Chapter 30. Constructions of “Ethnicity” and “Diasporas”

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Aviva Taubenfeld Assistant Professor

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch30

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Taubenfeld, A. (2010) Constructions of “Ethnicity” and “Diasporas”, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch30

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. Purchase College, State University of New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • constructions of “Ethnicity” and “Diasporas”;
  • responding to voices - James, David Quixano, the Russian Jewish immigrant hero of Israel Zangwill's 1908 play The Melting Pot;
  • making Americans - the promise and limits of self-transformation in the Progressive Era;
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 1894 essay “True Americanism” setting the tone and expectations for native-born Americans and foreigners;
  • Mary Antin beginning - her famous 1912 autobiography, The Promised Land, a born-again American, celebrating the death of the Eastern European Jewish girl she once was at the hands of her true American self;
  • “The Fusion of All Races” - racial problems and racial solutions for the making of Americans;
  • early response to racilization of difference, the British Jew, Israel Zangwill - offering a biological solution to problem of racially other immigrants;
  • “In Our Hearts, in Our Blood” - embracing race to maintain distinctiveness;
  • the science of genetics and language of race - prominence in dominant culture and call for restriction growing louder


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Making Americans: The Promise and Limits of Self-Transformation in the Progressive Era

  • “The Fusion of All Races”: Racial Problems and Racial Solutions for the Making of Americans

  • “In Our Hearts, in Our Blood”: Embracing Race to Maintain Distinctiveness

  • Ethnicity “Revived”

  • Looking Forward, Looking Backward: Implications for New American Narratives

  • References and Further Reading