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Urban GreenNature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago$
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Colin Fisher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619958

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619958.001.0001

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Immigrants in Nature’s Nation

Immigrants in Nature’s Nation

(p.38) Chapter Two Immigrants in Nature’s Nation
Urban Green

Colin Fisher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter builds on the notions of the foreign born “invented ethnicity” of immigrants and the “transnational” dimension of migration. It synthesizes these ideas to undermine older American studies accounts that characterize the United States as “nature’s nation,” a country whose singular identity born of a distinctive cultural relationship to nature. During the early twentieth century, newly arrived immigrants in Chicago eagerly sought out nature, which they found in outlying wilderness areas but also in the heart of the city. Once through the gates of parks, immigrants sometimes used landscape to remember, and sometimes even visit, preindustrial rural homelands and to imagine subaltern ethnic, village, regional, and national identities. The chapter mentions the immigrant workers in the neighborhood of Back of the Yards, where thousands of animals were slaughtered. Immigrants who were used to this kind of work back home were unprepared for the polluted and artificial working conditions.

Keywords:   invented ethnicity, migration, United States, Chicago, nature, rural homelands, national identities, Back of the Yards, pollution

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