Larkin Research Fellowship in Irish Studies

A pioneering historian, inspiring teacher and one of the founders of the American Conference for Irish Studies, Professor Emmet Larkin (1927-2012) was truly one of the twentieth century’s giants of Irish historical studies. To honor his memory, ACIS and Dr. Larkin’s friends and family, with support from the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust, have created the Emmet Larkin Fellowship, an annual research award of $700 to be given to a Ph.D. student conducting work in history or the social sciences on an Irish topic (diaspora included) at a North American institution.

About this Fellowship

A professor of history at the University of Chicago for forty years until he retired in 2006, Larkin researched and wrote extensively on the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, particularly in the years following the Great Famine. He described a “devotional revolution” under the direction of Irish bishops which brought religious practices more strictly in line with Roman canonical principles and increased the influence of the Church over people’s daily lives. In addition to the debate his work inspired about political and social life in Ireland, it also championed the hitherto untapped value of religious archives in Ireland.

Born in New York City, Larkin served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, and then earned an undergraduate degree at New York University and a doctorate in history at Columbia University. He taught history at Brooklyn College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before transferring to the University of Chicago. His publications on the Irish church include The Roman Catholic Church and the Creation of the Modern Irish State, 1878-1886 (1975), which won the American Catholic Historical Association’s John Gilmary Shea Prize; The Historical Dimensions of Irish Catholicism (1997); and The Pastoral Role of the Roman Catholic Church in Pre-Famine Ireland, 1750-1850, which was published in 2006, the year he retired.

His awards included an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in 1987, a Fulbright fellowship at the London School of Economics from 1955-56, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He also received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council on National Literatures, the American Irish Foundation and the American Ireland Fund.