Italian roots: family history, intergenerational experience, and identity

Dewhirst, Catherine (2003) Italian roots: family history, intergenerational experience, and identity. In: Social Change in the 21st Century 2003 Conference, 21 Nov 2003, Brisbane, Australia.


'Australia' as a notion has formed part of both mythical and real experience for Italians over the last seven centuries since Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) wrote La Divina Comedia in the vernacular. Our Terra incognita was imagined as the doorstep to purgatory after death, but it was also experienced by real people venturing beyond the frontiers of the homeland peninsula as explorers, artists, writers, poets, scientists, sailors and migrants (Lorenzato 1995:iii-iv; Cecilia 1987:ch.1). The migration of Italians to Australia has had a profound impact on the social, economic and political spheres of this country, starting mainly with the post-Risorgimento period. As a result of their presence and interaction in Australia, Italians have made untold contributions and left many legacies. One intriguing and certainly contentious legacy is that captured by the modern-day term of ‘ethnicity’, ‘ethnic identity’ or italianità [Italianness]. We might therefore consider a discussion of Italian ethnicity as a valuable means for exploring important features about Australia’s past.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:06
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 04:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: Italian; Italians; migration; Italian migration history; family history; ethnicity; Australia
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200208 Migrant Cultural Studies
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage

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