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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Slovene immigrant settlements in the USA and in Australia and influence of the internet conections for retaining Slovene identity

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H100  Humanities  Documentation, information, library science, archivistics 
H105  Humanities  Bibliography 
H240  Humanities  Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914) 
H250  Humanities  Contemporary history (since 1914) 
Keywords
Slovenes, identity, ethnic groups, immigrants, emigrants, organisations
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (5)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08423  PhD Matjaž Klemenčič  Historiography  Head  2007 - 2009  840 
2.  06164  PhD Samo Kristen  Historiography  Researcher  2007 - 2009  128 
3.  04663  Janez Stergar  Historiography  Researcher  2007 - 2009  951 
4.  03372  Nada Vilhar    Technical associate  2007 - 2009  169 
5.  10895  PhD Jernej Zupančič  Humanities  Researcher  2007  694 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0507  Institute for Ethnic Studies  Ljubljana  5051517000  4,471 
Abstract
In this project we are going to research selected communities of Slovenes in the western part of the U.S.A. and in Australia, investigating the following topics: the process of immigration and settlement in the countries of immigration; the specific organizations (Slovene national homes or sport and cultural clubs, fraternal organizations /specific to the U.S.A./, and ethnic parishes [for the U.S.A.] and Catholic missions [for Australia]). We shall do research also on the political participation of members of those communities in the new homelands and the interest of both groups in the destiny of Slovenia and Slovenes during the periods of crisis in the Slovene ethnic territory. We research also the importance of internet connections for preserving ethnic identity among both groups of Slovenes. We shall also make a comparative analysis based on case studies between the older group of Slovenes in the U.S. West, whose members are mostly descendants of Slovene immigrants who settled in the U.S. one hundred years ago, and younger Australian Slovene communities. We shall limit our studies to Slovene communities in Pueblo (Colorado) and Rock Springs (Wyoming). We are going to use also the results of previous research on Slovene communities in Leadville (Colorado) and San Francisco (California). In Australia we are going to limit our research to Slovene communities in Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. Sources for the research on Slovene communities in the U.S.A. are: – Archival sources kept by government institutions (results of U.S. censuses; archives of city councils); – Private institutions of public interest (archives of Catholic parishes and dioceses); – Archives of individual Slovene fraternal benefit societies; – Archives of selected Slovene national homes and cultural societies; – Ethnic newspapers and other published sources; – Interviews. Sources for the research on Slovene communities in Australia are: – Archival sources kept by Australian government institutions (results of Australian censuses); – Private institutions of public interest (archives of Catholic missions and dioceses); – Archives of individual Slovene clubs and cultural societies; – Ethnic newspapers and other published sources; – Interviews.
Significance for science
The new knowledge acquired on the basis of our research on the one hand increases our knowledge on Slovene immigrant communities in the western part of the United States, and on the other hand makes a contribution to the theory and methodology of research on immigrant communities worldwide. In the book »Jim Pugel and Other Slovenian Pioneers of Pueblo, Colorado«, the knowledge and experiences of the historian of Slovene immigration to the U.S. was successfully united with the knowledge and methodology of genealogists. It proved quite successful because this cooperation enabled a detailed analysis of life and work of Slovene immigrants and their ancestors in Pueblo, and on the other hand it was also possible to follow the processes of their acculturation and assimilation. It was possible to describe in great detail the routes that individual immigrants had used to come to Pueblo from the Slovene ethnic territory at the end of the 19th century. Reconstruction of their travel did not only reveal the names of the ships with which immigrants traveled to the U.S., but also the continuation of their travel to Pueblo and the quality of their travels. It was also possible to study their workplaces, i.e. where and what they worked on. Of course, their quality of life depended on the types of employment. We proved that most of the Slovene immigrants intended to immigrate only for a few years to earn some additional money and then returned to the homeland. Because most of the immigrants found work at the worst paid workplaces, many of them stayed in the U.S. for life. They “dreamed,” however, how they would earn enough money to buy a ranch or to become independent businessmen. Only a part of them succeeded, and those also had substantial influence not only on the life in the Slovene community, but also on the life and development of the whole city. The new knowledge acquired on the basis of the project about the development of the Slovene community in Pueblo is important also from the point of view of the concept of the research on ethnic (i.e. Slovene) settlements worldwide. Local histories of Slovene communities were quite seldom researched. The new knowledge of our research confirms that Slovene immigrant history represents quite an important part of the history of Slovene people and Slovenia, while at the same time also being a part of the history of the countries of immigration. In the immigrant countries, especially in the U.S., there are many researcher and institutions which deal with the history and the problems of immigrant communities from the point of view of other fields. There were some who dealt with Slovene community also; most of them are not active as researchers anymore. During the period of this project, the leader of the project got quite a few invitations to write contributions on immigrant communities for the American encyclopedias, which are published by important American publishing companies (SAGE, ABC-Clio, Salem etc.). It is interesting to note, that the leader of the project quite often found himself as the only European or non-American author in those encyclopedias. Of course, most of those invitations concern the requests to write entries on Slovene immigrants in the USA, some of them requested also writings of entries on other former Yugoslav ethnic groups. In connection with this I had to follow the concepts and methodology of the esearch of immigrant communities, especially of the Slovene contribution to the development of the U.S. and concepts of immigrant histories as part of American history in contemporary scholarly literature. With these publications we increase the knowledge on Slovenes and Slovene immigrants in the U.S. in other mainly English-speaking countries, which contributes to the promotion of Slovenia.
Significance for the country
Research of the Slovene community in the U.S. in history and today represents an important part of the research of the past developments and today’s situation in Slovene emigrant communities and also of the Slovene people as a whole. The results of the project will serve to the Slovenes of the Republic of Slovenia to be acquainted with the new knowledge on Slovenes who lived outside the frontiers of the Republic of Slovenia. The immigrants are an important tie between Slovenia and the countries in which they live and work in many fields of life (especially economic). The results of the research could be useful in improving the economic cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Slovenia, especially when the first steps in cooperation would be implemented. In cases of researching Slovene communities in the United States, which are quite rare, we have done research also on the entrepreneurship of Slovene immigrants and their ancestors. Many of the companies which are controlled by ethnic Slovenes are quite influential in the local communities and could serve as a tie or mediators among Slovene and American companies. The results of the project are also important for studying the ways on how to keep Slovene ethnic identity in the United States. We have to emphasize, however, that many Slovene politicians and cultural workers predicted in the 1950s that Slovene ethnic identity in the USA would be lost by the turn of the 21st century. Today, fifty years later, I can see that Slovene identity in the USA is retained, and that there are no signs that it will disappear in the next fifty years. True, this Slovene identity is different from the one of fifty years ago, when many members of the first generation of immigrants were still alive. In spite of everything, however, the Slovene immigrant organizations still exist in the USA. In those organizations, the language of communication is English. The Slovene identity of the immigrants and their descendants is still alive, however, and was evident at the crossroads of the 1990s, when the question of recognition of Slovenia as an independent state arose. The results of our research will be useful also in the field of cultural cooperation, especially between the cities in which Slovene immigrants live and different institutions in the Republic of Slovenia. The newly acquired knowledge will serve also in realization of the concern of the Republic of Slovenia “for indigenous Slovene national minorities in neighboring countries, for the Slovene emigrants and temporary workers abroad, and in searching of the way to improve their contacts with the homeland,” as it is written in Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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