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Ethnic Geography

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  1. Ethnic Geography The Human Mosaic Chapter 9

  2. Examples of ethnic enclaves in the United States • North Boston • Mounted statue of American hero Paul Revere is in an Italian neighborhood • Most businesses have Italian names • Women lean out of upper-story windows conversing —Naples-style — to neighbors across the street • Italian-dominated outdoor vegetable market • Pilgrimage to the site where the American Revolution began has become a trip to Little Italy

  3. Examples of ethnic enclaves in the United States • Wilber, Nebraska, bills itself “The Czech Capital of Nebraska” • Holds an annual “National Czech Festival” • Authentic food, and locally made handicraft are offered for sale • Many shops are decorated in Czech motif and ethnic music is played on the streets • The festival draws thousands of visitors each year

  4. Examples of ethnic enclaves in the United States • Other ethnic festivals held in Nebraska • Newman Grove—”Norwegian Days” • Bridgeport—”the Greek Festival” • Dannebrog—the Danish “Grundlovs Fest” • McCook—”German Heritage Days” • Stromsburg—the “Swedish Festival”O’Neal—the “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” • Several Indian tribal “powwows” are held in other cities

  5. Examples of ethnic enclaves in the United States • An ethnic crazy-quilt pattern exists in both urban and rural areas of the United States • Same kind of pattern exists in Canada, Russia, China, and many other countries

  6. Problems encountered when defining ethnic group • Controversy has surround attempts to formulate an accepted definition • Word ethnic derived from Greek word ethnos meaning “people” or “nation” • For this text defined as people of common ancestry and cultural tradition, living as a minority in a larger society, or host culture • Strong feeling of group identity, of belonging characterizes ethnicity

  7. Problems encountered when defining ethnic group • Membership in an ethnic group is involuntary • He or she must be born into the group • Often individuals choose to discard their ethnicity

  8. Problems encountered when defining ethnic group • Main problem is different groups base their identities on different traits • The Jews—primarily means religion • The Amish—both folk culture and religion • African-Americans—skin color • Swiss-Americans—national origin • German-Americans—ancestral language • Cuban-Americans—mainly anti-Castro, and anti-Marxist sentiment

  9. Problems encountered when defining ethnic group • Politics can also help provide the basis for the we/they dichotomy that underlies ethnicity

  10. Role of ethnic groups • Keepers of distinctive cultural traditions • Focal point of various kinds of social interaction • Provide group identity, friendships, and marriage partners • Also provides a recreational outlet, business success, and a political power base • Can give rise to suspicion, friction, distrust, clannishness, and even violence

  11. How ethnic minorities can be changed by their host culture • Acculturation — an ethnic group adopts enough of the host society’s ways to be able to function economically and socially • Assimilation — a complete blending with the host culture • Involves loss of all distinctive ethnic traits • American host culture now includes many descendants of —Germans, Scots, Irish, French, Swedes, and Welsh • Intermarriage is perhaps the most effective assimilatory device

  12. How ethnic minorities can be changed by their host culture • In reality few ethnic groups have been assimilated in the so-called “melting-pot” • It was assumed all ethnic groups would eventually be assimilated • The last 25 years has witnessed a resurgence of ethnic identity in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere • Ethnicity easily made the transition from folk to popular culture • Popular culture reveals a vivid ethnic component

  13. Ethnic geography • The study of ethnic geography is the study of spatial and ecological aspects of ethnicity • Ethnic groups often practice unique adaptive strategies • Normally occupy clearly defined areas—urban and rural

  14. Culture regions • Ethnic regions • Cultural diffusion and ethnicity • Ethnic ecology • Ethnic cultural integration • Ethnic landscapes

  15. Culture groups typically occupy compact territories • Ethnic formal culture regions can be mapped • Geographers rely on diverse data • Surnames in telephone directories • Census totals for mother tongue • Each method will produce a slightly different map • Such regions exist in most countries

  16. Ethnic formal culture regions

  17. Culture groups typically occupy compact territories • Two distinct geographical types of ethnic regions exist • Ethnic minorities who reside in ancient home territories • Lands where their ancestors lived back into prehistoric times • Became ethnic when their territory was annexed into a larger independent state • Examples — Basques of Spain, Navajo Indians of American Southwest • Place and region provide a basic element in their ethnic identity

  18. Culture groups typically occupy compact territories • Two distinct geographical types of ethnic regions exist • Results from migration when people move great distances • Emotional attachment tends to be weaker toward new homeland • Only after many generations pass do descendants of immigrants develop strong bonds to region and place

  19. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic homelands • Cover large areas, often over-lapping state and provincial borders • Have sizable populations • Residents seek or enjoy some measure of political autonomy or self-rule • Populations usually exhibit a strong sense of attachment to the region • Most homelands belong to indigenous ethnic groups

  20. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic homelands • Possess special, venerated places that serve to symbolize and celebrate the region — shrines to the special identity of the group • Combines the attributes of both formal and functional culture regions • Regarded by some as incompletely developed nation-states • Because of sex, age, and geographical segregation tend to strengthen ethnicity • Long occupation helps people develop modes of life, behavior, tastes, and relationships regarded as the correct ones

