There is no present or future in Ireland, only the past happening over and over again.

—Eugene O'Neill

The study of Irish history does not excite political animosity but leads to the very opposite result. To thoroughly appreciate the history of this country it is necessary to sympathise with all parties...

—A.G. Richey, A Short History of the Irish People (1869)

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.

—W.B. Yeats

AN exasperated official in Northern Ireland, pondering the seemingly insoluble political situation there, once remarked that the trouble with Ireland is that it is a country with "too much history".

Is he right?

This colloquium surveys the social and political history of Ireland and the Irish from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day. The shaping and reshaping of this island's political, economic, and social order will be studied in its relation to Britain and its empire, the European continent, and the United States. The scope of our study will be wide. We will trace the ideologies and tactics of Irish republicanism and unionism, the struggle for political separation from Britain, the Irish literary renaissance, the Irish Diaspora and its effects on Ireland and abroad, the influence of religion on Irish identities, the origins of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, and the shape of Irish culture and society into the twenty-first century.

This course is designed to engage us at two levels. It is primarily a reading-intensive survey of historical and literary scholarship relating to Modern Ireland from the early nineteenth century onward. Yet in the process, it forces us to examine what it means to be "Irish," a "nation," and a "people." Are Americans or Australians of Irish descent part of the Irish nation? Are Ulster Protestants loyal to the British crown also Irish (as they insist they are)? How are ethnic identities, religious practices, and even the remembrance of history being shaped to legitimize different political agendas? As Ireland becomes a prosperous member of the European Union, does it have a responsibility to accept immigrants and asylum seekers as readily as it has always sent them abroad? As Irish cities become racially and ethnically diverse, will these new residents and their children ever become "Irish"? We will keep these and other questions in mind as we study the social and political development of Modern Ireland.

Readings for this course will combine historical scholarship with literature, political philosophy, sociology, and memoirs from different periods. Students are encouraged to view all of these sources as historical texts and to consider broader questions about the nature of colonialism, nationalism, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, and "identity".

David Campion
Pamplin Associate Professor of History
Miller 409 | MSC 41

Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219 USA

Tel: 503.768.7435
Fax: 503.768.7418
Email: campion@lclark.edu

Class Hours:
TuTh 9:40-11:10
Miller 414

Office Hours:
TuTh 2:00-4:00
(or by appointment)
Miller 409

Course Requirements

Schedule of Classes

Assignment Guidelines

Supplementary Reading

Ireland in Film

Irish Online Resources and Maps

Prof. Campion's Other Courses

Top (left to right):
Irish emigrants bound for America, c.1840s (#3904) © Library and Archives of Canada
Flags of the Irish Republic and European Union atop the Custom House, Dublin
Celtic Cross in a Donegal cemetery
Belfast street scene © Eamon Melaugh
General Michael Collins, c.1922

Bottom (left to right):
Belfast street scene, 1972 © Eamon Melaugh
Atlantic Coast, West Cork
Orangemen marching in Belfast
"The Birth of the Irish Republic, 1916" © Trinity College Library, Dublin

Created by campion@lclark.edu | Updated February 2016