topics.
In The Immigrant Kitchen: Food, Ethnicity, and Diaspora, Vivian Nun Halloran examines food memoirs by immigrants and their descendants and reveals how their treatment of food deeply embeds concerns about immigrant identity in the United States. Halloran argues that by offering a glimpse into the authors’ domestic lives through discussions of homemade food, these memoirs demystify the processes of immigration, assimilation, acculturation, and expatriation—ultimately examining what it means to live as naturalized citizens of the United States. Having grown up hearing about their parents’ often fraught experiences of immigration, these authors examine the emotional toll these stories took and how such stories continue to affect their view of themselves as Americans. Halloran covers a wide swathe of immigrant food memoirs, moving seamlessly between works by authors such as Austin Clarke, Madhur Jaffrey, Kim Sunée, Diana Abu-Jaber, Eduardo Machado, Colette Rossant, Maya Angelou, and Jonathan Safran Foer.
The Immigrant Kitchen describes how these memoirs function as a complex and engaging mass media genre that caters to multiple reading constituencies. Specifically, they entertain readers with personal anecdotes and recollections, teach new culinary skills through recipes, share insight into different cultural mores through ethnographic and reportorial discussions of life in other countries, and attest to the impact that an individual’s legal immigration into the United States continues to have down through the generations of his or her American-born families.
Well over thirty million people in the United States speak a primary language other than English. Nearly twenty million of them speak Spanish. And these numbers are growing. Critics of immigration and multiculturalism argue that recent government language policies such as bilingual education, non-English election materials, and social service and workplace "language rights" threaten the national character of the United States. Proponents of bilingualism, on the other hand, maintain that, far from being a threat, these language policies and programs provide an opportunity to right old wrongs and make the United States a more democratic society.
This book lays out the two approaches to language policy -- linguistic assimilation and linguistic pluralism -- in clear and accessible terms. Filled with examples and narratives, it provides a readable overview of the U.S. "culture wars" and explains why the conflict has just now emerged as a major issue in the United States.
Professor Schmidt examines bilingual education in the public schools, "linguistic access" rights to public services, and the designation of English as the United States' "official" language. He illuminates the conflict by describing the comparative, theoretical, and social contexts for the debate. The source of the disagreement, he maintains, is not a disagreement over language per se but over identity and the consequences of identity for individuals, ethnic groups, and the country as a whole. Who are "the American people"? Are we one national group into which newcomers must assimilate? Or are we composed of many cultural communities, each of which is a unique but integral part of the national fabric? This fundamental point is what underlies the specific disputes over language policy. This way of looking at identity politics, as Professor Schmidt shows, calls into question the dichotomy between "material interest" politics and "symbolic" politics in relation to group identities.
Not limited to describing the nature and context of the language debate, Language Policy and Identity Politics in the United States reaches the conclusion that a policy of linguistic pluralism, coupled with an immigrant settlement policy and egalitarian economic reforms, will best meet the aims of justice and the common good. Only by attacking both the symbolic and material effects of racialization will the United States be able to attain the goals of social equality and national harmony.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the policies of the early years of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, Making an American Workforce explores John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s welfare capitalist programs and their effects on the company's diverse workforce.
Focusing on the workers themselves—men, women, and children representative of a variety of immigrant and ethnic groups—contributors trace the emergence of the Employee Representation Plan, the work of the company's Sociology Department, and CF&I's interactions with the YMCA in the early twentieth century. They examine CF&I's early commitment to Americanize its immigrant employees and shape worker behavior, the development of policies that constructed the workforce it envisioned while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the strike that eventually led to the Ludlow Massacre, and the impact of the massacre on the employees, the company, and beyond.
Making an American Workforce provides greater insight into the repercussions of the Industrial Representation Plan and the Ludlow Massacre, revealing the long-term consequences of Colorado Fuel and Iron Company policies on the American worker, the state of Colorado, and the creation of corporate culture. Making an American Workforce will be of interest to Western, labor, and business historians.
After the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898, the new unincorporated territory sought to define its future. Seeking to shape the next generation and generate popular support for colonial rule, U.S. officials looked to education as a key venue for promoting the benefits of Americanization. At the same time, public schools became a site where Puerto Rican teachers, parents, and students could formulate and advance their own projects for building citizenship. In Negotiating Empire, Solsiree del Moral demonstrates how these colonial intermediaries aimed for regeneration and progress through education.