  21. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Examples of ethnic homelands in North America • Acadiana — Louisiana French increasingly identified with the Cajun people and recognized as a perceptual region • Spanish-American — highland New Mexico, Colorado, and South Texas • Navajo Reservation — New Mexico and Arizona • French-Canadian — centered on valley of lower St. Lawrence River in Quebec • Some include Deseret— Mormon homeland in the Great Basin of the Intermontane West

  22. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Some ethnic homelands have experienced decline and decay • Pennsylvania “Dutch” — weakened to almost extinction by assimilation • Southern “Black Belt” — diminished by collapse of plantation-sharecrop system resulting in out-migration to urban areas • Mormon absorption into the American cultural mainstream • Non-ethnic immigration has damaged the Spanish-American homeland

  23. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Most vigorous homelands are the French-Canadians and South Texas Mexican-Americans • Ethnic substrate • Occurs when a people in a homeland are assimilated into the host culture and a geographical residue remains • The resultant culture region retains some distinctiveness

  24. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic substrate • Geographers often find traces of an ancient, vanished ethnicity in a region • Italian province of Tuscany owes both its name and some uniqueness to the Etruscan people who ceased as an ethnic group 2,000 years ago • Massive German presence in American Heartland helped shape cultural character of the Midwest, which can be said to have a German ethnic substrate

  25. Ethnic Island: Westby, Wisconsin

  26. Ethnic Island: Westby, Wisconsin • This small town is in America’s ethnically diverse rural heartland. • Westby was a Norwegian pioneer and the town’s population is primarily Norwegian.

  27. Ethnic Island: Westby, Wisconsin • Although traditional events such as the fall lutefisk dinner and the May 17th Norwegian Independence Day celebration are celebrated, this ethnic group has essentially assimilated with the host culture. • Note the various popular cultural organizations and activities in this community.

  28. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic islands in North America • Small dots in the countryside • Usually occupy less area than a county • Much smaller than a homeland-serve as home to only several hundred or several thousand people • More numerous than homelands or substrates • Many found in large areas of rural North America

  29. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic islands in North America • Crazy-quilt pattern found in some areas of Midwest • Germans form the largest group found in ethnic islands—southeastern Pennsylvania and in Wisconsin • Scandinavians — primarily Swedes and Norwegians —came mainly to Minnesota, the eastern Dakotas, and western Wisconsin • Ukrainians settled mainly in the Canadian Prairie Provinces • Slavic groups — mainly Poles and Czechs —established scattered colonies in the Midwest and Texas

  30. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Ethnic islands develop because “a minority group will tend to utilize space in such a way as to minimize the interaction distance between group members” • The desire is to facilitate contacts within the community and minimize exposure to the outside world • The ideal shape of an ethnic island is circular or hexagonal • People are drawn to rural places where others of the same ethnic background are found

  31. Ethnic culture regions in rural North America • Survive from one generation to the next because most land is inherited • Sale of land is typically confined within the ethnic group, helping to preserve its identity • Social stigma is often attached to sale of land to outsiders • Small size makes populations more susceptible to acculturation and assimilation

  32. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • Formal ethnic culture regions occur in cities throughout the world • Minority people tend to create ethnic residential quarters • Ethnic neighborhood — avoluntary community where people of like origin reside by choice showing a desire to maintain group cohesiveness

  33. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • Benefits of the ethnic neighborhood • Common use of language • Nearby kin • Stores and services specially tailored to a certain group’s tastes • Presence of factories relying on ethnically based division of labor • Institutions important to the group — churches and lodges

  34. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • The ghetto — traditionally been used to describe an area within the city where a certain ethnic group is forced to live • An involuntary community and as much a functional culture region as a formal one • Discrimination decides whether a ethnic group lives in a ghetto or voluntarily forms its own neighborhood • American society discriminates more against blacks and Asians

  35. Jewish Ghetto: Salzburg, Austria • The name of this street is Judengasse – Jew Street. • Here, as in many European cities, Jews were forced to live in a specific walled and gated area.

  36. Jewish Ghetto: Salzburg, Austria • Judengasse had 3000 residents by 1610. • Virtually all of Salzburg’s Jewish population succumbed to the Nazi Holocaust. • The term ghetto derives from the Jewish quarter by the Ghetto Novo or New Foundry in Venice.

  37. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • Study of Cleveland, Ohio, by John Kain • Blacks are confined to a ghetto by discriminatory housing practices • Blacks more highly segregated residentially than white ethnic groups • Italians, Poles, Jews, Appalachian folk, and other white ethnic groups occupy neighborhoods rather than ghettos • These other white ethnic groups disperse to suburbs more readily than African-Americans

  38. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • Ethnic clustering survives relocation from neighborhoods to suburbs • Example of the Chinese in the San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles • In ancient times, conquerors often forced vanquished native people to live in ghettos • Religious minorities usually received similar treatment • Sometimes walls were built around ghettos • Islamic cities had Christian districts • Medieval European cities had Jewish ghettos

  39. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • North American cities are more ethnically diverse than any other urban centers in the world • Ethnic neighborhoods became typical after about 1840 • Immigrant groups clustered together instead of dispersing • Ethnic groups generally came from different parts of Europe than those who moved to rural areas

  40. Urban ethnic neighborhoods and ghettos • North American cities are more ethnically diverse than any other urban centers in the world • Catholic Irish, Italians, Poles, and East European Jews became the main urban ethnic groups • Other non-European groups later came to urban areas — French-Canadians, southern blacks, Puerto Ricans, Appalachian whites, Amerindians