The category "white ethnicity" and the corresponding identity label "white ethnics" entered the national vocabulary in the 1960s and 1970s, and was soon extensively used both in the academy and the wider society. The image below shows the cover page of one of the first books on the subject (edited by Joseph Ryan in 1973.)
Today, almost half-a-century later, the category has – for the most part – fallen out of popular use, though it enjoys wide popularity in academic discussions of diversity. Why is this the case? Why does the academy insist in employing this category? How the meaning of this category has changed through time? How do social scientists define and theorize populations construed as "white ethnic"? I spent more than a year patiently reflecting on these questions. The fruits of this labor were first presented in a keynote in the symposium Reimagining White Ethnicity, organized by the Calandra Institute in 2012 (http://www.i-italy.org/24899/reimagining-white-ethnicity-conversation-joseph-sciorra).
An extended version of this work, entitled "White Ethnicity: A Reappraisal" has just been published in the latest issue of the Italian American Review, Vol. 3.2 (2013): 99-129.
For a table of contents, see, (http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/calandra/sites/calandra.i-italy.org/files/files/TOC%20from%20IAR_3_2_text%20FINAL.pdf)
I hope it will spark renewed critical discussion on the category.