Collaborating on whiteness: representing Italians in early white Australia

Dewhirst, Catherine (2008) Collaborating on whiteness: representing Italians in early white Australia. Journal of Australian Studies, 32 (1). pp. 33-49. ISSN 1444-3058


This article examines the experience of Italian migrants as 'ethnic whites' in the period before World War I through two foreign language newspapers, L’Italo- Australiano (1905-1909) and the Oceania (1913-1915). The social history that emerges from these newspapers provides insight into Australia's national history and is complemented by views from the mainstream press. Italian community leaders used resistance and compromise to validate the whiteness of Italians, appealing to nationalistic values. The editors engaged with the polemics of Italian immigration by articulating a counter-ideology to Australia's obsession with creating a homogenous society which frequently relegated Italians to the periphery. Their attempt to promote an Italian agricultural village illustrates this ideological stance. Its failure to take hold in the manner they had envisaged suggests the contradictions inherent in the processes of nation-building, especiallyregarding the discourse of whiteness. Italians were central to a lively debate over preferential migrants - a debate still relevant today.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Depositing User: Dr Catherine Dewhirst
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2009 05:54
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2014 02:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: Italian migration; Italo-Australian history; Giovanni Pulle; foreign language press; ethnic identity; community construction; whiteness studies
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/14443050801993800

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