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Burns Visiting Scholars


Current Visiting Scholar


Since 1991, the Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program has brought to Boston College a long and distinguished series of academics, writers, artists, journalists, librarians, and notable public figures who have made significant contributions to Irish cultural and intellectual life. Burns Visiting Scholars teach courses, offer public lectures, and engage with the rich resources of the John J. Burns Library in their ongoing research, writing, and creative endeavors.

The Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program is a cooperative venture between the Boston College Center for Irish Programs and the Boston College Libraries. It was established by and receives continuing support from the family and friends of the Honorable John J. Burns (Class of 1921), who also generously contributed to the creation of the John J. Burns Library and support the growth of its extraordinary collections pertaining to Irish history, literature, music, and culture. The Burns Visiting Scholar program has also benefited from support from the Office of the Provost.

In recognition of its 25th anniversary, Boston College Communications profiled the Burns Visiting Scholar program in a November 7, 2016 article.  In October 2016, Irish America magazine also published a special supplement in celebration of this milestone. Read the article or download a copy.

GUY BEINER - Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies, Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Guy Beiner is Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, where he teaches a range of courses on late-modern Europe, including Ireland. He holds a PhD in modern Irish history from University College Dublin, where he was a Government of Ireland Scholar. He was also a fellow of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Trinity College Dublin, a Keough National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the University of Notre Dame, a Government of Hungary Scholar at the Central European University and a Gerda Henkel Marie Curie senior fellow at the University of Oxford. He is co-editor, with Oona Frawley and Ray Cashman, of the Indiana University Press series Irish Culture, Memory, Place.

Beiner specializes in the historical study of remembering and forgetting. His book Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007) won multiple awards, including the Ratcliff Prize for the Study of Folklore of Great Britain and Ireland and the Wayland D. Hand Prize for an outstanding publication in history and folklore. His recently published book Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster (Oxford University Press, 2018) is the winner of the Irish Historical Research Prize for 2019, awarded by the National University of Ireland. It has also been listed as a Times Literary Supplement book of the year and received an Honorable Mention for the American Conference for Irish Studies James S. Donnelly, Sr., Prize for Books in History and Social Sciences. Beiner is currently editing a book on the global history of forgetting, rediscovering and remembering the Great Flu pandemic of 1918-1919.


Fall Course:
Day in History & Memory: Bloody Sunday, 1972-2010
Wednesdays, 3:00pm-5:20pm
Stokes Hall 107S

On 30 January 1972, a British paratrooper unit opened fire on a protest march for civil rights in Derry/Londonderry. The events of that fatal day became a foundational moment for the Northern Irish conflict and their repercussions continued to reverberate over subsequent decades. In 2010, following a comprehensive investigation inquiry, UK prime minister David Cameron issued a public apology. This course offers a multi-perspective "cubist" exploration of the charged history and memory of "Bloody Sunday" and its many meanings by examining a range of sources, including state documents, legal reports, media reportage, photography, personal testimonies, poetry, songs, fiction, drama, film, visual art and commemorative practices.

Spring Course:
Commemoration Fever: Contemporary Ireland
Wednesdays, 3:00pm-5:25pm
Gasson Hall 204

This course looks at the historical past as it is remembered through political, social and cultural activities in the present. It critically examines the "memory boom" in contemporary global culture through a case study of Ireland. In recent years, Ireland and Northern Ireland have been preoccupied with intensive commemoration of key events in their modern history. We will consider what characterizes this obsessive engagement with heritage, what motivates commemorations, and what is left forgotten. We will also wrestle with the dilemmas of how academic historians can relate to such manifestations of public history.

Brown Bag Lunch Talk:
"How Can Historians Study Forgetting?"
Thursday, November 21, 2019
12:00pm - 1:00pm, reception to follow
Stokes Hall S376 (History department conference room)

"Relocating Nationalism between the Regional and Transnational: Unexpected Lessons from the Lives and Works of Amateur Historians"
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
6:00pm, wine, beer, and hors d'oeuvres, followed by the lecture at 7:00pm, and a continuation of the reception at 8:00pm
Burns Library

Watch the event recording on YouTube!
​This lecture will explore how current discussions on the place of Ireland and Northern Ireland in Europe and the wider world may benefit from a reappraisal of two largely-neglected Irish intellectuals: Richard Robert Madden (1798-1886) a Dublin-based Catholic physician, novelist, journalist, colonial administrator, abolitionist and historian, and Francis Joseph Bigger (1863-1926), a Belfast-based Protestant solicitor, naturalist, social reformer, cultural revivalist and antiquarian.


Follow the link below to read about each of the more than thirty Burns Visiting Scholars whom we have welcomed to campus since the program began in 1991. For several of our more recent scholars, you will find links to streaming recordings of their public lectures.

Previous Burns Visiting Scholars


Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, novelist and creative writer 2020 Fall
Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast, twentieth-century historian 2021 Spring
Emilie Pine, University College Dublin literary scholar 2021 Fall
James Kelly, Dublin City University, eighteenth-century historian 2022 Spring
Paul Murray, novelist 2022 Fall