chapter  11
24 Pages

Inscribing ethnicity on the land

RECURRENT WAVES of migration into the United States from Europe, Africa, South America and Asia during the past four centuries have created some of the most diverse ethnic landscapes in the world. Many of the ethnic signatures that survive from the settlement of the earliest European groups, which have been discussed in previous chapterssuch as New England villages, French land survey systems in southern Louisiana, and Spanish architectural styles in the Southwest-stand as visible testimony to their lasting contributions in shaping the American landscape. The imprint on the land of a wide variety of distinctive groups can still be seen clearly in some parts of the country, but remain all but invisible in others. This essay examines the creation and maintenance of various ethnic imprints in the United States in order to unravel the complexities of their survival or disappearance through the forces of time and cultural change. The focus will be on three distinct settings: rural places, small towns, and urban areas.