Donna Gabaccia’s Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home?, explores the reasons why the studies of immigrant women are compiled in a myriad of interdisciplinary fields and independent disciplines. However, these fields and disciplines of immigrant women face more marginality and less visibility. To explain why this has happened Gabaccia goes through the “theoretical perspectives, methods and categories used in the study of women and of immigrant or ethnic groups.” She talks about the differences that have developed within particular disciplines like immigration history and women’s history. In the early 1970s, when these fields were becoming mainstream, Gabaccia states that “immigration and women’s history developed in opposing directions.” By this she means that women’s historians focused more so on the documentation of notable women’s lives and their contributions, while scholars in immigration history were abandoning “filiopietism”. Immigration history at this time also seemed to focus more ethnic communities pertaining to both men and women, while women’s historians focused on the singularity of women. The author uses works like “Cecyle Neidle’s biographical studies, and the lives of Emma Goldman, Notable American Women, Mary “Mother” Jones, …” to demonstrate some plangency in women’s studies and little impact on immigration history. Another way these two fields seem to conflict is on women as family members and in family life. Gabaccia uses Lousie Tilly and Joan Scott’s Women, Work and Family to demonstrate the contrasting understandings between the two fields. Unlike immigrant historians, who heavily use Tilly and Scott’s work in that field, many women’s historians reject and criticize the work in regards to the study of women. Women’s historians did so because the work to them payed more attention to the family unit and revealed very little about women’s lives. After reading this article, I understand that immigration historians tend to use and study sources that display immigrant women only integral to the family unit. While women’s historians mainly study the individuality of women, but never seem to capture the diversity and class differences between women over time. Though both disciplinaries intersect and contrast, they both create a marginalization of the history of immigrant women.
Janet Nolan’s Women’s Place in the History of the Irish Diaspora: A Snapshot, explores the Irish immigrant (specifically Irish women) impact in American culture and history. Nolan mentions that Irish immigrants were transatlantic and transcontinental settlers in America. The author uses Margaret MacCurtain and Donncha OCorrain’s Women in Irish Society (1979) as the starting place for the study of women in Ireland and Irish America. Even though the writers distorted the history of Irish people and did not actually know the history of its women. Nonetheless, countless new studies were created and works published about the Irish and Irish American history because of them. Erin’s Daughters in America and Ourselves Alone are examples the author uses to demonstrate the trend and impact of Irish and Irish American history in our society. From these works we find that Irish women not only migrated the same statistically as Irish men but the majority of these women were unmarried and travelling independently from a patriarchal familial society. These Irish women migrants were also autonomous, earned wages and developed a sense of agency in America. Something that is very different from other ethnicities migrating to America. Nolan uses Servants of the Poor: Teachers and Mobility in Ireland and Irish America, to demonstrate the link between Irish American social mobility and women’s education. Which had shaped these women’s influence in shaping Irish America. After reading this article, I understand that Irish immigrant women have been over the course of American history been making the epic journey of establishing matriarchal roots, and autonomous in America.