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Ireland and the Colonies

Elizabeth Hamilton Portrait.jpg

The Library and Special Collections at Queen's University Belfast are proud to present this collection of unique artefacts curated by Dr Kath Stevenson in cooperation with Dr Daniel Roberts, Dr Matthew Reznicek and Dr Jonathan Wright. This very special exhibition is presented in conjunction with the conference: Ireland and the Colonies, 1775‐1947: Friendships, Alliances, Resistances.

As ‘England’s oldest colony’, and, from the 1800 Act of Union, a constituent of the United Kingdom, Ireland was uniquely regarded as both a subject nation, and as a significant partner in Britain’s imperial enterprise. While Ireland acquired global connections during the colonial period, its conflicted status enabled both oppositional and collaborative atitudes to emerge significantly in Irish culture. This interdisciplinary project will seek to examine the ways in which Irish colonial agents interacted with peoples of other colonies forming relationships that implicated personal considerations with larger issues of historical, political, and cultural significance.

Framed by two key events of world history, the American Revolutionary War, and Indian Independence, the project spans the gamut of British colonial history, seeking to draw out the significance of Irish involvement in the global politics of empire. Researchers will interrogate historical and cultural developments from the perspective of transnational and transcultural relationships: from personal and literary connections, to familial and institutional alliances, and the creation of new forms of political and social solidarity and resistance.

The project was inaugurated with a symposium between 3‐5 June 2014 at Queen’s University Belfast examining the contribution of Irish and international agents in major historical processes such as the war of American independence, the Irish rebellion, the abolition of slavery, the Indian ‘mutiny’, nationalist movements, the emergence of the Irish Free State and independence, partiton of territories. Ireland and the Colonies, 1775‐1947, will seek to interrogate current models of colonial and postcolonial scholarship within the disciplinary boundaries of the academy and the historiographical traditions dictated by modern nation states. The symposium aims to inaugurate a major new international research network to lead and disseminate future research in this field.

This digital exhibition features specific topics:

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