ACIS Logo Navigating Historical Crosscurrents in the Irish Atlantic: Essays for Catherine Shannon

This volume takes inspiration from Professor Catherine Shannon’s scholarship on Modern Irish and Irish American history and her advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland and features original research by distinguished scholars and social-justice activists on both sides of the Atlantic. The essays illuminate the historical relationship between Ireland and North America over past centuries. They offer new readings of the transatlantic crosscurrents that shape our understanding of Irish emigration and North American settlement, and constructions of ethnic Irish identities.

This collection brings together respected Irish, British, American, and Canadian historians, literary scholars, and social-justice activists to address the following thematic approaches to the Irish and Irish American historical experience:

  • Famine impact and legacy
  • Boston Irish political culture
  • Irish Revolution-era nationalist activism
  • Northern Ireland conflict

Considered from a range of historical, literary, political, and cultural perspectives, the essays collected here examine crucial forces connecting the ancestral home and the adopted homeland over centuries of Irish migration and North American settlement. They revise traditional depictions of ethnic Irishness in explorations of the Famine’s consequence, ethnic Irish prominence in Boston, the 1916-era watershed, and Northern Ireland’s troubled political and cultural landscape–lenses that expose crucial historical navigations across the Irish Atlantic. These new readings of the evolution of the ethnic identity collectively generate a major contribution to modern Irish and Irish American historical scholarship.

Mary C. Kelly, Ph.D., is Professor of History at Franklin Pierce University. She is the author of  Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish American History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). She continues to explore ethnic Irish identity in spheres of political culture, faith, and the enduring relationship with Ireland.

April 2022| 9781782054993 | €39 £35| Hardback | 234 x 156mm | 366 pages | Cork University Press

The case for Catherine Shannon as a significant contributor to the development of the study of the Irish in the Atlantic world is well-made and convincing. That she made a major contribution is beyond doubt and the essays here, in tribute to her work, as well as the editor’s introduction do a very good job discussing her contribution and placing it in a very broad context.

– William H. Mulligan, Jr, Murray State University

In the case of Catherine Shannon, that is a substantial oeuvre. From her works on Balfour and Anglo-Irish politics, to her more popular studies of John Boyle O’Reilly, to her deep interest in the movement of Famine-era Irish to her native Massachusetts, to her scholarly and political engagement with the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Shannon’s career has been remarkable. As these essays make clear, she is a gifted researcher and mentor, who has been a model for engaged scholars and especially for women activists, encouraging deep understanding, empathy, and fierce commitment to their work in every field of endeavour. And as Kelly’s introduction makes plain, the works of this collection are part of the burgeoning transnational study of Ireland and the Irish Diaspora, making manifest previously underappreciated complexities in the Irish Atlantic.

Timothy G. McMahon, Marquette University

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Published on: March 28, 2022