Letters to the Editor: the 'awkward truths' in Australia's Italian migration history, 1900-1915

Edited book (chapter)


Dewhirst, Catherine. 2014. "Letters to the Editor: the 'awkward truths' in Australia's Italian migration history, 1900-1915." Callisen, Christian Thorsten (ed.) Reading and writing history from Bruni to Windschuttle: essays in honour of Gary Ianziti. United Kingdom. Ashgate Publishing Limited. pp. 161-177
Chapter Title

Letters to the Editor: the 'awkward truths' in Australia's Italian migration history, 1900-1915

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID1202
Book TitleReading and writing history from Bruni to Windschuttle: essays in honour of Gary Ianziti
Authors
AuthorDewhirst, Catherine
EditorsCallisen, Christian Thorsten
Page Range161-177
Chapter Number9
Number of Pages17
Year2014
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISBN9781409457053
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315603681-13
Web Address (URL)https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315603681-13/letters-editor-awkward-truths-australia-italian-migration-history-1900%E2%80%931915-catherine-dewhirst?context=ubx&refId=8b96c2ed-2e4a-4682-8b10-520952d7907d
Abstract

Most scholars of Italian migration history assume that the majority of Italy's emigrants between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries expressed no interest in the Italian nation or identity, or national culture. Many left their homelands because of unemployment and poverty, largely caused by the government's unification processes and imperial designs. As such, the dominant narrative has tended to tell a story of 'heroes and villains', to use Peter Burke's words. This chapter investigates epistolary evidence from Italian migrant workers in Australia during Italy's efforts to assert an imperial influence across the diaspora, 1900-1915. Italian migrant letters are rare for the era but some are preserved in the Italian migrant press of the day, Uniamoci, L'Italo-Australiano and Oceania. To use another of Burke's phrases, they reveal some 'awkward truths' with Italian migrant perspectives challenging reifying conceptions within the historiography.

KeywordsItalian migrants; Australia; migrant workers; archival material
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 Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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