Journal of Women’s History
Identifying the theoretical and chronological fault lines that divide immigration and women’s history, I use memory and biography to argue that assimilation and transnationalism in the 1.5 and second generations were not oppositional. In this article, I tell the story of an Italian immigrant who moved to the United States as a young child and who became a self-proclaimed “left winger.” I cast Katie’s story less from her own words as from the recollections of others who remade and remembered her from the 1930s until 1960. I argue that a working-class transnational’s identity was one that could move through large and small geographic spaces as well as take up the minds and hearts of men and women who made (or witnessed) global crossings. The identity of “transnationals”—those immigrants like Katie—might be described as slippery. They slipped through identities, highlighting and hiding different pieces of themselves at different moments and places. The construction of Katie over time comprised domains often imagined and experienced by many as contradictory or competing: the foreigner/the citizen, the personal/the political, the internationalist/the American, and the home/the community.
Copyright © 2009, Johns Hopkins University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Merithew, Caroline Waldron, "Sister Katie: The Memory and Making of a 1.5 Generation Working Class Transnational" (2009). History Faculty Publications. 50.