Rather than seeing U.S. empire in Puerto Rico during this period as a contest between two sharply polarized groups, del Moral views their interaction as a process of negotiation. Although educators and families rejected some tenets of Americanization, such as English-language instruction, they also redefined and appropriated others to their benefit to increase literacy and skills required for better occupations and social mobility. Pushing their citizenship-building vision through the schools, Puerto Ricans negotiated a different school project—one that was reformist yet radical, modern yet traditional, colonial yet nationalist.
"The authors have done a commendable and impressive job of addressing a topic of long-lasting and increasing significance in U.S. politics."
---F. Chris Garcia, University of New Mexico
"This is a path-breaking book that will be read across disciplines beyond political science."
---James Jennings, Tufts University
Over the past four decades, the United States has experienced the largest influx of immigrants in its history. Not only has the ratio of European to non-European newcomers changed, but recent arrivals are coming from the Asian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, South America, and other regions which have not previously supplied many immigrants to the United States.
In this timely study, a team of political scientists examines how the arrival of these newcomers has affected the efforts of long-standing minority groups---Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Americans---to gain equality through greater political representation and power. The authors predict that, for some time to come, the United States will function as a complex multiracial hierarchy, rather than as a genuine democracy.
Ronald Schmidt, Sr. is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach.
Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh is Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Office for Women's Affairs (OWA) at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Andrew L. Aoki is Professor of Political Science at Augsburg College.
Rodney E. Hero is the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.
Focusing on two well-established institutions—one in Chicago, the other in Los Angeles—Old Wisdom in the New World is the first systematic examination of the growing presence of Theravada Buddhist temples in the United States.
Paul David Numrich's socio-historical analysis highlights a number of classic Americanization themes of establishment, growth, and adaptation. These have surfaced, the author shows, in debates over the retention of Old World culture and language, the "problem" of the second generation, and the role of the laity in religious institutions. Going beyond such familiar themes, Numrich also uncovers the intriguing phenomenon of ethnically defined "parallel congregations" in these temples, as he reveals the ways in which Asian-immigrant Buddhists and American converts pursue substantively different expressions of the Theravada tradition under the direction of a shared clerical leadership, the resident monks.
In the author's view, these Theravada case studies underline the complexity of the present Americanization process. By examining the intersection of two important trends—the steady growth of Asian immigration and an increasing indigenous interest in new religious movements, especially those of Asian origin—this book points to some fascinating new directions for the study of religious and cultural diversity in the United States.
The Author: Paul David Numrich is a research associate in the Religion in Urban America Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Just before the turn of the twentieth century, immigrants from eastern and southern Europe who had settled in mining regions of Minnesota formed a subculture that combined elements of Old World traditions and American culture. Their unique pluralistic version of Americanism was expressed in Fourth of July celebrations rooted in European carnival traditions that included rough games, cross-dressing, and rowdiness.In One Day for Democracy, Mary Lou Nemanic traces the festive history of Independence Day from 1776 to the twentieth century. The author shows howthese diverse immigrant groups on the Minnesota Iron Range created their own version of the celebration, the Iron Range Fourth of July.As mass-mediated popular culture emerged in the twentieth century, Fourth of July celebrations in the Iron Range began to include such popular cultureelements as beauty queens and marching bands. Nemanic documents the enormous influence of these changes on this isolated region and highlights the complex interplay between popular culture and identity construction.But this is not a typical story of assimilation or ethnic separation. Instead, One Day for Democracy reveals how more than thirty different ethnic groupswho shared identities as both workers and new Americans came together in a remote mining region to create their own subculture.
The children of immigrants continue a journey begun by their parents. Born or raised in the United States, this second generation now stands over 20 million strong. In this insightful new book, immigration scholars Renee Luthra, Thomas Soehl, and Roger Waldinger provide a fresh understanding the making of the second generation, bringing both their origins and destinations into view.
Using surveys of second generation immigrant adults in New York and Los Angeles, Origins and Destinations explains why second generation experiences differ across national origin groups and why immigrant offspring with the same national background often follow different trajectories. Inter-group disparities stem from contexts of both emigration and immigration. Origin countries differ in value orientations: immigrant parents transmit lessons learned in varying contexts of emigration to children raised in the U.S. A system of migration control sifts immigrants by legal status, generating a context of immigration that favors some groups over others. Both contexts matter: schooling is higher among immigrant children from more secular societies (South Korea) than among those from more religious countries (the Philippines). When immigrant groups enter the U.S. migration system through a welcoming door, as opposed to one that makes authorized status difficult to achieve, education propels immigrant children to better jobs.
