History (Scholarly Articles)

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  • Publication
    Aidland in South Asia: humanitarian crisis and the contours of the global aid industry in the long 1970s
    (Taylor and Francis Group, 2022-06-07) O'Sullivan, Kevin
    This article uses the experiences of expatriate aid workers in South Asia to examine the contours of the global aid industry in the long 1970s. It begins by outlining the impact of the crisis on the aid sector, before using case studies of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from three Anglophone states ¿ Britain, Canada (Québec excepted) and Ireland ¿ to examine the spaces of social experience, spaces of knowledge circulation and imagined spaces of belonging and solidarity in which ideas of aid-giving were made. The article is framed through a concept that ethnographers call `Aidland¿: the mix of volunteers, experts and aid professionals that make up the aid community. Taking this model as its starting point, the article makes three claims about the aid community that emerged in South Asia and what its story tells us about transnational activism in the long 1970s. The first is to see this as a moment of acceleration for the sector, in which its activities radically diversified while simultaneously carrying with them the baggage of what had come before. Second, and related, it argues that gwhile there were certain characteristics that were common to aid workers in every environment, we should be careful not to lose sight of the specific contextual factors and points of reference on which responses to humanitarian crises were based. Understanding that complexity, and its consequences, provides us with the basis for the final claim put forward here. By laying bare the processes through which `Aidland¿ was constructed in South Asia, we can test how that community imagined and reinforced a particular (paternalistic) role for itself in the Third World.
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    Civil war in El Salvador and the origins of rights-based humanitarianism
    (Cambridge University Press, 2020-06-03) O'Sullivan, Kevin
    This article traces the global humanitarian sector s late twentieth-century embrace of human rights to the brutal civil conflict in El Salvador in the 1980s. Drawing on evidence from NGOs in three Anglophone states (Britain, Canada, and Ireland), it examines the moral and political debates that accompanied the breakthrough for human rights activism in that period, and how they conditioned contemporaneous understandings of aid . From that foundation, the article makes two claims. First, it argues that the triumph of human rights in the late twentieth century was the product of a complex set of diplomatic, intellectual, and ideological factors that were of global, rather than simply of Western, origin. Second, by tracing what could and could not be done in the name of humanitarianism, the article brings us closer to understanding how even the most outwardly progressive vision of intervention was produced within a very specific hierarchical and paternalistic imagining of the Global South.
  • Publication
    A spiritual inheritance? Family spirit, virtue and vocation in the Vies of the Lamoignon dévots
    (Oxford University Press, 2020-08-26) Forrestal, Alison
    Members of the Parisian robe Lamoignon family were among the most prominent dévots of the French Catholic Reformation. This article explores the family’s religious engagement through six substantial biographies or vies written by close relatives between 1663 and 1688–90, which reflected on the devotional lives of Chrétien and Marie Lamoignon and three of their four children, Guillaume, Anne and Madeleine. It analyses how the authors adopted the popular strategy of life-writing to recall, reflect on and interpret the significance of their religious choices and experiences for themselves and for the family as a whole. Appraisal of their habits became building blocks for the construction of what the authors defined as a Lamoignon ‘family spirit’, which included a rhetoric of humility that was designed to withstand pride, deflect accusations of venality, validate the family’s advancement and inflect their history with a cohesive spiritual identity.
  • Publication
    “So that they may be able to live and die as good Christians”: The early history of the Nom de Jésus Hospital in Catholic Reformation Paris
    (DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, 2021-11-16) Forrestal, Alison
    The Hôpital de Nom de Jésus was an important establishment associated with Louise de Marillac, Vincent de Paul, and their communities. The Daughters of Charity were responsible for staffing this hospital beginning in1653, and it survived until the mid-eighteenth century. However, scholars have not had any records of it to study until now. Here, Alison Forrestal presents the Rule of Nom de Jésus, with an English translation, “offering a commentary on its historical context and its composition.” The Rule gives scholars insight into how the hospital developed and shows concern for the corporal and spiritual well-being of those it served. During this time in France, “hospital” was a broad term that referred to “any institution that provided either shelter or medical care, or both, to pilgrims, the indigent, the ill, or the elderly on a short- or long-term basis.” Sometimes such institutions forcibly confined the poor, but this was not the case with Nom de Jésus. Instead, it was a “residential home and workshop for Catholics who could not live independently because of age, infirmity, or extreme poverty.” Along with the Rule, Forrestal explores the foundation and early operation of this hospital and describes the demographics of its residents.
