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Revolutionary Ireland, 1916-2016
Historical Facts & Social Transformations Re-assessed
Constanza del Río (ed.)
About this book
The commemoration of the Easter Rising centenary in 2016 posed the key question of whether - leaving aside the revolutionary decade (1913-1923) - it was appropriate to talk about a “revolutionary Ireland”.
The revolutionary decade brought about a change of governance and led to Ireland’s independence, but the new Irish Free State fell short of the proclaimed intentions of the imagined republic.
The new state veered away from the influence of labour and socialism to become an institutional replica, and a staunchly socially conservative one, of the British system.
It was only from the 1960s onwards that Irish society started to open itself up to more liberating social practices and patterns.
This volume offers entirely new work which highlights the historical moments at which it would be possible to talk about a political or social revolution in Ireland, while also considering that in the years when Ireland became “the Celtic Tiger”, certain social involutions took place.
The contributors include independent researchers who write about their topics within a theoretically informed, scholarly, framework. Yet it is precisely their independence from academia that provides their chapters with fresh and multidisciplinary perspectives. Others are well established scholars. It is precisely the wealth of approaches and of disciplines (history, sociology, film studies and literary studies) that enriches the volume and broadens the scope.
This volume discusses the idea of revolution in Ireland from a multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective. It covers, on the one hand, the political revolution, mainly the Easter Rising 1916, and on the other the social transformations that the country underwent following the claims for civil rights and the sexual revolution of the late 1960s both in the USA and Europe. Changes in Northern Ireland resulting from the cease fire declaration of the IRA in 1994 are also examined.
The kind of state – its conservative political regime and social configuration – that emerged after independence points towards the potentially oxymoronic nature of the phrase “revolutionary Ireland.” Yet Ireland’s European location has made the country easily permeable to external influences. These, when allied with Ireland’s process of modernisation, managed to rupture social strictures. Yet, while patterns in religious practice, gender roles and sexuality have inexorably moved towards much more liberal standards, during the decade known as “Celtic Tiger Ireland” the country experienced an involutionary process as regards racism and discrimination against emigrants and asylum seekers.
These studies approach the Easter Rising and the revolutionary period from different perspectives and methodologies: archival research, oral history, postcolonial analysis of documentaries on the Easter Rising, critical discourse analysis of witness statements and research into gendered violence in the Easter Rising aftermath. From this history-based section, the volume shifts to social and cultural issues mainly as refracted and articulated through literature and film: the ground breaking literary work of Edna O’Brien, the shifting grounds for masculinity in Roddy Doyle’s The Van, the radical changes in cinematic representations of the Northern Troubles following the IRA’s cease fire, Evelyn Conlon’s vindication of women’s historical voices and presence, and research into Direct Provision Centres. The volume ends with an interview to political activist and page and performer poet Sarah Clancy and the inclusion of two unpublished poems by her.
First section: The Historical Facts
1 The Military Service Pensions Collection (1916-1923): Evidence of a Revolution and New Perspectives (Cécile Gordon and Robert McEvoy). Cécile Gordon is Senior Archivist at Military Archives of Ireland and works as Project Manager of the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Project. Robert McEvoy is an archivist employed on the same project.
2 Ireland’s Revolutionary Years 1916-1923: An Oral History Record (Maurice O’Keeffee). Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe are principals of Irish Life and Lore, an organisation founded in 1990 dedicated to the collection and archiving of oral histories.
3 Violence against Women in Munster and Connacht in the Irish War of Independence, 1919-1921 (Thomas Earls Fitzgerald). He is a senior teaching scholar in Irish, British and European history at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.
4 Resurrecting the Rebellion: A Postcolonial Reading of Historical Documentaries on the Easter Rising (Paul O’Mahony). Paul O’ Mahony is an Irish academic from Cork.
5 “We have not committed any sin”: A Corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis of a Female Witness Statement of the Easter Rising (Mariana Vignoli Figueroa). Mariana Vignoli Figueroa holds a master’s degree in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Granada (UGR), Spain. She also holds a degree in English Teaching from the National University of San Juan (UNSJ), Argentina. She has worked as an English teacher in Argentina, Spain and Ireland.
Second section: Social Transformations
1 Women’s Time to Fight their War: Sexuality and the Devotional Revolution in Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls (Elena Cantueso Urbano).
Elena Cantueso Urbano graduated in English Studies at the University of Cordoba, Spain (2009-20014). She holds a Master’s degree in English studies from the University of Malaga, Spain, and is now completing her PhD in Irish cultural and literary studies.
2 Gender Revolution and Subversive Wives in Roddy Doyle’s The Van. (Burcu Gülüm Tekin). Burcu Gülüm Tekin is a lecturer in Istanbul Aydın University at the department of English language and literature.
3 Evelyn Conlon on Art: Revolution and Gender in “What Happens at Night” (2014) (Melania Terrazas). Melania Terrazas is Senior Lecturer in English Studies at the University of La Rioja (Spain).
4 Direct Provision Centres: Celtic Tiger Ireland’s racist involution. (Vukasin Nedeljkovic). Vukasin Nedeljkovic is an independent researcher and artist who initiated the multidisciplinary project Asylum Archive.
5 Revolutionary Cinema: The Changing Rhetoric of Violence in the Representation of Belfast (Stephanie Schwerter). Stephanie Schwerter is Professor of Anglophone literature at the University of Valenciennes.
6 Interview with Sarah Clancy: political activist and poet (Sara Martín-Ruiz). Sara Martín-Ruiz is an independent scholar whose research focuses on contemporary Irish narrative written by immigrant women, with a special interest in the intersection of gender, class, and race.
7 Sarah Clancy’s unpublished poems
About the author
The editor, Constanza del Río is Senior Lecturer in Irish and British literature at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. Her research centres on the contemporary Irish novel and on critical theory. She has written and published articles on Flann O’Brien, William Trevor, Jennifer Johnston, Patrick McCabe, Kate O’Riordan, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Sebastian Barry and Seamus Deane. She has been working within the field of Trauma Studies and is now moving into Affect Theory. She has been commissioned to write a chapter for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Fiction on the contemporary Irish novel and Trauma Studies. She is co-editor of Memory, Imagination and Desire in Contemporary Anglo-American Literature and Film (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2004) and of Traumatic Memory and the Ethical, Political and Transhistorical Functions of Literature (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
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