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In a New Land

A Comparative View of Immigration

Nancy Foner

Publication Year: 2005

2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title!

According to the 2000 census, more than 10% of U.S. residents were foreign born; together with their American-born children, this group constitutes one fifth of the nation's population. What does this mass immigration mean for America? Leading immigration studies scholar, Nancy Foner, answers this question in her study of comparative immigration. Drawing on the rich history of American immigrants and current statistical and ethnographic data, In a New Land compares today’s new immigrants with the past influxes of Europeans to the United States and across cities and regions within the United States. Foner looks at immigration across nation-states, and over different periods of time, offering a comprehensive assessment and analysis.

This original approach to the study of recent U.S. immigration focuses on race and ethnicity, gender, and transnational connections. Centering her analysis on the groups that have come through and significantly shaped New York City, Foner compares today’s Latin American, Asian, and Caribbean newcomers with eastern and southern European immigrants a century ago and with immigrants in other major U.S. cities. Looking beyond the United States, Foner compares West Indian immigrants in New York with those in London. And, more generally, the book views the process of immigrants' integration in New York against other recent immigrant destinations in Europe.

Drawing on a wealth of historical and contemporary research, and written in a clear and lively style, In a New Land provides fresh insights into the dynamics of immigration today and the implications for where we are headed in the future.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

In the course of working on this book, I have acquired many debts. As the Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Professor of Equality and Justice in America at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs during 2002–2004, I was given precious time to work on this project. I am grateful to the Engelman family for funding the professorship ...

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Introduction: Migration in Comparative Perspective

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pp. 1-8

By now, it is almost a cliché to say that immigration is transforming the United States. At the time of the last census in 2000, more than 10 percent of U.S. residents were foreign-born; together with their American-born children, this group constituted one-fifth of the nation’s population. ...

Part I: Comparisons Across Time: Immigrants in New York’s Two Great Waves

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1. The Social Construction of Race in Two Immigrant Eras

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pp. 11-42

The racial difference between today’s nonwhite immigrant New Yorkers and their white European predecessors seems like a basic —and obvious—fact. Yet much is not obvious about racial matters then and now. At the turn of the twentieth century, when nearly all New York City residents were of European descent, ...

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2. Immigrants and African Americans

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pp. 43-61

New York’s immigrants and African Americans are, inevitably, connected. The African American presence has had a significant impact on the lives of immigrants as well as on the scholarship about them. These interconnections become particularly clear when we compare present-day immigrant New Yorkers ...

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3. Transnationalism Old and New

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pp. 62-88

Sound familiar? This reflection on the globalizing world and the possibility of electoral representation for Italians abroad describes issues that immigration scholars are debating and discussing today. The words were written, however, in 1906 by Gino Speranza, the secretary of the Society for the Protection of Italian Immigrants.1 ...

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4. Immigrant Women and Work, Then and Now

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pp. 89-106

Today’s immigrant women enter a society that has undergone remarkable changes since the last great immigrant influx at the turn of the twentieth century. Perhaps most dramatic, is the virtual revolution in women’s involvement in the labor force. Whereas in 1900, only 20 percent of women in the nation ...

Part II: Comparisons Across Space: West Indians in New York and London

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5. Being Black in London and New York: The Caribbean Experience

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pp. 109-130

When West Indians move to New York and London, one of the most jarring changes is being labeled “black.” They have found themselves living in societies where blackness is more devalued than it was in the Caribbean and facing significant barriers on account of their African ancestry and skin color. ...

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6. Place Matters: Comparative Perspectives on the West Indian Migrant Experience

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pp. 131-155

The responses of West Indians to life abroad, it is already clear, are neither inevitable nor “natural.” Much depends on where they move—something that a comparative perspective brings out in a powerful way. I have discussed the impact of the racial context in London and New York, ...

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7. Gendered Transitions: Jamaican Women in New York and London

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pp. 156-180

Gender relations, it has been observed, shape immigration patterns just as migration experiences reshape gender relations.1 By now, after several decades of feminist scholarship on immigration, this is almost a sociological truism. Yet despite a growing body of research on gender and immigration, ...

Part III: Comparisons Across Space

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8. How Exceptional Is New York? Immigration in Contemporary Urban America?

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pp. 183-205

There may be only one New York, but how exceptional really is New York as an immigrant city in the United States? To what extent is the story I have told in earlier chapters about newcomers to New York peculiar to the Empire City? How much relevance does it have for other major U.S. immigrant receiving cities, ...

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9. Immigration Past and Present: Some U.S.-Europe Comparisons

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pp. 206-224

Immigration is changing the face of Europe—just as it is altering America—and a comparison of the immigrant experience in the United States and Europe can illuminate processes of integration in both places. Much of what has been written comparing immigration in the United States and Europe ...


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pp. 225-266


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pp. 267-304


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pp. 305-326

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About the Author

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p. 327

Nancy Foner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of numerous books, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814728598
E-ISBN-10: 0814728596
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814727454
Print-ISBN-10: 081472745X

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 76838860
MUSE Marc Record: Download for In a New Land

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Europe -- Emigration and immigration.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • London (England) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Emigration and immigration -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration
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