On the Other Shore


On the Other Shore

The Atlantic Worlds of Italians in South America during the Great War

John Starosta Galante

284 pages
12 photographs, 28 illustrations, 2 tables, index


January 2022


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January 2022


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eBook (PDF)
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January 2022


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About the Book

On the Other Shore explores the social history of Italian communities in South America and the transnational networks in which they were situated during and after World War I. From 1915 to 1921 Italy’s conflict against Austria-Hungary and its aftermath shook Italian immigrants and their children in the metropolitan areas of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and São Paulo. The war led portions of these communities to mobilize resources—patriotic support, young men who could enlist in the Italian army, goods like wool from Argentina and limes from Brazil, and lots of money—to support Italy in the face of “total war.” Yet other portions of these communities simultaneously organized a strident movement against the war, inspired especially by anarchism and revolutionary socialism. Both of these factions sought to extend their influence and ambitions into the immediate postwar period.

On the Other Shore demonstrates patterns of social cohesion and division within the Italian communities of South America; reconstructs varying transatlantic and inter-American networks of interaction, exchange, and mobility in an “Italian Atlantic”; interrogates how authorities in Italy viewed their South American “colonies”; and uncovers ways that Italians in Latin America balanced and blended relationships and loyalties to their countries of residence and origin. On the Other Shore’s position at the intersection of Latin American history, Atlantic history, and the histories of World War I and Italian immigration thereby engages with and informs each of these subject areas in distinctive ways.


Author Bio

John Starosta Galante is an assistant teaching professor of history and international and global studies at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


"John Galante has unquestionably identified and analyzed an intriguing and original subject: the rise and decline of an Italian South Atlantic."—Michael M. Hall, Hispanic American Historical Review

“War is a key crucible of modern nation states. By focusing on nation and ethnicity during World War I, Galante demonstrates how a distinctive, transnational Italian South Atlantic—the product of a century of migration—extended itself into the twentieth century.”—Donna Gabaccia, professor emerita of history at the University of Toronto

“By examining how global crises impacted Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and São Paulo, On the Other Shore shows how the world was globalized well before 1930. Galante reminds readers that immigrants have agency, even as imperial states tried to use diasporic communities. Probing migrations, conflicts, and national identities, this is an important contribution to ethnic studies and global studies.”—Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Chair and director of the Halle Institute for Global Research at Emory University

On the Other Shore stands out for its ambitious comparative design and the careful mining of various sources published in Italy and in South America by institutions in the Italian diaspora and the Italian government. It will make an important scholarly contribution.”—Marcelo J. Borges, author of Chains of Gold: Portuguese Migration to Argentina in Transatlantic Perspec

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Mobilizing Diaspora
2. The Great War in Il Plata
3. Mobilization in São Paulo and Mobility in the Italian Atlantic
4. War’s Antagonists in Atlantic South America
5. The Making of an Italo-Atlantic

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