McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
immigrant, Irish, mass culture, nativism, New York, visual
This thesis investigates the role of visual images in reflecting and shaping attitudes of the native-born towards Irish immigrants in antebellum New York City. Representations in mass culture, specifically in the popular press and on minstrel sheet music covers, serve as a window into understanding native-born discourses on Irish Americans. Various elements of the Irish immigrant trope are analyzed, including massive immigration, crowding, disease, poverty, drunkenness, violence, public women, labor competition, and political corruption. In addition to visual analysis, gender, environmental, and discourse analysis are applied to representations of Irish immigrants. Taking the study of antebellum nativism in a new direction, this thesis demonstrates that mass culture served as a primary vehicle for the creation and distribution of anti-Irish attitudes, fueled by actual events and circumstances, but also popular opinions and visual imagery.
McGovern, W. (2010). Paddy and the Public: Irish Immigrants, New York City, and Mass Culture, 1830-1860 (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/908