Beyond Cannery Row: Sicilian Women, Immigration, and Community in Monterey, California, 1915-99

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University of Illinois Press, Oct 1, 2010 - Social Science - 184 pages
Presenting a nuanced story of women, migration, community, industry, and civic life at the turn of the twentieth century, Carol Lynn McKibben's Beyond Cannery Row analyzes the processes of migration and settlement of Sicilian fishers from three villages in Western Sicily to Monterey, California--and sometimes back again.
McKibben's analysis of gender and gender roles shows that it was the women in this community who had the insight, the power, and the purpose to respond and even prosper amid changing economic conditions. Vividly evoking the immigrants' everyday experiences through first-person accounts and detailed description, McKibben demonstrates that the cannery work done by Sicilian immigrant women was crucial in terms of the identity formation and community development. These changes allowed their families to survive the challenges of political conflicts over citizenship in World War II and intermarriage with outsiders throughout the migration experience. The women formed voluntary associations and celebrated festas that effectively linked them with each other and with their home villages in Sicily. Continuous migration created a strong sense of transnationalism among Sicilians in Monterey, which has enabled them to continue as a viable ethnic community today.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Illustrations
12
1 Sicilian Women Fishing Lives and Migration Strategies
13
2 Work and Identity
35
3 Family Conflict Community
57
4 Good Americans
75
The Political Meaning of the Festa
98
Conclusion
118
Notes
127
Bibliography
139
Index
153
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About the author (2010)

Carol Lynn McKibben is a public historian and independent scholar in Monterey, California. She is currently the director of the Monterey Bay Regional Oral History and Immigration Project.

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