Diversity is also evident among immigrant offspring whose parents stem from the same place. Immigrant children grow up with homeland connections, which can both hurt and harm: immigrant offspring get less schooling when a parent lives abroad, but more schooling if parents in the U.S. send money to relatives living abroad. Though all immigrants enter the U.S. as non-citizens, some instantly enjoy legal status, while others spend years in the shadows. Children born abroad, but raised in the U.S. are all everyday Americans, but only some have become de jure Americans, a difference yielding across-the-board positive effects, even among those who started out in the same country.
Disentangling the sources of diversity among today’s population of immigrant offspring, Origins and Destinations provides a compelling new framework for understanding the second generation that is transforming America.
The settlement house movement, launched at the end of the nineteenth century by men and women of the upper middle class, began as an attempt to understand and improve the social conditions of the working class. It gradually came to focus on the "new immigrants"—mainly Italians, Slavs, Greeks, and Jews—who figured so prominently in this changing working class. Hull House, one of the first and best-known settlement houses in the United States, was founded in September 1889 on Chicago's West Side by Jane Addams and Ellen G. Starr. In a major new study of this famous institution and its place in the movement, Rivka Shpak Lissak reassesses the impact of Hull House on the nationwide debate over the place of immigrants in American society.
Recent global security threats, economic instability, and political uncertainty have placed great scrutiny on the requirements for U.S. citizenship. The stipulation of literacy has long been one of these criteria. In Producing Good Citizens, Amy J. Wan examines the historic roots of this phenomenon, looking specifically to the period just before World War I, up until the Great Depression. During this time, the United States witnessed a similar anxiety over the influx of immigrants, economic uncertainty, and global political tensions.
Early on, educators bore the brunt of literacy training, while also being charged with producing the right kind of citizens by imparting civic responsibility and a moral code for the workplace and society. Literacy quickly became the credential to gain legal, economic, and cultural status. In her study, Wan defines three distinct pedagogical spaces for literacy training during the 1910s and 1920s: Americanization and citizenship programs sponsored by the federal government, union-sponsored programs, and first year university writing programs. Wan also demonstrates how each literacy program had its own motivation: the federal government desired productive citizens, unions needed educated members to fight for labor reform, and university educators looked to aid social mobility.
Citing numerous literacy theorists, Wan analyzes the correlation of reading and writing skills to larger currents within American society. She shows how early literacy training coincided with the demand for laborers during the rise of mass manufacturing, while also providing an avenue to economic opportunity for immigrants. This fostered a rhetorical link between citizenship, productivity, and patriotism. Wan supplements her analysis with an examination of citizen training books, labor newspapers, factory manuals, policy documents, public deliberations on citizenship and literacy, and other materials from the period to reveal the goal and rationale behind each program.
Wan relates the enduring bond of literacy and citizenship to current times, by demonstrating the use of literacy to mitigate economic inequality, and its lasting value to a productivity-based society. Today, as in the past, educators continue to serve as an integral part of the literacy training and citizen-making process.
In the 1920s, cultural and political reactions to the Red Scare in America contributed to a marked shift in the way Americans thought about sexuality, womanhood, manhood, and family life. The Russian Revolution prompted anxious Americans sensing a threat to social order to position heterosexuality, monogamy, and the family as a bulwark against radicalism.
In her probing and engaging book, Red War on the Family, Erica Ryan traces the roots of sexual modernism and the history of antiradicalism and antifeminism. She illuminates how Americans responded to foreign and domestic threats and expressed nationalism by strengthening traditional gender and family roles-especially by imposing them on immigrant groups, workers, women, and young people.
Ryan argues that the environment of political conformity in the 1920s was maintained in part through the quest for cultural and social conformity, exemplified by white, middle-class family life. Red War on the Family charts the ways Americanism both reinforced and was reinforced by these sexual and gender norms in the decades after World War I.
In this age of multicultural democracy, the idea of assimilation--that the social distance separating immigrants and their children from the mainstream of American society closes over time--seems outdated and, in some forms, even offensive. But as Richard Alba and Victor Nee show in the first systematic treatment of assimilation since the mid-1960s, it continues to shape the immigrant experience, even though the geography of immigration has shifted from Europe to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Institutional changes, from civil rights legislation to immigration law, have provided a more favorable environment for nonwhite immigrants and their children than in the past.
Assimilation is still driven, in claim, by the decisions of immigrants and the second generation to improve their social and material circumstances in America. But they also show that immigrants, historically and today, have profoundly changed our mainstream society and culture in the process of becoming Americans.
