A Nation of Immigrants

Overview of themes in American immigration

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A Nation of Immigrants by Mind Map: A Nation of Immigrants

1. What about Native Americans?

1.1. de Crevecœur's "What is an American?" creates myth of a blank slate, wilderness before arrival of European settlers

1.2. Kennedy in "A Nation of Immigrants:" "With the exception of..."

1.3. Dunbar-Ortiz: "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" documents thriving civilizations before colonization, incl. towns, trade networks, roads; population of possible 100 million people across the Americas

2. History of Immigration

2.1. Nativism: policy or ideology oriented toward securing the position of established citizens over new immigrants

2.1.1. Examples: Chinese Exclusion Act, Quota System

2.2. East European Immigration

2.2.1. Examples

2.2.1.1. Immigration from Poland under Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian Imperial Rule

2.2.1.2. Jewish immigration, especially from the Pale of Settlement in the late 19th century

2.2.1.2.1. Popular culture examples: "An American Tail," "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Lazarus Project"

2.2.1.3. Refugees from state socialism, e.g. Poland in the 1950s

2.2.1.4. Soviet "Third Wave" in the 1970s and 1980s, especially Jewish refugees and dissidents

2.2.2. Experiences

2.2.2.1. Settlement in centers of heavy industry: Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh

2.2.2.1.1. Immigration also mean transition from rural to urban life

2.2.2.2. exploitative labor practices

2.2.2.3. xenophobia

2.2.2.4. new immigrant whiteness (Sadowski-Smith)

3. Different kinds of migration and migrants

3.1. Return migration: often ignored in discussions of the "American Dream"

3.2. refugees and asylum seekers

4. borders: defining feature of the nation state and of international migration

4.1. closed borders: Iron Curtain during Cold War and southern borders of European Union (and United States) today

4.1.1. literary illustration: Kapka Kassabova

5. American society and racism

5.1. Naturalization Act of 1790: citizenship available to all "free White persons"

5.2. white privilege as an "invisible systems conferring dominance" (Peggy McIntosh)

6. the melting pot

6.1. American nation as a new kind of man (de Crevecœur)

6.2. "has outlived its usefulness, and also its credibility" (Glazer and Patrick)

6.2.1. "ethnic revival" (Matthew Frye Jacobson)

6.2.1.1. revived interest in "roots" and genealogy: 23 and Me, Ancestry etc.

6.2.1.2. "An American Tail" as an expression of this interest