Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race

Overview

This is a book about Irish nationalism and how Irish nationalists developed their own conception of the Irish race. Bruce Nelson begins with an exploration of the discourse of race--from the nineteenth--century belief that "race is everything" to the more recent argument that there are no races. He focuses on how English observers constructed the "native" and Catholic Irish as uncivilized and savage, and on the racialization of the Irish in the nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States, ...

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Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race

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Overview

This is a book about Irish nationalism and how Irish nationalists developed their own conception of the Irish race. Bruce Nelson begins with an exploration of the discourse of race--from the nineteenth--century belief that "race is everything" to the more recent argument that there are no races. He focuses on how English observers constructed the "native" and Catholic Irish as uncivilized and savage, and on the racialization of the Irish in the nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States, where Irish immigrants were often portrayed in terms that had been applied mainly to enslaved Africans and their descendants.

Most of the book focuses on how the Irish created their own identity--in the context of slavery and abolition, empire, and revolution. Since the Irish were a dispersed people, this process unfolded not only in Ireland, but in the United States, Britain, Australia, South Africa, and other countries. Many nationalists were determined to repudiate anything that could interfere with the goal of building a united movement aimed at achieving full independence for Ireland. But others, including men and women who are at the heart of this study, believed that the Irish struggle must create a more inclusive sense of Irish nationhood and stand for freedom everywhere. Nelson pays close attention to this argument within Irish nationalism, and to the ways it resonated with nationalists worldwide, from India to the Caribbean.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is . . . a most impressive study, not only for its breathtaking scope and Nelson's command of such vast and varied scholarship but for pointing to many unexplored directions for future comparative and transnational studies. This book is a welcome addition to the literature on Irish nationalism and on the construction of group identity."--Patrick Furlong, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics

"Nelson's book is a timely chronology of the quest by both foreigners and the Irish themselves to define and redefine race and identity."--Lar Joye, History Ireland

"Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race is . . . a wide-ranging work rooted in large volumes of both primary and secondary sources. It succeeds in broadening our understanding of Irish identity by digging up new and interesting intellectual connections between Irish nationalists and the outside world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."--Cian McMahon, New Hibernia Review

"The whole book . . . rests on a solid base of original research and analysis. Even when we may be familiar in outline with some of the incidents [Nelson] recounts . . . this book enriches our understanding."--Patrick Maume, Irish Historical Studies

"Nelson's book is to be welcomed for placing the racialist entanglement of national movements so emphatically on the scholarly agenda. I am also fundamentally sympathetic to his avowedly progressive, leftist stance."--Joep Leerssen, Irish Economic and Social History

Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
This is . . . a most impressive study, not only for its breathtaking scope and Nelson's command of such vast and varied scholarship but for pointing to many unexplored directions for future comparative and transnational studies. This book is a welcome addition to the literature on Irish nationalism and on the construction of group identity.
— Patrick Furlong
History Ireland
Nelson's book is a timely chronology of the quest by both foreigners and the Irish themselves to define and redefine race and identity.
— Lar Joye
Nationalism and Ethnic Politics - Patrick Furlong
This is . . . a most impressive study, not only for its breathtaking scope and Nelson's command of such vast and varied scholarship but for pointing to many unexplored directions for future comparative and transnational studies. This book is a welcome addition to the literature on Irish nationalism and on the construction of group identity.
History Ireland - LAR Joye
Nelson's book is a timely chronology of the quest by both foreigners and the Irish themselves to define and redefine race and identity.
New Hibernia Review - Cian McMahon
Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race is . . . a wide-ranging work rooted in large volumes of both primary and secondary sources. It succeeds in broadening our understanding of Irish identity by digging up new and interesting intellectual connections between Irish nationalists and the outside world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
History Ireland - Lar Joye
Nelson's book is a timely chronology of the quest by both foreigners and the Irish themselves to define and redefine race and identity.
Irish Historical Studies - Patrick Maume
The whole book . . . rests on a solid base of original research and analysis. Even when we may be familiar in outline with some of the incidents [Nelson] recounts . . . this book enriches our understanding.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691161969
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/26/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,294,341
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Bruce Nelson is professor emeritus of history at Dartmouth College. He is the author of "Divided We Stand: American Workers and the Struggle for Black Equality" (Princeton) and "Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Longshoremen, and Unionism in the 1930s."
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi

Part 1. The Making of the Irish Race
Prologue: Arguing about (the Irish) Race 3
Chapter 1. "The blood of an Irishman": The English Construction of the Irish Race, 1534–1801 17
Chapter 2. Celts, Hottentots, and "white chimpanzees": The Racialization of the Irish in the Nineteenth Century 30

Part 2. Ireland, Slavery, and Abolition
Chapter 3. "Come out of such a land, you Irishmen": Daniel O’Connell, American Slavery, and the Making of the Irish Race 57
Chapter 4. "The Black O’Connell of the United States": Frederick Douglass and Ireland 86

Part 3. Ireland and Empire
Chapter 5. "From the Cabins of Connemara to the Kraals of Kaffirland": Irish Nationalists, the British Empire, and the "Boer Fight for Freedom" 121
Chapter 6. "Because we are white men": Erskine Childers, Jan Christian Smuts, and the Irish Quest for Self-Government, 1899-1922 148

Part 4. Ireland and Revolution
Chapter 7. Negro Sinn Féiners and Black Fenians: "Heroic Ireland" and the Black Nationalist Imagination 181
Chapter 8. "The Irish are for freedom everywhere": Eamon de Valera, the Irish Patriotic Strike, and the"“last white nation . . . deprived of its liberty" 212

Epilogue: The Ordeal of the Irish Republic 242
Notes 259
Index 323

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