Kevin Kenny’s “Twenty Years of Irish American Historiography,” explores the historiography of Irish American history. Kenny begins his article in 1988, when Kerby Miller had just published his novel, Emigrants and Exiles. The author sees novel as the “most influential work of Irish America history ever written.” He writes that Miller “set out to determine why the Irish…. saw their migration as form of involuntary exile rather than an opportunity for self-improvement.” Kenny continues to say that “Miller’s book attracted a lot of critical attention.” In the following paragraphs, Kenny compares the themes in the historiography done by Miller in his book to others in the field. Like when the author compares Miller’s perception of Irish rural culture to Malcolm Campbell’s articles about it. Kenny then says that “Miller’s critics challenged his interpretation of the origins and motivation of Irish migration.” Yet had however overlooked the conceptual distinction in his work. Kenny views Miller’s Emigrants and Exiles as ‘the book’ for Irish American history compared to the other novels he mentions in his article. After reading this article, I understand that Irish American history is kind of squishy and is great example of a historiography.

Roger Daniels’ “No Lamps Were Lit for Them: Angel Island and the Historiography of Asian American Immigration,” examines the historiography of the history of Angel Island. Daniels begins his article with the history of Angel Island before it became an Immigration station and detention facility. In 1775, it was named by Manuel de Ayala and before 1910 it was used by “all sorts of people…Russian sealers stored furs there, whalers of several nationalities stocked up on fresh water and firewood, and smugglers used it to avoid Spanish, Mexican and later, American custom officials.” The author then moves onto the Immigration Station history of Angel Island. Where he talks about how the Island was the center for various Asian immigration (but there were other non-Asian immigrants who went through) to the U.S. and a detention facility for these Asians, specifically the Chinese. It is towards the end of the article when he starts to compare the historiography of Angel Island.  After reading this article, I understand that though Angel Island is the West Coast’s Ellis Island, it so significant to the Asian American population on the West Coast.

Categories: History 297

1 Comment

Moon · November 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm


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