Americans in Tuscany: Charity, Compassion, and Belonging | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Americans in Tuscany: Charity, Compassion, and Belonging

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Volume 36

New Directions in Anthropology

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Americans in Tuscany

Charity, Compassion, and Belonging

Catherine Trundle

230 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-369-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2014)

eISBN 978-1-78238-370-3 eBook

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“Trundle’s book offers an interesting description of American and English women’s lives in Tuscany. Differences between American and Italian family relations and attitudes to gender, as well as ways of organizing and carrying out voluntary work, are vividly portrayed, so that through the eyes of life-style migrants, we also gain some insight into Italian life and changing attitudes to charity at a time of growing poverty and need.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

“…very well written and a pleasure to read. The author interweaves her theoretical concerns with her ethnographic material with a great degree of skill…Trundle's exploration of key intellectual and anthropological questions of charity is both highly interesting and innovative. She frames these debates in a way which brings new questions and perspectives to the fore, particularly around the application of anthropological concepts of the free gift to an ethnography of charity.” • Rosie Read, Bournemouth University

“Trundle’s book is an exceptional contribution to the field of lifestyle migration, reflecting a ‘coming of age’ in the scholarship in this area. It is a mature, sensitive and beautifully written account of the charitable actions of Americans as they attempt to forge a sense of belonging within Tuscan society.” • Caroline Oliver, Oxford University


Since the time of the Grand Tour, the Italian region of Tuscany has sustained a highly visible American and Anglo migrant community. Today American women continue to migrate there, many in order to marry Italian men. Confronted with experiences of social exclusion, unfamiliar family relations, and new cultural terrain, many women struggle to build local lives. In the first ethnographic monograph of Americans in Italy, Catherine Trundle argues that charity and philanthropy are the central means by which many American women negotiate a sense of migrant belonging in Italy. This book traces women’s daily acts of charity as they gave food to the poor, fundraised among the wealthy, monitored untrustworthy recipients, assessed the needy, and reflected on the emotional work that charity required. In exploring the often-ignored role of charitable action in migrant community formation, Trundle contributes to anthropological theories of gift giving, compassion, and reflexivity.

Catherine Trundle gained her PhD from Cambridge University in social anthropology, and is a Lecturer in cultural anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She is the co-editor, with Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, of the book Local Lives: Migration and the Politics of Place (Ashgate 2010). Her research focuses on migration, charity and exchange, medical anthropology, and aging.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Refugee and Migration Studies
Area: Southern Europe


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