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Buch Leseprobe Evolution of NYCs Multiculturalism, Eva Kolb
Eva Kolb

Evolution of NYCs Multiculturalism

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This book deals with the formation of New York City’s multicultural character during the 19th century until the end of the third decade of the 20th century. It draws a sketch of the metropolis’ first big immigration waves and describes the development of immigrants who entered the New World as foreigners and strangers and soon became one of the most essential parts of the city’s very character. A main focus is laid upon the ambiguity of the immigrants’ identity which is captured between assimilation and separation, and one of the most important questions the book deals with is whether the city can be seen as one of the world’s greatest melting pots or just as a huge salad bowl inhabiting all kinds of different cultures. The book approaches these topics from an historical and a fictional point of view and concentrates on personal experiences of the immigrants as well as on the cultural impact these immigration waves had on the megalopolis New York.

The “American society may be visualized as a cluster of immigrant-ethnic communities lapped by an expanding core population of mixed origins and indeterminate size” (Higham, 1998, p.13). The Unites States have not received the most immigrants worldwide; Argentina or Brazil, for example, became the home of much more aliens. But there was certainly no other nation which had incomers originating from such a variety of countries and cultures, especially in New York. New York has always been a colorful place of different nations united under the roof of one single city. When the Dutch founded New Amsterdam in 1625, after they had bought the island from the Indians for trinkets, it took less than twenty years until 18 diverse languages were spoken in the colonial town. In 1643the Dutch colony had already gained its multicultural and multiethnic character which it should never ever lose again throughout ist almost 400 years of history and its development from a Dutch, over a British colony up to an independent American city.

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