The changing identity of Welsh emigrants
Research reveals how the identity of Welsh migrants changed as they adapted to new cultures.
Welsh migrants had a distinctive impact in the countries in which they settled, but their contribution was mostly unacknowledged in many academic or popular histories.
By working towards a meaningful overview of the globality and diversity of Welsh overseas experiences, it is possible to move away from static models of discrete immigrant communities unrealistically fixed in time and place, and replace them with an understanding of how local, regional and continental contexts were interwoven in an unstable, contingent Welsh transnationality.
A changing identity
Research undertaken by Professor William Jones began by examining the Welsh in the USA but has extended to a study of the dynamics of global Welsh migration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including case studies of Argentina (Patagonia), Australia, Chile and Mexico.
The research focused on the Welsh press in America and Australia, migrant letters, gender, and the interrelationships between Welsh communities in Australia and Latin America.
In demonstrating how Welsh emigration was an experience that had cultural, demographic, economic and social impact, Jones's research reveals how Welsh identity changed as emigrants adapted to new cultures.
Welsh in North America
There are 2 million people of Welsh descent in North America, many of whom are avid consumers of Welshness, keen to know more of their history.
Jones's research has influenced public and professional understanding of the Welsh, specifically in North America, through directing the content of exhibitions, as well as professional practice in the heritage sector, and by engaging directly with a diverse range of audiences and professionals to enhance their understanding of the Welsh diaspora.
As an advisor/collaborator with a range of media companies operating in both the English and Welsh languages, Professor Jones's research has benefited productions across traditional and digital media platforms. His expertise is central to informing modern understandings of Welsh communities overseas and, thus, of the Welsh as a people with global horizons.
Meet our experts
- Jones, W. D. 2009. Cymru, Patagonia ac ymfudo. In: James, E. W. and Jones, W. D. eds. Michael D. Jones a'i Wladfa Gymreig. Llanrwst: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. , pp.10-29.
- Jones, W. D. 2007. Representations of Australia in mid-nineteenth-century Welsh emigrant literature: Gwladyr Aur and Awstralia A'r Cloddfeydd Aur. The Welsh History Review 23 (2), pp.51-74.
- Jones, W. D. and Lewis, R. L. 2007. Gender and transnationality among Welsh tinplate workers in Pittsburgh: The Hattie Williams Affair, 1895. Labor History 48 (2), pp.175-194. (10.1080/00236560701224890)
- Jones, W. D. 2006. "Going into print": published immigrant letters, webs of personal relations, and the emergence of the Welsh public sphere. In: Elliott, B. S. , Gerber, D. A. and Sinke, S. M. eds. Letters Across Borders: The Epistolary Practices of International Migrants. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. , pp.175-99.
- Jones, W. D. and Jones, A. 2001. Welsh reflections: Y Drych and America, 1851-2001. Llandysul: Gomer Press.
- Jones, W. D. 1998. The Welsh language and Welsh identity in a Pennsylvanian community. In: Jenkins, G. H. ed. Language and Community in the Nineteenth Century. A Social History of the Welsh Language Vol. 3.Cardiff: University of Wales Press. , pp.261-286.