The Albanian-American Community in the United States : A Diaspora Coming to Visibility
Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism
University of Prince Edward Island
45 - 63 p.
The Albanian-American community in the United States became visible at the time of the NATO intervention in Kosovo in the Spring of 1999. The US government had promised to shelter 20,000 Kosovars expelled from their homeland by Serb-dominated Yugoslav forces (Michael Kranish and Mary Leonard, 1999). As refugees hit American soil, stories of family reunion and community solidarity were told in the local and national press. True, there had been earlier rallies in Washington organized by Albanian-American organizations that had hinted at the wish, on the part of the Albanian immigrants, to weigh upon US foreign policy towards the Balkans. Yet the by the end of the 1990s 200,000 to 400,000 Albanians remained little known to the average American public2. As the Kosovo events receded into the background, the upsurge of interest faded away. To this day, the literature on the geographic location, social belonging, internal differentiation and identity-bulding of the Albanian-American community remains scanty. In particular, no academic research has addressed the dynamics of this new diaspora beyond occasional journalistic coverage of crime and gang-related issues in the New York area (...).