Collaborating on whiteness: representing Italians in early white Australia

Article


Dewhirst, Catherine. 2008. "Collaborating on whiteness: representing Italians in early white Australia." Journal of Australian Studies. 32 (1), pp. 33-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/14443050801993800
Article Title

Collaborating on whiteness: representing Italians in early white Australia

ERA Journal ID34876
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorDewhirst, Catherine
Journal TitleJournal of Australian Studies
Journal Citation32 (1), pp. 33-49
Number of Pages17
Year2008
PublisherRoutledge
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0314-769X
1444-3058
1835-6419
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14443050801993800
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14443050801993800
Abstract

This article examines the experience of Italian migrants as 'ethnic whites' in the period before World War I through two foreign language newspapers, L'Italo- Australiano (1905-1909) and the Oceania (1913-1915). The social history that emerges from these newspapers provides insight into Australia's national history and is complemented by views from the mainstream press. Italian community leaders used resistance and compromise to validate the whiteness of Italians, appealing to nationalistic values. The editors engaged with the polemics of Italian immigration by articulating a counter-ideology to Australia's obsession with creating a homogenous society which frequently relegated Italians to the periphery. Their attempt to promote an Italian agricultural village illustrates this ideological stance. Its failure to take hold in the manner they had envisaged suggests the contradictions inherent in the processes of nation-building, especially regarding the discourse of whiteness. Italians were central to a lively debate over preferential migrants - a debate still relevant today.

KeywordsItalian migration; Italo-Australian history; Giovanni Pulle; foreign language press; ethnic identity; community construction; whiteness studies
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470211. Migrant cultural studies
430302. Australian history
441013. Sociology of migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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