Editor’s Note

Ethnicity is an exciting, albeit complex and frequently confusing, dimension of American social dynamics. Historiographically, methodologically and analytically, new jargon has appeared and concepts once believed consensually understood are now hotly debated. In order to make this volume as clear and effective a learning tool as possible, I have chosen to present most of the readings in a fashion different from that in which they originally appeared. For some, this involved no more than editing of content; for others, it meant elimination of traditional scholarly footnotes and the addition of a bibliography in place of them; in still other instances, this meant deletion of maps or graphs.

Sophisticated, insightful studies of the United State’s ethnocultural experiences are only a recent and, fortunately, rapidly increasing phenomenon. They represent a dramatically different kind of scholarship, unwilling to accept or to continue the perpetuation of what has largely been a myopic, and frequently racist, perception of the nation’s development. Challenging an historical consensus regarding the origins and evolution of American society that asserted the transformation of heterogeneous peoples into a homogeneous community in terms of identity, values and goals, growing numbers of scholars have demanded the recognition of a dynamic, conflict process underlying the country’s maturation. This collection of essays not only attempts to illustrate and explain both intellectual frameworks as one of its tasks, but suggests that a pluralistic, multicultural negotiation process (conflict) offers the most useful perspective for understanding America’s social history.

The character and clarity of the book are, ultimately, matters for which I bear sole responsibility. Throughout the process of selection, evaluation and preparation of materials, however, I was fortunate to have received assistance from wise and patient people. I am particularly indebted to Professor Karl Bonutti, Director of the Ethnic Heritage Studies Development Program in Cleveland, and Judy Slovenec, Assistant to Professor Bonutti and an invaluable coworker. Finally, the book would not have been possible without the kindness and cooperation of the authors and publishers whose articles I chose: Johathan Schwartz and the D.C. Heath Company; Stanley Lieberson, Daniel Glaser, Christen Jonassen, and the American Sociological Review; Michael Parenti and the American Political Science Review; Vladimir Nahirny & Joshua Fishman and Sociological Review; Rudolph Vecoli, Joseph Fitzpatrick, and the International Migration Review; Leonard Broom & John Kitsuse and the American Anthropologist; Walter Hirsch and Social Forces; and E.K. Francis and the American Journal of Sociology.

Daniel E. Weinberg
Case Western Reserve University


Ethnicity Copyright © 2020 by Cleveland State University . All Rights Reserved.

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