Surveying a variety of domains--language, socioeconomic attachments, residential patterns, and intermarriage--they demonstrate the continuing importance of assimilation in American life. And they predict that it will blur the boundaries among the major, racially defined populations, as nonwhites and Hispanics are increasingly incorporated into the mainstream.
Table of Contents:
1. Rethinking Assimilation 2. Assimilation Theory, New and Old 3. Assimilation in Practice: The Europeans and East Asians 4. Was Assimilation Contingent on Specific Historical Conditions? 5. The Background to Contemporary Immigration 6. Evidence of Contemporary Assimilation 7. Conclusion: Remaking the Mainstream
Reviews of this book: Sociologists Alba and Nee provide a superb, comprehensive analysis of theory, data, and history to revise past and contemporary understandings of immigration and assimilation in the U.S. Their goal is to respond to skeptics' pessimism about new immigrants' assimilability, question misconception about the assimilation experiences of previous and current immigrant groups, reject normative baggage attached to notions of assimilation, and answer the question, 'What can assimilation look like in such a diverse and ethnically dynamic society?' --S. M. Green, Choice
Alba and Nee have written a carefully theorized, thoughtfully argued, and empirically well-grounded book. They demonstrate persuasively that the so-called "new" immigration is not terribly different from previous ones, and that most of the descendants of today's Hispanic, Asian, and other newcomers are assimilating in much the same way as the children and grandchildren of the European immigration. Their contribution to our understanding of immigration, ethnicity and race should be read far beyond the worlds of social science scholarship. --Herbert J. Gans, Author of Democracy and the News
Assimilation is dead, long live assimilation! Alba and Nee are fully aware of the flaws and biases in the old model of the "melting pot," but they rehabilitate it with elegant theory, persuasive facts, and careful attention to its continued racial and class-based failings. The idea of assimilation may be unfashionable, but it has the singular virtue of fitting the case--for many Americans, at any rate--more than other trendier theories do. Remaking the American Mainstream shows us how, why, and to what end. --Jennifer L. Hochschild, co-Author, The American Dream and the Public Schools
Alba and Nee have accomplished a tour de force. They have an important story to tell and they've told it with great verve and skill, using prose that will allow this book to be widely read. Remaking the American Mainstream is an outstanding work that is truly worthy of the important topic it addresses. --Roger Waldinger, author of Still the Promised City?: African-Americans and New Immigrants in Postindustrial New York
No phenomenon is more central to the future shape of American life than assimilation - its contested meanings, the demand for it by established Americans, the powerful but mixed incentives for it by immigrants, its social history, and its future trajectory. Alba and Nee elucidate these crucial questions and supply provocative answers. Their book is a valuable Baedeker for anyone who visits the subject. --Peter Schuck, author of Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance
Tiger Mom. Asian patriarchy. Model minority children. Generation gap. The many images used to describe the prototypical Asian family have given rise to two versions of the Asian immigrant family myth. The first celebrates Asian families for upholding the traditional heteronormative ideal of the “normal (white) American family” based on a hard-working male breadwinner and a devoted wife and mother who raises obedient children. The other demonizes Asian families around these very same cultural values by highlighting the dangers of excessive parenting, oppressive hierarchies, and emotionless pragmatism in Asian cultures.
Saving Face cuts through these myths, offering a more nuanced portrait of Asian immigrant families in a changing world as recalled by the people who lived them first-hand: the grown children of Chinese and Korean immigrants. Drawing on extensive interviews, sociologist Angie Y. Chung examines how these second-generation children negotiate the complex and conflicted feelings they have toward their family responsibilities and upbringing. Although they know little about their parents’ lives, she reveals how Korean and Chinese Americans assemble fragments of their childhood memories, kinship narratives, and racial myths to make sense of their family experiences. However, Chung also finds that these adaptive strategies come at a considerable social and psychological cost and do less to reconcile the social stresses that minority immigrant families endure today.
Saving Face not only gives readers a new appreciation for the often painful generation gap between immigrants and their children, it also reveals the love, empathy, and communication strategies families use to help bridge those rifts.
Pledging allegiance, singing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” wearing a flag pin—these are all markers of modern patriotism, emblems that announce the devotion of American citizens. Most of these nationalistic performances were formulized during the early twentieth century and driven to new heights by the panic surrounding national identity during World War I. In To Become an American Leslie A. Hahner argues that, in part, the Americanization movement engendered the transformation of patriotism during this period. Americanization was a massive campaign designed to fashion immigrants into perfect Americans—those who were loyal in word, deed, and heart. The larger outcome of this widespread movement was a dramatic shift in the nation’s understanding of Americanism. Employing a rhetorical lens to analyze the visual and aesthetic practices of Americanization, Hahner contends that Americanization not only tutored students in the practices of citizenship but also created a normative visual metric that modified how Americans would come to understand, interpret, and judge their own patriotism and that of others.
