I am a history PhD student at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. My research examines how Irish-Catholics in the United States, between 1815 and 1880, constructed a diasporic, ethnic immigrant identity, and shaped a collective understanding of Irish history, through their interest in European nationalism, anti-Catholicism, and global imperialism.
I focus on how the Irish-Catholic newspaper industry responded to global events such as Spanish-American Independence, the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rise of nationalist movements in Europe, and the German Kulturkampf. These events shaped how American Irish-Catholics understood what it meant to be an Irish-Catholic in the United States. The Irish-Catholic press compared the subjected communities of other European empire with the Irish under the British empire, to construct the argument that Irish-Catholics were the most persecuted community in living memory, and that the British empire’s conduct in Ireland was the worst example of exploitation in history. Parallels and differences that could be invoked allowed Irish-Catholics to argue that their own suffering surpassed all other recorded examples, and that they as a community were most deserving of American citizenship, humanitarian support, and respect.
The Irish-American press encouraged its readers to see the Irish struggle as the principal event of the 19th Century, through comparison with other global moments, and understand Irish history as a narrative of incomparable persecution. This was reinforced by regular comparison with other persecuted peoples worldwide.
I received my BA and MA from Cambridge University, and won the Gladstone Memorial Prize, and Junior Sara Norton Prize, in 2019.