Edmundo Murray deposited Ireland and Latin America: a Cultural History in the group Irish Diaspora Histories on Humanities Commons 2 years, 9 months ago
According to Declan Kiberd, “postcolonial writing does not begin only when the occupier withdraws: rather it is initiated at that very moment when a native writer formulates a text committed to cultural resistance.” The Irish in Latin America –a continent emerging from indigenous cultures, colonisation, and migrations– may be regarded as colonised in Ireland and as colonisers in their new home. They are a counterexample to the standard pattern of identities in the major English-speaking destinations of the Irish Diaspora. Using literary sources, the press, correspondence, music, sports, and other cultural representations, in this thesis I search the attitudes and shared values signifying identities among the immigrants and their families. Their fragmentary and wide-ranging cultures provide a rich context to study the protean process of adaptation to, or rejection of, the new countries. Evolving from oppressed to oppressors, the Irish in Latin America swiftly became “ingleses”. Subsequently, in order to join the local middle classes they became vaqueros, llaneros, huasos, and gauchos so they could show signs of their effective integration to the native culture, as seen by the Latin American elites. Eventually, some Irish groups separated from the English mainstream culture and shaped their own community negotiating among Irishness, Englishness, and local identities in Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Cuba, and other places in the region. These identities were not only unmoored in the emigrants’ minds but also manoeuvred by the political needs of community and religious leaders. After reviewing the major steps and patterns of Irish migration to Latin America, the thesis analyses texts from selected works, offers a version of how the settlers became Latin Americans or not, and elucidates the processes by which a new Irish-Latin American hybrid was created.