Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Lara LV Vapnek

Second Advisor

Alejandro AQ Quintana

Third Advisor

Kristin KS Szylvian


Globalizing Local History: Giuseppe Garibaldi in New York and The Politics of Memory, 1884-1932 examines local historical societies and public historical sites and describes how commemorators utilized Giuseppe Garibaldi's (July 4, 1807- June 2, 1882) legacy as a symbol and form of patriotic, political, and revolutionary speech and action. This dissertation explains how his life was appropriated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. My work explores how New Yorkers and Italian Americans used spaces, collective memory, and identity, to produce a form of world history through local historical events. This dissertation thematically describes how Garibaldi was collectively recalled in New York as a patriot, politician and revolutionary while offering chronological accounts and stories inside each respective chapter. The study analyzes Garibaldi's legacy as seen through the lens of New York’s local history. The impact of New York’s local history with respect to Garibaldi caused a flow of speculation, not only in the United States but also throughout Europe and South America. This research specifies that commemorators were not worried with how short of a time Garibaldi had been in New York (less than two years) but only interested in conserving a version of who he was, that would eventually help them meet some monetary or partisan end. Commemoration exercises did much more than endorse the Italian American way of life, New York City and the New Yorkers involved; they linked people to a specific version of the past, refined battle lines between rival political groups, delivered space to create a purified Italian identity, and made sense of the journey from the Old World to the New World. Aside from advancing social ideas, memorializing Garibaldi shaped a resolve around the meaning of conflicts overseas. Both presented spaces for municipal activity, places for grift, as well as places for civil strife, destruction, and political antagonism. This study moves local history further away from promotional and sentimental images of the past and moves closer toward an international and global historical perspective.