Historical Constructions of Ethnicity: California's Punjabi Immigrants
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Historical Constructions of Ethnicity: California's Punjabi Immigrants

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Abstract

IMMIGRANTS FROM the Punjab province of India came to California at the turn of the twentieth century and settled in the state's major agricultural valleys. About five hundred of these men married Mexican and Mexican-American women, creating a Punjabi Mexican second generation which thought of itself as "Hindu" (the name given to immigrants from India in earlier decades). This biethnic community poses interesting questions about the construction and transformation of ethnic identity, and the interpretations of outsiders contrast with those of the pioneers and their descendants. These interpretations direct attention to the historical contingency of ethnic identity and to the many voices which participate in its definition.

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