chapter  7
The invention of history in the Irish-American diaspora: myths of the Great Famine ASTRID WONNEBE RG E R
Myths of the Great Famine
ByAstrid Wonneberger
Pages 14

After centuries of Irish emigration to North America, about 44 million people of Irish descent live in the United States today. Like many other ethnic groups in the US, whose aim had been assimilation into the host society for a long period, Irish America began to develop a new interest in its cultural roots in the 1960s. Many people of Irish descent began to look for their ‘own’ ethnic markers in order to distinguish themselves from other groups in the US. An important role in this process of constructing ethnic boundaries plays a concept of a common history. This serves as a base upon which a common identity and group solidarity can be constructed.1