"Sounds of Ethnicity "takes us into the linguistic, cultural, and geographical borderlands of German North America in the Great Lakes region between 1850 and 1914. Drawing connections between immigrant groups in Buffalo, New York, and Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Barbara Lorenzkowski examines the interactions of language and music--specifically German-language education, choral groups, and music festivals--and their roles in creating both an ethnic sense of self and opportunities for cultural exchanges at the local, ethnic, and transnational levels. She exposes the tensions between the self-declared ethnic leadership that extolled the virtues of the German mother tongue as preserver of ethnic identity and gateway to scholarship and high culture, and the hybrid realities of German North America where the lives of migrants were shaped by two languages, English and German. Theirs was a song not of cultural purity, but of cultural fusion that gave meaning to the way German migrants made a home for themselves in North America.
Written in lively and elegant prose, "Sounds of Ethnicity "is a new and exciting approach to the history of immigration and identity in North America.
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Barbara Lorenzkowski teaches history at Concordia University and is the author of several articles and book chapters on the cultural history of post-Confederation Canada.Review:
"Lorenzkowski's focus on language and sound provides a very creative approach to the history of immigration and identity in Canada. While her juxtaposition and linkage of German immigrants in the U.S. and Canada make a major contribution to the field, the attention she pays to language and soundscapes makes this a serious advance in the art of research in the field." --Cecilia Morgan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
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