Authors of Identity: Negotiating Press and Personhood in the Jewish South, 1893-1899

Rowan Cai

My research and honors thesis examines how individuals and print institutions came to understand, negotiate, and express identity in the turn of the twentieth century of America. Focusing on Richmond, Virginia, between the years 1893-1899, this work explores how a local newspaper, The Jewish South, and Richmond community came to understand and broker the relationship between two identities that were both separable and intertwined in this era: Jewish and American. In this thesis, I argue that the malleability of American identity has created opportunities for newspapers and their readers to contest what it meant to be American in an era of extraordinary immigration, heightened racial difference, and proliferating religious intolerance. This thesis argues that newspapers have simultaneously performed and documented these negotiations in practice.

Department:

History

Mentor(s):

Eric Yellin