Women, Gender, and Transnational Lives: Italian Workers of the World
Published: November 2002© 2002
416 Pages, 5.97 x 9.01 x 1.25 in
Scholars in the United States have long defined the Italian immigrant woman as silent and submissive; a woman who stays 'in the shadows'. In this transnational analysis of women and gender in Italy's world-wide migration, Franca Iacovetta and Donna Gabaccia use international and internationalist perspectives, feminist labour history, women's history, and Italian migration history to provide a woman-centred, gendered analysis of Italian workers, and by so doing, challenge this stereotype.
Comparing the lives of women in Italy, Belgium, the USA, Canada, Argentina, and Australia, Iacovetta and Gabaccia offer a realistic and engaging portrait of women as peasants and workers, and uncover the voice of female militants. Most importantly, by using a comparative approach to the study of women's migration over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they treat both women who stayed home during male migration, and the work and activism of those who moved. By pursuing this comparative method, they show how Italian women could become Communist militants, union organizers, or anti-fascist radical exiles in some countries while seeming to disappear into stereotypes in others. Ground-breaking and original, this erudite collection of thirteen essays will bring a fascinating new perspective to women's studies and migration history.
'This important collection draws on new materials and path-breaking ideas to transform our understanding of Italian immigrant women and to clarify their importance to the Italian diaspora worldwide ... One of the many important aspects of the collection is its attention to the multi-faceted political activism of Italian immigrant women in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Europe. Moreover, the authors are able to connect women's domesticity, wage labour, activism, ethnic identity, and relations with the state, thus illuminating the complexity and heterogeneity of their experience. [Women, Gender, and Transnational Lives] is a tour de force that should transform the study of Italian migration and illuminate new paradigms for studies of female migration.'Leslie Page Moch, Department of History, Michigan State University