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Islands in the City

West Indian Migration to New York

Nancy Foner

Publication Year: 2001

This collection of original essays draws on a variety of theoretical perspectives, methodologies, and empirical data to explore the effects of West Indian migration and to develop analytic frameworks to examine it.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Immigrants, African Americans, and the Politics of Group IdentityAfrican American: Gender and Class Differences in the Second Generation8. Experiencing Success: Structuring the Perception of Opportunities for West Indians9. Tweaking a Monolith: The West Indian Immigrant Encounter with “Blackness”...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

...This volume has its origins in a two-day conference, “West Indian Migration to New York: Historical, Contemporary, and Transnational Perspectives,” held at the Research Institute for the Study of Man in April 1999. The conference was made possible by support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Research Institute for the Study of Man...

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Introduction. West Indian Migration to New York: An Overview

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pp. 1-22

...The past four decades have witnessed a massive West Indian migration to New York. The influx—the largest emigration flow in West Indian history— has had enormous consequences for the lives of individual migrants as well as for the societies they have left behind and the city they have entered. This collection of original essays explores the effects...

PART I: Gender, Work, and Residence

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1. Early-Twentieth-Century Caribbean Women: Migration and Social Networks in New York City

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pp. 25-51

...The migration of women—which increased steadily for the next two and one-half decades— was a key factor in making possible the formation of culturally distinct Caribbean communities for the first time in New York City. The history of African Caribbean women migrants, however, remains absent from the growing body of literature on women and U.S. immigration during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries...

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2. Where New York’s West Indians Work

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pp. 52-80

...Simply put, an ethnic niche is an industry in which members of an immigrant or minority group are overrepresented (Model 1993, 1997b; Waldinger 1996; Wilson 1998). The tendency to concentrate in some industries—and to eschew others—is typical of ethnic minorities. Equally important, industrial location affects minority earnings. Two effects have been identified. First, there are often systematic pay differentials across industries, even for workers with the same...

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3. West Indians and the Residential Landscape of New York

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pp. 81-114

...It is nearly impossible to sensibly compare the plight of West Indians in New York City to that of any other racial or ethnic minority group.West Indians face a unique constellation of barriers, challenges, and advantages in their efforts to cultivate a sustainable niche in the complex mosaic of the city. They share with the massive numbers of Asian and Latino immigrants...

PART II: Transnational Perspectives

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4. Transnational Social Relations and the Politics of National Identity: An Eastern Caribbean Case Study

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pp. 117-141

...Over the past eighteen years I have continued to attend—and be dazzled by—vibrant political meetings in Brooklyn at which political leaders from the small, eastern Caribbean nation-states of St. Vincent and Grenada, visiting New York, meet with immigrants from their countries...

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5. New York as a Locality in a Global Family Network

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pp. 142-160

...Throughout the history of the United States, New York has served as the most important migrant destination and port of entry into the country. One result of New York’s central role in the making of the United States is that migration research has viewed the city as a place of incorporation into American society, where newcomers are turned into new citizens. This, in turn, is compatible with the stereotype of migration...

PART III: Race, Ethnicity, and the Second Generation

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6. “Black Like Who?” Afro-Caribbean Immigrants, African Americans, and the Politics of Group Identity

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pp. 163-192

...Together these two vignettes provide a snapshot of an increasingly diverse group of black New Yorkers. Within the past three decades the cleavages within the city’s black population have multiplied almost exponentially, a pattern reflected among blacks throughout the country. The divisions among blacks nationwide are many: economic, regional, generational, and so on. The most pronounced sign of...

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7. Growing Up West Indian and African American: Gender and Class Differences in the Second Generation

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pp. 193-215

...In the early 1990s I began a study of West Indian immigrants and their teenage children in New York City. I was interested in exploring how they developed a racial and ethnic identity, given the overwhelming attention to race in American society. I was also interested in whether the first and second generations would follow the same patterns of assimilation as did immigrants of European origin at the beginning...

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8. Experiencing Success: Structuring the Perception of Opportunities for West Indians

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pp. 216-236

...The question of social mobility is a critical one for West Indian migrants in the United States and for the lives of their children. Much of the literature on this question focuses on the success or lack of success of black immigrants relative to native-born blacks. In this chapter we explore the way first- and second-generation West Indian immigrants perceive the possibilities and opportunities for social mobility, and we...

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9. Tweaking a Monolith: The West Indian Immigrant Encounter with “Blackness”

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pp. 237-256

...Although “blackness” has long been an issue in American society, this fact has not always been self-evident. American racism has created and thrived on a uniform— almost monolithic—view of people of African ancestry.1 Until recent times this view has effectively disguised the complex variations that are inherent in conceptions of race.However, as racism has become less monolithic, the contested nature of “blackness” has slowly become more apparent...

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Conclusion. Invisible No More? West Indian Americans in the Social Scientific Imagination

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pp. 257-276

...In his 1972 landmark essay on West Indian Americans, Roy Bryce-Laporte described the group as the “invisible” immigrants. It’s a telling image. The essays collected in this volume and the larger body of research on which they draw show clearly that West Indian Americans have become a good deal more visible in the last quarter century—both in the social scientific literature and in the popular imagination. Yet...

References

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pp. 277-296

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Notes on Contributors

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pp. 297-300

...Linda Basch is Executive Director of the National Council for Research on Women. She previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wagner College, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Manhattan College, where she was also a faculty member in the Anthropology Department, and Director of Special Academic Programs at New York University. She spent a decade directing programs on social and economic development...

Index

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pp. 301-304


E-ISBN-13: 9780520935808
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520228504

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2001