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Transatlantic correspondents : kinship, gender and emotions in postwar migration experiences between Italy and Canada, 1946-1971

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Transatlantic correspondents : kinship, gender and emotions in postwar migration experiences between Italy and Canada, 1946-1971

Cancian, Sonia (2007) Transatlantic correspondents : kinship, gender and emotions in postwar migration experiences between Italy and Canada, 1946-1971. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This doctoral dissertation examines the impact of migration experienced by migrants to Canada and loved ones in Italy through the lens of personal correspondence. It focuses on the three decades immediately following the Second World War when the largest migration of Italians to Canada took place. Through a detailed content analysis of over 400 private letters belonging to six families, the thesis examines how kin and lovers in Canada and Italy negotiated their separation as a result of migration. The study addresses two main research questions: First, what do the private letters of individuals reveal about the impact of migration experienced by Italian migrants in Canada and their kin and lovers who remained in Italy during the postwar years? Second, what strategies and social, cultural and emotional responses to migration do the letters reveal from the viewpoint of these actors? The 800 letters in the original archive that I created, of which over 400 are the object of analysis, are for the purposes of this study primary sources that cast a new light on the most personal thoughts and feelings of diverse actors who engaged in the process of migration. The thesis offers a twofold analysis of the letters. First, it examines the functional role of the letters and their materiality as objects that served to bridge distances between family members and lovers by communicating information, news, advice and affection. Second, the thesis analyzes the contents of the letters by focusing on three characteristic themes. First, it reveals the importance of kinship in migration and examines how networks of support and control were exerted through the medium of letters. Second, it shows how the realities of migration were constructed and experienced according to dominant gender norms. Finally, the thesis demonstrates the extraordinary range and intensity of emotions that characterized letter-writers' responses to migration and the experience of separation from family and loved ones. The thesis provides additional evidence for the obvious point that migration had an enormous impact on the lives of migrants and their families. But more importantly, it shows the various ways in which individuals attempted to comprehend, engage with, and explain the profound changes they experienced daily and over time

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Cancian, Sonia
Pagination:viii, 252 leaves : ill., map, facsims. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Carr, Graham
ID Code:975725
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:13
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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