In Transnational America, Inderpal Grewal examines how the circulation of people, goods, social movements, and rights discourses during the 1990s created transnational subjects shaped by a global American culture. Rather than simply frame the United States as an imperialist nation-state that imposes unilateral political power in the world, Grewal analyzes how the concept of “America” functions as a nationalist discourse beyond the boundaries of the United States by disseminating an ideal of democratic citizenship through consumer practices. She develops her argument by focusing on South Asians in India and the United States.
Grewal combines a postcolonial perspective with social and cultural theory to argue that contemporary notions of gender, race, class, and nationality are linked to earlier histories of colonization. Through an analysis of Mattel’s sales of Barbie dolls in India, she discusses the consumption of American products by middle-class Indian women newly empowered with financial means created by India’s market liberalization. Considering the fate of asylum-seekers, Grewal looks at how a global feminism in which female refugees are figured as human rights victims emerged from a distinctly Western perspective. She reveals in the work of three novelists who emigrated from India to the United States—Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Amitav Ghosh—a concept of Americanness linked to cosmopolitanism. In Transnational America Grewal makes a powerful, nuanced case that the United States must be understood—and studied—as a dynamic entity produced and transformed both within and far beyond its territorial boundaries.
Rosemary C. Salomone Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress LC3731.S24 2010 | Dewey Decimal 371.82691
True American is a look at the history and current politics of languages - English and the many native languages of immigrants - as they play out in schools, historically a central force for assimilation and Americanization. While she does discuss the history of and debates over bilingual education programs, her focus is an analysis of the passionate support for an English-only America. She uses the myths about the assimilation of previous immigrant groups and the debates over how best to educate children of the “new immigrants” as a window for exploring what it means to be a “true American” in an age of globalization and transnationalism.Underlying her discussion of these various debates is Salomone’s call for a more inclusive sense of the “we” that demands respect for linguistic and cultural differences, rather than mere toleration. She argues that we can politically equal and culturally compatible without being culturally identical or monolingual.
The turn of the 20th century represented one of the most chaotic periods in the nation's history, as immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans struggled with their roles as Americans while white America feared their encroachments on national identity. This book examines Theodore Roosevelt’s public rhetoric—speeches, essays, and narrative histories—as he attempted to craft one people out of many. Leroy G. Dorsey observes that Roosevelt's solution to the problem appeared straightforward: everyone could become "Americans, pure and simple" if they embraced his notion of "Americanism." Roosevelt grounded his idea of Americanism in myth, particularly the frontier myth—a heroic combination of individual strength and character. When nonwhites and immigrants demonstrated these traits, they would become true Americans, earning an exalted status that they had heretofore been denied.
Dorsey’s analysis illuminates how Roosevelt's rhetoric achieved a number of delicate, if problematic, balancing acts. Roosevelt gave his audiences the opportunity to accept a national identity that allowed "some" room for immigrants and nonwhites, while reinforcing their status as others, thereby reassuring white Americans of their superior place in the nation. Roosevelt’s belief in an ordered and unified nation did not overwhelm his private racist attitudes, Dorsey argues, but certainly competed with them. Despite his private sentiments, he recognized that racist beliefs and rhetoric were divisive and bad for the nation’s progress. The resulting message he chose to propagate was thus one of a rhetorical, if not literal, melting pot.
By focusing on Roosevelt’s rhetorical constructions of national identity, as opposed to his personal exploits or his role as a policy maker, We Are All Americans offers new insights into Roosevelt’s use of public discourse to bind the nation together during
During the first half of the twentieth century, American Jews demonstrated a commitment to racial justice as well as an attraction to African American culture. Until now, the debate about whether such black-Jewish encounters thwarted or enabled Jews’ claims to white privilege has focused on men and representations of masculinity while ignoring questions of women and femininity. The White Negress investigates literary and cultural texts by Jewish and African American women, opening new avenues of inquiry that yield more complex stories about Jewishness, African American identity, and the meanings of whiteness.
Lori Harrison-Kahan examines writings by Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as the blackface performances of vaudevillian Sophie Tucker and controversies over the musical and film adaptations of Show Boat and Imitation of Life. Moving between literature and popular culture, she illuminates how the dynamics of interethnic exchange have at once produced and undermined the binary of black and white.