The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho: Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity

Paperback | November 15, 2010

byJudith Noemí Freidenberg

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By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina's largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho examines the lives of these settlers, who represented a merger between native cowboy identities and homeland memories.

The arrival of these immigrants in what would be the village of Villa Clara coincided with the nation's new sense of liberated nationhood. In a meticulous rendition of Villa Clara's social history, Judith Freidenberg interweaves ethnographic and historical information to understand the saga of European immigrants drawn by Argentine open-door policies in the nineteenth century and its impact on the current transformation of immigration into multicultural discourses in the twenty-first century. Using Villa Clara as a case study, Freidenberg demonstrates the broad power of political processes in the construction of ethnic, class, and national identities. The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho draws on life histories, archives, material culture, and performances of heritage to enhance our understanding of a singular population—and to transform our approach to social memory itself.

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By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina's largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewis...

JUDITH NOEMÍ FREIDENBERG is an Argentine-born Associate Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Anthropology at the University of Maryland. Her previous books include Growing Old in El Barrio, Memorias de Villa Clara, and The Anthropology of Low Income Urban Enclaves: The Case of East Harlem.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:206 pages, 9 × 5.97 × 0.53 inPublished:November 15, 2010Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292725698

ISBN - 13:9780292725690

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Table of Contents

Foreword by June NashPreface: The Story behind the StoryAcknowledgmentsChapter 1. Social Memory as Part of Villa Clara's HistoryChapter 2. Entre Ríos, Mi País: Immigrants Becoming Argentine in a ProvinceChapter 3. Colonia Clara and the Emergence of the "Jewish Gauchos" (1892-1902)Chapter 4. From Jewish Gauchos to Gaucho Jews: Regional Economic Development and Intercultural Relations at the End of the Nineteenth CenturyChapter 5. The Rise and Demise of Jewish Villa Clara (1902-1930s)Chapter 6. Rural Depopulation and the Emergence of a Multiethnic and Socially Stratified Landscape in Villa Clara (1940s-1990s)Chapter 7. The Present as Politicized Past: Legitimizing Social Structure through Heritage (1990s-2000s)Epilogue: The Jewish Gaucho RevisitedAppendix I: Methodological NotesAppendix II: Chronology of Relevant Events in Villa ClaraNotesGlossary of TermsBibliographyIndex