Italian American: The Racializing of an Ethnic Identity

Italian American: The Racializing of an Ethnic Identity

by David A.J. Richards
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814775209

ISBN-13: 9780814775202

Pub. Date: 07/01/1999

Publisher: New York University Press

When southern Italians began emigrating to the U.S. in large numbers in the 1870s-part of the "new immigration" from southern and eastern rather than northern Europe-they were seen as racially inferior, what David A. J. Richards terms "nonvisibly" black.

The first study of its kind, Italian American explores the acculturation process of Italian immigrants

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Overview

When southern Italians began emigrating to the U.S. in large numbers in the 1870s-part of the "new immigration" from southern and eastern rather than northern Europe-they were seen as racially inferior, what David A. J. Richards terms "nonvisibly" black.

The first study of its kind, Italian American explores the acculturation process of Italian immigrants in terms of then-current patterns of European and American racism. Delving into the political and legal context of flawed liberal nationalism both in Italy (the Risorgimento) and the United States (Reconstruction Amendments), Richards examines why Italian Americans were so reluctant to influence depictions of themselves and their own collective identity. He argues that American racism could not have had the durability or political power it has had either in the popular understanding or in the corruption of constitutional ideals unless many new immigrants, themselves often regarded as racially inferior, had been drawn into accepting and supporting many of the terms of American racism.

With its unprecedented focus on Italian American identity and an interdisciplinary approach to comparative culture and law, this timely study sheds important light on the history and contemporary importance of identity and multicultural politics in American political and constitutional debate.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814775202
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
07/01/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1Introduction1
2Revolutionary Constitutionalism14
The Six Ingredients of American Revolutionary Constitutionalism14
The Civil War Amendments as an Expression of American Revolutionary Constitutionalism27
French and American Revolutionary and Constitutional Thought Compared39
Popular Sovereignty in French Constitutionalism44
Rights Skepticism and the Positivistic Challenge to German Constitutionalism63
Summary and Concluding Remarks73
3The Promise and Betrayal of Italian Revolutionary Constitutionalism: The Southern Italian Emigration76
The Risorgimento as Revolutionary Constitutionalism76
American, French, and Italian Revolutionary and Constitutional Thought Compared86
The Legitimation Crisis of Italian Constitutionalism: The Emigration from Southern Italy97
4American Liberal Nationalism and the Italian Emigration116
Racism as a Constitutional Evil119
The Rationalization of Structural Injustice152
The Southern Italian Emigration and American Racism, 1890-1920158
Italian American Identity and American Racism181
5Multicultural Identity and Human Rights213
Bibliography239
Index259
About the Author273

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