Memoir and Identity in Welsh Patagonia

Voices from a Settler Community in Argentina

Geraldine Lublin

Memoir and Identity in Welsh Patagonia

Geraldine Lublin

Distributed for University of Wales Press

304 pages | 8 halftones, 1 map | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9781783169672 Published September 2017 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
This investigation of identity construction in twentieth-century Welsh Patagonia breaks new ground by looking at the Welsh community in Chubut not as a quaint anomaly, but in its proper context as an integral part of contemporary Argentina. Addressing the implications of the settler colonialism of the foundational myth of Chubut and its place in the larger question of settler colonialism throughout Argentina, it draws on the literature of the under-studied period immediately preceding the turn-of-the-twentieth-century revitalization of the Welsh community in Patagonia. Ultimately, it presents a newly broad, much richer panorama of what it means to be Welsh in Argentina, free from old stereotypes and fully part of the contemporary nation.
Contents
List of Illustrations
 
Acknowledgements
 
1 Introduction
A snapshot of the history of Y Wladfa
Memoir and memory
 
2 Writing Welsh Patagonia
Y Wladfa in its Argentine context
Marking Welshness in Chubut
 
3 Valmai Jones (1910-1994) – Anxiety about Welshness
Valmai Jones (1910-1994)
Atgofion am Y Wladfa
Between Wales and Argentina
In (and away from) the melting pot
Patagonian Welshness and diasporic belonging
Oscillating within Welshness
Closing Points
 
4 Fred Green — The Welsh Patagonian Gaucho
Fred Green (1913-2002)
Pethau Patagonia
A sense of Welshness
A sense of Patagonian Welshness
Patagonian ‘welsh’
The ‘lasting friendship’
Closing points
 
5 Juan Daniel Moreteau — Welshness Disowned
Juan Daniel Moreteau (1915-2006)
Tres etapas de una vida
Disowning Welshness
Opposing Welshness
Claiming Argentineness
Closing points
 
6 Carlos Luis Williams — Ineradicable Welshness
Carlos Luis Williams (1953-)
Puerto Madryn y el triunfo de mis Padres: El Amor
‘Organic’ Welshness
Religion, music and other markers of Welshness
Wales as ancestral homeland and the Patagonian melting pot
Patagonia’s indigenous peoples
Closing points
 
7 Conclusion
Notes
 
Works Cited
 
Index
 
Review Quotes
M. Wynn Thomas, Swansea University
“This fascinating study approaches the over-familiar, frequently romanticised, story of Welsh settlement in Patagonia from an entirely new and strikingly revealing angle.  It draws on fresh evidence—in the form of personal memoirs spanning the century and a half since the ‘founding’ moment—to track the complex politico-cultural process of negotiating identity as between Wales and Argentina that has preoccupied families of Welsh descent. The result is a sympathetic but hard-headed study of the different stages in the slow but inexorable process of accommodation to Argentinean ‘national’ norms.”
David Rock, University of California
“Geraldine Lublin is quite remarkable in being trilingual and perfectly literate in three languages.  Her book is probably the best to date on the Patagonian Welsh . . . and Memoir and Identity is also one of the outstanding works on ethnic communities throughout Latin America, impressive for its depth, range and originality. Lublin analyses autobiography cross-generationally with admirable skill, revealing wide knowledge of theoretical works on ethnicity.”        
 
Bill Jones, Cardiff University
“An absorbing, innovative and richly nuanced study of identity construction as Welsh and as Argentinian in twentieth century Patagonia, as revealed in four Welsh Patagonian memoirs. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in Welsh experiences overseas and, more widely, in how settler descendants in plural societies negotiate their multiple identities.”
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