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Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of German-American Identity

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Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of German-American Identity Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

More Americans trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country. Arguably, German Americans form America's largest ethnic group. Yet they have a remarkably low profile today, reflecting a dramatic, twentieth-century retreat from German-American identity. In this age of multiculturalism, why have German Americans gone into ethnic eclipse--and where have they ended up? Becoming Old Stock represents the first in-depth exploration of that question. The book describes how German Philadelphians reinvented themselves in the early twentieth century, especially after World War I brought a nationwide anti-German backlash.

Using quantitative methods, oral history, and a cultural analysis of written sources, the book explores how, by the 1920s, many middle-class and Lutheran residents had redefined themselves in "old-stock" terms--as "American" in opposition to southeastern European "new immigrants." It also examines working-class and Catholic Germans, who came to share a common identity with other European immigrants, but not with newly arrived black Southerners.

Becoming Old Stock sheds light on the way German Americans used race, American nationalism, and mass culture to fashion new identities in place of ethnic ones. It is also an important contribution to the growing literature on racial identity among European Americans. In tracing the fate of one of America's largest ethnic groups, Becoming Old Stock challenges historians to rethink the phenomenon of ethnic assimilation and to explore its complex relationship to American pluralism.

Synopsis:

"This is a scholarly work par excellence. Prodigiously researched, cogently argued and extremely well written, the book is a richly detailed case study of the shifts in German-American identity in Philadelphia during the early 20th century. A tour de force."--Marilyn Halter, Boston University

Synopsis:

More Americans trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country. Arguably, German Americans form America's largest ethnic group. Yet they have a remarkably low profile today, reflecting a dramatic, twentieth-century retreat from German-American identity. In this age of multiculturalism, why have German Americans gone into ethnic eclipse--and where have they ended up? Becoming Old Stock represents the first in-depth exploration of that question. The book describes how German Philadelphians reinvented themselves in the early twentieth century, especially after World War I brought a nationwide anti-German backlash.

Using quantitative methods, oral history, and a cultural analysis of written sources, the book explores how, by the 1920s, many middle-class and Lutheran residents had redefined themselves in "old-stock" terms--as "American" in opposition to southeastern European "new immigrants." It also examines working-class and Catholic Germans, who came to share a common identity with other European immigrants, but not with newly arrived black Southerners.

Becoming Old Stock sheds light on the way German Americans used race, American nationalism, and mass culture to fashion new identities in place of ethnic ones. It is also an important contribution to the growing literature on racial identity among European Americans. In tracing the fate of one of America's largest ethnic groups, Becoming Old Stock challenges historians to rethink the phenomenon of ethnic assimilation and to explore its complex relationship to American pluralism.

About the Author

Russell A. Kazal is Assistant Professor of History at Arcadia University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Tables xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Part One: 1900

Chapter One

German Philadelphia: A Social Portrait 17

Chapter Two

Two Neighborhoods 43

Part Two: Confronting Assimilation, 1900-1914

Chapter Three

The Gendered Crisis of the Vereinswesen 79

Chapter Four

Destinations: The Ambiguous Lure of Mass Commercial and Consumer Culture 95

Chapter Five

Destinations: Fractured Whiteness, "American" Identity, and the "Old Stock" Opening 109

Chapter Six

Resisting Assimilation: Middle-Class and Working-Class Approaches 130

Part Three: Storm, 1914-1919

Chapter Seven

European War and Ethnic Mobilization 151

Chapter Eight

Intervention, the Anti-German Panic, and the Fall of Public Germanness 171

Part Four: Reshaping Identities in the 1920s Chapter Nine An Ethnicity Subdued 197

Chapter Ten

Changing Neighborhoods 213

Chapter Eleven

Middle-Class Germans: American Identity and the "Stock" of "Our Forefathers" 232

Chapter Twelve

Workers and Catholics: Toward the "White Ethnic" 246

Conclusion Pluralism, Nationalism, Race, and the Fate of German America 261

Appendix The Neighborhood Census Samples 283

Notes 291

Index 371

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691050157
Author:
Kazal, Russell A.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Immigrants
Subject:
Social classes
Subject:
Ethnicity
Subject:
German americans
Subject:
Whites
Subject:
Pluralism
Subject:
Philadelphia
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
American history
Subject:
Cultural pluralism - United States
Subject:
Ethnicity -- United States.
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
GTR-550
Publication Date:
July 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
7 halftones. 5 line illus. 8 tables.
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 26 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » European American
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of German-American Identity New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$96.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691050157 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This is a scholarly work par excellence. Prodigiously researched, cogently argued and extremely well written, the book is a richly detailed case study of the shifts in German-American identity in Philadelphia during the early 20th century. A tour de force."--Marilyn Halter, Boston University
"Synopsis" by , More Americans trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country. Arguably, German Americans form America's largest ethnic group. Yet they have a remarkably low profile today, reflecting a dramatic, twentieth-century retreat from German-American identity. In this age of multiculturalism, why have German Americans gone into ethnic eclipse--and where have they ended up? Becoming Old Stock represents the first in-depth exploration of that question. The book describes how German Philadelphians reinvented themselves in the early twentieth century, especially after World War I brought a nationwide anti-German backlash.

Using quantitative methods, oral history, and a cultural analysis of written sources, the book explores how, by the 1920s, many middle-class and Lutheran residents had redefined themselves in "old-stock" terms--as "American" in opposition to southeastern European "new immigrants." It also examines working-class and Catholic Germans, who came to share a common identity with other European immigrants, but not with newly arrived black Southerners.

Becoming Old Stock sheds light on the way German Americans used race, American nationalism, and mass culture to fashion new identities in place of ethnic ones. It is also an important contribution to the growing literature on racial identity among European Americans. In tracing the fate of one of America's largest ethnic groups, Becoming Old Stock challenges historians to rethink the phenomenon of ethnic assimilation and to explore its complex relationship to American pluralism.

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