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Burns Visiting Scholars


Is There an American School Of Irish History?

Saturday, April 7
8:30am - 5:00pm
Connolly House, Boston College

This day-long symposium organized by Spring 2018 Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies Jason Knirck brings together of historians of Ireland who were trained in the United States and have taught Irish history in American universities. The participants are at a variety of career stages, ranging from ABDs to full professors and esteemed administrators. Each participant will present a piece of his or her current research, and then we will conclude the day with a roundtable (including the audience) discussing the place of Irish history in the American academy and the place of Irish historians in the United States.

For directions, and to add to your calendar, click here.

About the Participants

Jill C. Bender holds a BA in History from the College of William and Mary, an MA in Culture and Colonialism from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a PhD in History from Boston College. She is an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at
Greensboro and also the 2017-2018 Rebecca A. Lloyd Distinguished Residential Fellow for UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College. Bender is the author of one monograph, The 1857 Indian Uprising and the British Empire (Cambridge, 2016). She has also published several book chapters, including “Empire and Ireland,” in The Princeton History of Modern Ireland, eds. Richard Bourke and Ian McBride (Princeton, 2016) and “The ‘Piniana’ Question: Irish Fenians and the New Zealand Wars,” in Ireland and an Imperial World: Citizenship, Opportunism, and
Subversion, eds. Michael de Nie, Timothy McMahon, and Paul Townend (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).
Ian M. Burns is a PhD Candidate and instructor of history at Northern Illinois University. His dissertation focuses on the Irish Volunteers from 1913-1916.
Michael de Nie is a professor of history at the University of West Georgia and President of the Southern Conference on British Studies. His first book, The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798-1882 (2004) was awarded the ACIS Donnelly Prize. He has published widely on the Irish and British press and Ireland and empire. He is currently writing a study of the late-Victorian Press and Revolutionary Islam.
Sean Farrell is an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of Rituals and Riots: Sectarian Violence and Political Culture in Ulster, 1784-1886 (2000), which was awarded the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book by the American Conference for Irish Studies in 2001. He has co-edited (with Danine Farquharson and Michael de Nie respectively) two collections of essays on modern Irish history and culture and published widely on nineteenth-century Irish history. A Past President of the American Conference for Irish Studies, he has just completed a book entitled Building the Kingdom of God: Christ Church and the Making of Victorian Belfast.
Douglas Kanter is an associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His publications include The Making of British Unionism (2009) and, most recently, a chapter on “Post-Famine Politics”  in the Cambridge History of Ireland. He is currently completing a volume, edited with Patrick Walsh, on Taxation, Politics, and Protest in Ireland.
Bridget Keown is a PhD candidate at Northeastern University who received her BA from Smith College and her MA in imperial and commonwealth history from King’s College London. Her work focuses on British and Irish women and their experience of war trauma during the First World War and Irish War of Independence. She has been awarded the Larkin Research Fellowship in Irish Studies from the American Conference for Irish Studies to continue this research. During the summer of 2017 she contributed guest blogs for the American Historical Association as one of two AHA Today Blog Contest winners. She is currently a contributing writer to Nursing Clio.
Jason Knirck is a professor of history at Central Washington University and his work analyzes the culture and language of high politics during the revolutionary period. He is the author of Afterimage of the Revolution: Cumann na nGaedheal and Irish Politics and Women of the Dáil: Gender, Republicanism, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and is currently at work on a monograph analyzing the development of forms of parliamentary opposition in the Free State.
Amanda Link is an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Tyler and received her PhD from Washington State University.  Her manuscript Specters of Empire: Irish Remembrance of the Great War in the Irish Free State, 1914-1937 is currently under contract with Palgrave and evaluates the relationship between war commemoration and national identity within the context of decolonization. 
Tim McMahon is an associate professor of history at Marquette University and president of the American Conference for Irish Studies. He is a social historian with interests in Irish nationalism, national identity, popular culture, and the British Empire. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University in 1987 and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994 and 2001. In addition to writing numerous journal articles and book chapters, he is the author of Grand Opportunity: The Gaelic Revival and Irish Society, 1893-1910 (2008) and editor of Pádraig Ó Fathaigh’s War of Independence: Recollections of a Galway Gaelic Leaguer (2000) and (with Michael de Nie and Paul Townend) of the recently published Ireland in an Imperial World: Citizenship, Opportunism, and Subversion. Tim was named the Rev. William Neenan, S.J., Visiting Fellow at Boston College-Ireland in 2011 and receiving a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society in 2017. That same year, he received Marquette’s highest faculty honor, the Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.
Tim O’Neil is an associate professor of history at Central Michigan University.  His research interests are centered in the European labor movement, with a focus on the Irish working class both at home and abroad.
Ken Shonk is the associate professor of world history and social studies education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He earned his PhD in Irish history from Marquette University in 2010, and he is the past president of the Midwest ACIS. His most recent publication, the co-authored History theory and methods through Popular Music, 1970-2000 was published by Palgrave in September of this year. An introduction to his work on the ‘Shadow Metropole’ appeared in Ireland in an Imperial World (Palgrave 2017), and will be included in a special edition of History Ireland to be published in January 2019.
Paul Townend received his PhD in British and Irish History in 1999, studying under Emmet Larkin.  He is the author of two studies of 19 th century Irish populisms, Father Mathew, Temperance, and Irish Identity (IAP 2002) and The Road To Home Rule: Anti-imperialism and the Irish National Movement (UWP, 2016) as well as several articles that touch on the relationship between Irish politics and social movements.  He is currently the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies as well as a professor of British and Irish history at UNCW.


8:30am Introduction / Welcome

Panel 1

Jill Bender (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
“Irish Women, Poor Law Guardians, and the Challenges of State- Sponsored Migration in the mid-nineteenth- century British Empire.”

Sean Farrell (Northern Illinois University)
“Changing the Subject: Ulster Catholics and the Trillick Railway Affair of 1854”

Doug Kanter (Florida Atlantic University)
“The Irish Campaign Against Over-Taxation, 1863-1865”


Information Session

Christian Dupont, Burns Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections
"Burns Library Collections and Historical Research"


Panel 2

Paul Townend (University of North Carolina at Wilmington)
“Irish Nationalism as Social Movement”

Tim McMahon (Marquette University)
“Seeding the Field: Challenges for American Historians of Ireland in the Early 21 st Century”

Michael de Nie (University of West Georgia)
“Ireland and Empire: Where do we go from here?”

11:50am Lunch

Panel 3

Ian Burns (Northern Illinois University)
“‘Black Sunday’, 1914: Commemoration, Memory, and the Shootings at Bachelor’s Walk"

Bridget Keown (Northeastern University)
“‘I would Rather Have My Own Mind’: The Role of Richmond Asylum in the Policing of Women’s Behavior in Ireland, 1918-1925”

Mandy Link (University of Texas at Tyler)
“Doing their Bit: Irish Nurses and the Great War”


Panel 4

Ken Shonk (University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse)
“Members of a common civilisation’: Ireland, North Atlanticism, and the ‘Emergent Nations,’ 1937-1968.”

Tim O’Neil (Central Michigan University)
“Contesting the Legacy of James Connolly: Republicans and Labour, 1922-1934”

Jason Knirck (Central Washington University)
“A Loyal Opposition? The Role of Opposition in the Early Free State Dáil”

4:00pm Roundtable: Irish History in the United States