This book provides a new framework for examining and comprehending the varied historical experiences of ethnic groups in the United States. Thematically organized and comparative in outlook, it explores how historians have grappled with questions that bear upon a key aspect of the American experience: ethnicity. How did the United States come to have such an ethnically diverse population? What contribution, if any, has this ethnic diversity made to the shaping of American culture and institutions? How easily and at what levels have ethnic and racial minorities been incorporated, if at all, into the social and economic structures of the United States? Has incorporation been a uniform process or has it varied from group to group? As well as providing readers with an accessible yet authoritative introduction to the field of American ethnic history, the book serves as a valuable reference tool for more experienced researchers. Key Features: *Adopts a comparative and thematic approach that helps to demystify this complex and controversial subject. *Provides an orderly and readable introduction to the main issues and debates surrounding the topic.
*Detailed and broad-ranging discussion of historiography enables readers to find more specialized works on topics in which they are interested.
Jason McDonald has taught at the University of Winchester, Brunel University, and Iowa State University.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; I. DEFINING ETHNICITY; 1. The Origins and Nature of Ethnic Identity; Introduction; Terminology: Ethnic, Ethnicity, Ethny; Ethnicity: Inherited or Invented?; Race: Variant of Ethnicity or Independent Variable?; Summary; II. PERSPECTIVES ON AMERICAN ETHNIC DIVERSITY; 2. The Making of American Ethnic Diversity; Introduction; Hegemonic Origins: Conquest; Hegemonic Origins: Involuntary Migration; Overcoming Biases in Immigration History; Causes of Immigration; Summary; 3. Ethnic Adaptation; Introduction; Assimilation: The Melting Pot; Assimilation: Challenging the Melting Pot; Assimilation: Anglo-Conformity; Pluralism; Beyond the Assimilation-Pluralism Dichotomy; Summary; III. MAINSTREAM SOCIETY'S PERCEPTIONS AND POLICIES; 4. Ethnicity and the American Creed; Introduction; A 'world-wide welcome'?; 'Land of the Free': Equality or Inequality?; 'Safety': Ethnic Violence; Summary; 5. Ethnic Incorporation; Introduction; Residential Patterns; Education: 'The Great Equalizer'?; Social Mobility: The 'Land of Opportunity'?; Summary; IV. MINORITY GROUP RESPONSES TO AMERICAN LIFE; 6. Ethnic Collective Action; Introduction; Causes of Ethnic Collective Action; Varieties of Ethnic Collective Behaviour; Passive Participation: Accommodationism; Passive Non-Participation: Separatism; Active Participation: Reformism; Active Non-Participation: Irredentism, Radicalism; Inter-Ethnic Relations; Summary; 7. Confronting Challenges to Ethnic Allegiance; Introduction; Ethnic Boundaries: Fixed or Impermanent?; Agents of Particularism; Culture, Language; Institutions, Religion; Family; Competing Particularisms: Class; Competing Particularisms: Gender; Intermarriage and Boundary Erosion; Summary; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.