Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography and No Lamps

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Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography

Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography by Kevin Kenny first examines Kerby Miller’s Emigrants and Exiles. Kenny argues that even though Miller’s book is highly praised by its contributions to the field of Irish Americans, it rather creates a misrepresentation of Irish history. Kenny also analyzes on the historical scholarships that focuses on understanding Irish Americans life in American society. He examines the concept of “whiteness” and argues how many historians used “whiteness” to explain the history of immigrants such as the Irish Americans. He claims that there must be a change by historians in how they approach studying race and class in the nineteenth century because of their focus on “whiteness” instead of the real social relations immigrants faced. He states that this focus on “whiteness” is a conceptual confusion and affects how historians understand race and racism. Kenny concludes by focusing on how transnational approaches will be great for the study of ethnic nationalism.

 

No Lamps

No Lamps Were Lit for Them: Angel Island and the Historiography of Asian American Immigration by Roger Daniels examines how Angel Island was the site of the detention facility for Chinese men and Japanese women called Angel Island Immigration Station. Daniels discusses how this immigration station was a direct result of anti-Chinese Legislation. He shows how this station was known as a “death trap”. Daniel explores the resistances created by Chinese immigrants such as the use of attorneys in court and the use of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 to gain citizenship. Even if Asian immigrants were allowed to live in America they received strict laws affecting their daily lives as well as continues racism. Overall Daniel wants to depict how vastly different Angel Island was to Ellis Island in terms of how they both represent different aspects of American immigration.

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