Up until the early 1990s Ireland remained on the fringe of Europe in psychological as well as geographical terms, often perceived as little more than ‘the other island’ in the Atlantic Archipelago. Since then, however, EU initiatives like the Erasmus and Socrates exchange programmes and the elimination of work barriers have caused a spectacular increase in intra-European mobility and have brought European countries closer than ever. ‘The other island’ has finally come into its own as one of Europe’s most popular destinations for workers and tourists alike.
The world of Irish historiography is no exception to this trend. Many European scholars have begun to engage with Irish history, bringing in their own social, intellectual and cultural backgrounds to provide fresh and illuminating insights. Unfortunately, intra-European networks are difficult to establish in the world of academic research; language barriers, physical difficulties of access to foreign archives, and high levels of specialisation, tend to enclose national histories within their own self-contained cocoons. Still, even such emblematic themes in Irish historical discourse as religious conflict, nationalism, republicanism, revolution, emigration and exile, diasporas and the reinvention of national culture, are by no means exclusive to the Irish context. By the mid-nineteenth century, long before the foundation of the European Union, a rich network of social, economic and cultural links had already been established among European countries, and phenomena like Daniel O’Connell’s liberal Catholicism, the Young Ireland insurrection of 1848, the successive emigration waves and the cultural revival of the late nineteenth century cannot be understood without the influence of contemporary European events.
In order to help bring Irish studies out of their national-history shell, and at the same time strengthen the links between European postgraduate students and scholars, the proposed conference aims at re-evaluating nineteenth-century Irish history by placing it in its European context.
Presenters will be provided with free registration and small travel grants may be additionally available for a limited number of Continental postgraduate students.
The keynote address will be delivered by Professor R. V. Comerford from the National University of Ireland at Maynooth. Additionally, a number of senior researchers have confirmed their attendance, including Dr Joost Augusteijn (Leiden University, the Netherlands), Professor Antonio Raúl de Toro Santos (University of La Coruña, Spain), and Dr Jérôme Aan de Wiel (University College, Cork).
The organisers are grateful for financial support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Postgraduate Office QUB, the School of History and Anthropology, QUB and the Royal Historical Society.
For more information please contact the organizers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizing committee: Pierre Ranger (QUB, Paris 12), Marta Ramon, PhD (NUI Maynooth), Brian Heffernan (NUI Maynooth), Zsuzsanna Zarka (NUI Maynooth)
Update: a volume of essays drawn from this conference has been published as Brian Heffernan (ed), Life on the Fringe?: Ireland and Europe 1800-1922 (Irish Academic Press, 2012) .