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American FatherhoodA History$
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Jürgen Martschukat

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892273

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892273.001.0001

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Immigrant Families in Urban America, 1880–1920

Immigrant Families in Urban America, 1880–1920

(p.118) 7 Immigrant Families in Urban America, 1880–1920
American Fatherhood

Jürgen Martschukat

NYU Press

Chapter 7 follows a young Jewish immigrant, Minnie Goldstein, and her family as they make their way from Warsaw, Poland, to New York City’s Lower East Side in 1894. Based on her personal and autobiographic account of her life story in America, the chapter juxtaposes the girl’s memories of her family life in America and of the Jewish diaspora in general with the derogatory depiction of life in the Lower East Side tenements by progressive reformers such as Jacob Riis. The chapter also discusses how perceptions of ethnically and religiously diverse family concepts served to make the so-called “new immigrants” an exotic and pathological other in a culture and politics increasingly focusing on the idea of “racial purity.” Thus, the chapter argues that modern concepts and practices of ethnicity and race were closely related to specific understandings of family life.

Keywords:   immigration, Lower East Side, ethnicity, autobiography

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