Italian Roots: Family History, Inter Generational Experience, and Identity

Dewhirst, Catherine M. (2003) Italian Roots: Family History, Inter Generational Experience, and Identity. In Bradley, Rebecca, Lyddon, Jeff, & Buys, Laurie (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century, 21 November 2003, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.


‘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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ID Code: 130
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Italian Australians, Italian ethnicity, Inter, generational experience, Italian migrants, Australia
ISBN: 0646431056
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) (210303)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > OTHER STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (169900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Multicultural Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies (200209)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Race and Ethnic Relations (160803)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Catherine M. Dewhirst
Deposited On: 10 Jun 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:21

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