The histories of the Irish diaspora are varied and diverse, and span a multitude of geographical and chronological periods. As a result, the scholars researching them are often separated by historiography, methodology, and discipline base. This website, and the accompanying social media list, seeks to bring together researchers of Irish diaspora history by highlighting the range of work being doing across the world. It’s hoped that new conversations and connections can be made through the information held on this website.
Academia is increasingly connected and at the same time, disparate, as expectations on scholars at all stages of their career mount up. In a world of governmental pressures (REF I’m mainly looking at you), 9-month contracts, and the usual pressures of life, academic circles can become parochial, even with the advantages of Twitter and (occasional) international fellowship funding. You can only go to so many conferences, and if your work straddles a multitude of subjects, it can be difficult to decide which ones to go to. This is an online arena to help facilitate collaboration among scholars of Irish diaspora histories.
Whether you believe that the stories of those who left Ireland should be brought into Irish history, or whether their experiences should be understood as part of their new location, researchers of Irish diaspora history should be brought into contact with each other, to work within and across national boundaries and associations, and across methodology and chronology. We hope to provide a space where scholars can share how they approach the study of Irish diaspora histories. This is the aim of this website – to encourage conversation and connection. To aid in this, we now have a Humanities Commons discussion board which you are welcome to contribute to!
Dr Sophie Cooper is the editor of the Irish Diaspora Histories Network website and coordinator of the associated Twitter list of diaspora scholars. She is a historian of women religious in education, and Irish communities in Melbourne and Chicago during the nineteenth century. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2017. You can contact Sophie on twitter @SophcoCooper or through her personal website.
Dr Nicola Cousen is a historian of the Irish in Australia during the nineteenth century. Her recently completed PhD thesis was a biography of Irish doctor and philanthropist Dr James Stewart (1829-1906) and his time on the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria. Nicola’s research focuses on the Ulster Presbyterians and Irish doctors within the Australian fragment of the diaspora and medical care and philanthropy in colonial Victoria. Nicola can be contacted on twitter @NicolaCousen.