Courses

  • Global History of Irish-Speaking Ireland

    Description

    Irish (or Gaelic), the language spoken by a majority of the Irish people until the beginning of the nineteenth century, has played a major role in the history of Ireland and its wider global diaspora. The medium of one of the earliest vernacular literatures in Europe, the subsequent decline in the number of its speakers in the 18th and 19th centuries prompted a move to restore it as part of the creation of an independent Ireland in the 1920s. This course will trace the history of the Irish language and the Irish-speaking community, starting with samples (in English translation) of early modern prose and poetry, followed by a look at the causes and scope of language decline in the 19th century and the fortunes of Irish-speakers abroad in North America and Australia. Finally, the last third of the course will take up the subject of its revival, the status of Irish as a minority language in a fully independent state, and current debates over language planning.


    Researchers

    Course Website
  • Saloon Keepers, Seamstresses, and Servant Girls: A Social Survey of Irish New York in 1880

    Description

    In the year 1880, following over a century of robust migration links between Ireland and the eastern seaboard of the U.S., three-quarters of a million residents of New York City could claim Irish ancestry, with a third of these first-generation immigrants. More Irish and their descendants were living in New York than in Dublin in that year, and it is this population that will serve as the basis for a semester-long research investigation of the demographic, social, and cultural dynamics of these residents as revealed in the 1880 U.S. census.

    Why the 1880 U.S. census? This year is unique: it is the only year for which full-count microdata collected on the individual census forms is currently available and ready for use by digital applications. Because it is a full-count sample, it is also the only suitable candidate to recover a sub-population (in our case, the Irish) within a sub-geographic region (in our case, New York City). The goals of this class are to:

    1. Conduct original historical research into the Irish population of New York, using traditional historical methods (i.e. relying on primary-source documentation, scholarly publications, etc.) while also investigating the history of Ireland itself and the cultural context surrounding the massive immigration of the 19th century.
    2. Build a single research project using digital skills, with the particular aim of presenting research on a collaboratively-built website. As such, the primary skills acquisition will be in building and organizing a website (in this case, using the open-source content management system WordPress). We will also walk together through a few necessary subsidiary skills to analyze and visualize our findings the census data, namely SPSS and TileMill. No prior knowledge in any of these skills are necessary! The aim of this course is to introduce you to these tools and how to use them for historical research in an easy, step-by-step process.

    Researchers

    Course Website
  • Resurrecting the Ethnic Village

    Description

    One of the hallmarks of Irish America is ethnic succession which, by its very nature, renders the past invisible, especially in cities like New York.

    This course and companion website focuses on the nineteenth century when immigration from Ireland dramatically altered North America politically, socially and culturally. We look a various Irish neighborhoods using traditional and modern methods of historical research, collecting textual, numeric, and visual data.


    Researchers

    Course Website