CO.AS.IT. Italian Australian culture series on line. Talk #5.

Disputes over Italianness. The Italians in Argentina from the beginning of mass immigration to the Great Depression. A talk by Professor Marcelo Huernos

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The arrival of three million Italians in Argentina between 1870 and 1950 had enormous implications both for the local society and for the immigrants, who had to adapt to a new reality. Since the onset of mass immigration, Italians in Argentina have lived between two worlds, dividing their loyalty between their homeland and their new home. Italy tried to implement policies to help its emigrants in Argentina: in doing so, it created insititutions, and also leaned on those of the Catholic Church and on those created by the immigrants themselves. During the Fascist period, attempts were made to colonise existing institutions and replicate those created in Italy. However, the Argentine State always sought to limit the development of an Italian identity in the children of immigrants and to implement a policy of Argentinisation. In this talk Professor Marcelo Huernos examines the conflict that took place up until the late 1930s.

Professor Marcelo Huernos teaches history at the National University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and at the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF). He is a researcher at the MUNTREF/Immigration Museum and a founding member of the War History Studies Group (GEHiGue) at UBA / CONICET. His area of specialisation is the history of immigration in Argentina, with a special focus on Italian anti-fascism. He has presented at specialist seminars, conferences and congresses. Professor Huernos has produced content for television shows and interactive material for high schools. In 2013 he designed, with Diana Wechsler, the contents for the permanent exhibition For all the People of the World at the MUNTREF/Immigration Museum. In 2014, he designed and prepared the contents for the temporary exhibition Italians and Spaniards in Argentina. 1870-1950 for the same museum.

Image: Sociedad Italiana Colonia Progreso, 1902. Credit: Museo de la Colonización, Esperanza (Argentina).