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Published in: Chronos: Revue d’Histoire de l’Université de Balaman, no. 23, 2011


This essay falls into the category of rendering visible a community, the Jacobite Assyrians of Massachusetts, who have remained virtually unknown in the larger context of Middle Eastern Diaspora studies and American ethnic and cultural history. This brief study of the immigration of the Jacobite Christians originally from Harput, Turkey who settled in New England, shows a variety of distinct method(s) of identity preservation and transmission to subsequent generations, expecially in regard to personal and group identity structures. These people, sometimes referred to as “Jacobite Syrians” by early Western travelers and missionaries, identified themselves as the “sons of Asshur” in 1842 (Southgate 1856:87). This paper is a narrative of the community’s tribulations in their country of origin during the first half of the twentieth century, internal religious politics espoused by the church, as well as their life and establishment in American society.

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