Professor Peter Gray
BA, PhD (Cambridge), FRHistS, MRIA
Professor of Modern Irish History
Head of School
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 3433 / 5101
Peter Gray took his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of Cambridge before holding research fellowships at the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, and at Downing College, Cambridge. He taught Irish and British history at the University of Southampton 1996-2005, before returning to Belfast to take up the position of Professor of Modern Irish History. In 2004 Professor Gray was the Burns Library Visiting Professor in Irish Studies at Boston College, Massachusetts. He was chair of the Royal Irish Academy's National Committee for Historical Sciences 2007-10, and became Head of the School of History and Anthropology in 2010. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2013.
Professor Gray's research specialism is in the history of British-Irish relations c.1800–70, especially the political history of the Great Famine of 1845–50 and the politics of poverty and land in the nineteenth century. He has recently completed a history of the origins and implementation of the 1838 Irish Poor Law Act. He has interests in the history of nineteenth-century political economy and social thought, in comparative imperial history (especially nineteenth-century Ireland and India), in historical memory and commemoration, and in the history of the Irish lord lieutenancy. He directed the EPPI project to digitise Parliamentary Papers relating to Ireland 1800–1922, and the DIPPAM digitisation project, and is PI for the AHRC-funded project 'Welfare and Public Health in Belfast and its Region, c.1800-1973'.
- The Irish lord lieutenancy c.1541-1922 ed. with Olwen Purdue (Dublin: UCD Press, 2012)
- Poverty and welfare in Ireland 1838-1948 ed. with Virginia Crossman (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2011).
- The making of the Irish poor law 1815-43 (Manchester: MUP, 2009).
- Victoria's Ireland? Irishness and Britishness 1837–1901 ed. (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004).
- The memory of catastrophe ed. with Kendrick Oliver (Manchester: MUP, 2004). [link]
- Famine, land and politics: British government and Irish society 1843–1850 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999)
- The Irish Famine (London: Thames & Hudson, 1995). (French translation, Gallimard 1995; Korean translation, Sigongsa, 1998; Chinese translation, Horizon Media, 2005)
Articles and chapters:
- 'Conceiving and constructing the Irish workhouse, 1836-45', in Irish Historical Studies, xxxviii, 149 (2012)
- 'Irish social thought and the relief of poverty, 1847-1880', in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, xx (2010)
- ‘Accounting for catastrophe: William Wilde, the 1851 Irish census and the Great Famine’, in M. de Nie and S. Farrell (eds), Power and popular culture in modern Ireland: essays in honour of James S. Donnelly, Jr., (Dublin: IAP, 2010)
- ‘Thomas Chalmers and Irish poverty’, in J. McConnel and F. Ferguson (eds), Across the water: Ireland and Scotland in the nineteenth century, (Dublin: FCP, 2009).
- ‘The European food crisis and the relief of Irish famine, 1845-50’, in C. Ó Gráda, R. Paping and E. Vanhaute (eds), When the potato failed: causes and effects of the ‘last’ European subsistence crisis, 1845-1850 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007).
- ‘Famine and land in Ireland and India, 1845–1880: James Caird and the political economy of hunger’ in Historical Journal, xlix (2006). [link]
- '"Hints and hits": Irish caricature and the trial of Daniel O'Connell, 1843-4', in History Ireland, 12:4 (2004) [link]
- 'The peculiarities of Irish land tenure 1800–1914: from agent of impoverishment to agent of pacification' in D. Winch and P. K. O’Brien (eds), The political economy of British historical experience, 1688–1914 (Oxford: OUP, 2002).
- ‘National humiliation and the great hunger: fast and famine in 1847’ in Irish Historical Studies, xxxii (2000) [link].
- '"Shovelling out your paupers": The British state and Irish Famine migration, 1846–50' in Patterns of Prejudice, xxxiii (1999).
- 'Wellington and the government of Ireland, 1832–46' in C.M. Woolgar (ed.), Wellington Studies III (Southampton, 1999).
- 'Punch and the Great Famine', History Ireland, 1:2 (1993) [link]
Professor Peter Gray teaches on the following programmes / modules:
||Politics and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
||The Vast Catastrophe: The Irish Famine
||Historical Documents and Sources
||Culture, Politics and Identity in Ireland 1541-1972
Current PhD supervision:
- Pamela Linden, 'Jewish identity and community in Belfast, 1920-48'
- Lauren Ferguson, 'Emyr Estyn Evans and the cultural identity of Ulster, c.1929-1969'
- Robyn Atcheson, 'Poverty, poor relief and public health in Belfast and its region c.1800-1851'
- Ruairi Cullen, 'The Medieval period in nineteenth-century Irish historiography'
Recent PhDs supervised:
- Paul Huddie, 'Ireland's responses to the Crimean War, 1854-6'. PhD. 2014.
- Aidan Enright, 'The political life of Charles Owen O'Conor, 1860-1906'. PhD. 2011.
- Clare O'Kane, 'A society in transition: Society, identity and nostalgia in rural Northern Ireland, 1939-68'. PhD. 2011.
- Peter Ludlow, 'The Newfoundland-Irish in industrial Cape Breton, 1880-1920', PhD. 2010.
- Sarah Roddy, 'The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland', PhD. 2010.
- Claire Allen, 'Urban elites, civil society and governance in early nineteenth-century Belfast'. PhD. 2010
- Mary Clarke, 'The origins and impact of the Northcote-Trevelyan Report on civil service reform in Britain.', PhD. 2010