News from May 08, 2014
In May 2014, Kathleen Loock’s monograph Kolumbus in den USA: Vom Nationalhelden zur ethnischen Identifikationsfigur was published by the German publishing house transcript. The book is the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of the commemorative constructions and deconstructions of Christopher Columbus in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kathleen Loock investigates how Jewish and Italian immigrants exploited Columbus's popularity during and after the Quartercentenary celebrations in 1892 and 1893 for a political intervention in the immigration restriction debate. As a result, she argues, the national icon Columbus was ultimately transformed into an ethnic hero. She analyzes this process against both the historic background of Columbus's ascendance as a national icon in the revolutionary period and throughout the nineteenth century and the revisionism and public debates of the Quincentenary in 1992 that have challenged the national origin myth, established commemorative practices, and traditional discourses about Columbus and the discovery of America.