In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a massive wave of immigration transformed the cultural landscape of Argentina. Alongside other immigrants to Buenos Aires, German speakers strove to carve out a place for themselves as Argentines without fully relinquishing their German language and identity. Their story sheds light on how pluralistic societies take shape and how immigrants negotiate the terms of citizenship and belonging.
Focusing on social welfare, education, religion, language, and the importance of children, Benjamin Bryce examines the formation of a distinct German-Argentine identity. Through a combination of cultural adaptation and a commitment to Protestant and Catholic religious affiliations, German speakers became stalwart Argentine citizens while maintaining connections to German culture. Even as Argentine nationalism intensified and the state called for a more culturally homogeneous citizenry, the leaders of Buenos Aires's German community advocated for a new, more pluralistic vision of Argentine citizenship by insisting that it was possible both to retain one's ethnic identity and be a good Argentine. Drawing parallels to other immigrant groups while closely analyzing the experiences of Argentines of German heritage, Bryce contributes new perspectives on the history of migration to Latin America—and on the complex interconnections between cultural pluralism and the emergence of national cultures.
About the author
Benjamin Bryce is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Northern British Columbia.
"By treating ethnicities and nationalisms together, To Belong in Buenos Aires reminds readers that identities are constructed and multiple. The stories of German-speaking Argentines are the stories of the Americas as citizenship and belonging were negotiated in the creation of a pluralistic new world. This impressive, creative, and ambitiously researched volume is sure to be widely read by students and researchers alike."
—Jeffrey Lesser, Emory University
"An original contribution to the history of the German community in Argentina. Bryce deftly explores immigrant history in new ways and sheds light on a community that, while small in number, had an outsize influence on Argentine history."
—Donna Guy, Ohio State University