Saturday, October 8th,, 2pm-2:50pm
David Brundage, will read highlights of his new book titled Irish Nationalists in America, The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998 recently released by Oxford University Press.
The Irish Times has called the book “fascinating and provocative,” noting that “Brundage challenges us to rethink the history of Irish nationalism and its far-flung supporters, and to ponder its present and future.” See full review.
In this important work of deep learning and insight, David Brundage gives us the first full-scale history of Irish nationalists in the United States. Beginning with the brief exile of Theobald Wolfe Tone, founder of Irish republican nationalism, in Philadelphia on the eve of the bloody 1798 Irish rebellion, and concluding with the role of Bill Clinton’s White House in the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, Brundage tells a story of more than two hundred years of Irish American (and American) activism in the cause of Ireland.
The book, though, is far more than a narrative history of the movement. Brundage effectively weaves into his account a number of the analytical themes and perspectives that have transformed the study of nationalism over the last two decades. The most important of these perspectives is the “imagined” or “invented” character of nationalism. A second theme is the relationship of nationalism to the waves of global migration from the early nineteenth century to the present and, more precisely, the relationship of nationalist politics to the phenomenon of political exile. Finally, the work is concerned with Irish American nationalists’ larger social and political vision, which sometimes expanded to embrace causes such as the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, or freedom for British colonial subjects in India and Africa, and at other times narrowed, avoiding or rejecting such “extraneous” concerns and connections. All of these themes are placed within a thoroughly transnational framework that is one of the book’s most important contributions.
Irish nationalism in America emerges from these pages as a movement of great resonance and power. This is a work that will transform our understanding of the experience of one of America’s largest immigrant groups and of the phenomenon of diasporic or “long-distance” nationalism more generally.
This event will be moderated by local writer and historian, Elizabeth Creely, who works with Irish American Crossroads Festival. Elizabeth produced a “Walking the Rebellion” tour for the 2016 festival, exploring Irish-Americans and the 1916 Easter Rising in the Mission.