Date of Award

12-19-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

History

Department

History

Major Professor

Powers, Madelon

Second Advisor

Candy, Catherine

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary N.

Abstract

The Irish in New Orleans have been a notoriously understudied group. With the third largest Irish population in the country by 1860, New Orleans is crucial when trying to understand the Irish immigrant experience. Viewing the Irish from the public perspective, this study explores the Daily Picayune, New Orleans' largest newspaper, from its inception in 1837 to 1857, to decipher the city's attitudes towards the Irish. Jokes in particular are explored, their function being multifaceted. First, jokes grouped Irish women into three types in an effort to maintain control of a large and unfamiliar group of white women who did not fit into the preexisting framework for southern ladies. Second, jokes emasculated Irish men by accusing them of having insufficient qualities to become gentlemen. By doing this, jokes were able to release social tensions, become non-physical confrontations, and create lasting stereotypes about Irish immigrants.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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