  • Publication
    Past practice into future policy: A model for historical reflection in the humanitarian sector
    (Manchester University Press, 2019-05-01) O’Sullivan, Kevin; Ní Chéilleachair, Réiseal
    This article describes the results of a pilot project on using historical reflection as a tool for policy-making in the humanitarian sector. It begins by establishing the rationale for integrating reflection into humanitarian practice. It then looks at the growing interest in humanitarian history among practitioners and academics over the past decade and sets out the arguments for why a more formalised discussion about humanitarianism s past could result in a better understanding of the contemporary aid environment. The main body of the article focuses on our efforts to translate that potential into practice, through a reflective workshop on Somalia since the 1990s, held at National University of Ireland, Galway, in June 2017. Drawing on our experience of that event, the article puts forward four principles on which a workable model of reflective practice might be developed: the importance of the workshop setting, how to organise the reflective process, the value of pursuing a single case study and the careful management of expectations and outcomes. This article is not intended to be prescriptive, however. Rather, our aim is to put forward some practical suggestions and to open a conversation about how a model of historical reflection for aid practitioners might be developed.
  • Publication
    Latecomers to reform? Catholic activism in the wake of the French wars of religion
    (Studies, The Irish Jesuit Quarterly, 2017-11) Forrestal, Alison
    100 years after Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five theses, France found itself on the cusp of an extraordinary period of Catholic ascendency. From the violence and bloodshed of four decades of civil war came an age of Bourbon rule and Catholic reform, during which numerous Catholic activists sought to shape religious devotion and discipline for a new age. Commonly referred to as dévots, these channelled their religious enthusiasm into a wide variety of causes, from the foundation of multiple new religious orders and monasteries to the organisation of missions and the patronage of charitable works.1 The reform movement reached levels of intensity and creativity that were unmatched in any other region, and ultimately made distinctive and lasting contributions to Catholic religious life well beyond France.
  • Publication
    Guest Editors’ Introduction
    (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016) Buckley, Sarah-Anne; Hay, Marnie; Nic Congáil, Ríona
    [No abstract available]
  • Publication
    Interrogating institutionalisation and child welfare: the Irish case, 1939–1991*
    (Taylor & Francis, 2018-02-20) Buckley, Sarah-Anne; McGregor, Caroline
    The topic of institutionalisation and child welfare in Ireland has garnered increasing national and international public and scholarly attention over the past twenty years. This is not an Irish phenomenon. Governments internationally have utilised commissions to investigate a range of historical abuses against children and young adults, many in an institutional setting (see Age of Inquiry, http://www.lib.latrobe.edu.au/research/ageofinquiry/). One of the most recent shocking historical revelations opens the paper the discovery of the burial of 796 children in a septic tank in a mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway (http://www.mbhcoi.ie/MBH.nsf/page/index-en). Following this, the historical approach a history of the present is explained. A number of questions about the past use of institutions in Ireland are posed to help illuminate the importance of this issue to the present day. We consider the nature of institutionalisation and the development of law and policy prior to and after the Second World War. Our questions lead us to a discussion of three themes: the role of economics; parentage and gender; and the relationship between the State and the Church. We conclude with a commentary on why such interrogation of institutional care is important in the present.
  • Publication
    ‘Growing Up Poor’: child welfare, motherhood and the State during the First World War
    (Taylor & Francis, 2016-11-23) Buckley, Sarah-Anne
    In the history of child welfare in Ireland and other western countries, the period during the First World War coincided with a time of international attention on poor and working-class families and children. As this occurred at a time of ‘revolution’ as well as a time of war, the efforts of voluntary and state services were often driven by a variety of motives, including genuine concern for poor mothers and children, sectarianism, class bias and international child welfare developments. This article addresses the extent to which the lives of working-class and poor mothers in Ireland were affected by the war—primarily through concern expressed by child protection agencies (such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), directly connecting the history of child welfare with the history of motherhood.
  • Publication
    Irish sources for Spenser's View
    (The University of Chicago Press Journals, 2018-01-31) Canny, Nicholas
    The first section of the View is widely understood to be influenced by the twelfth-century texts of Gerald of Wales, as transmitted by Richard Stanyhurst in his Plain and Perfect Description of Ireland included in Holinshed (1577). These works describe the Norman intervention in Ireland as a civilizing process. Such an identification of sources is problematic, however, because the ultimate purpose of the View was to discredit Stanyhurst’s argument that Irish-born descendants of the Norman conquerors of Ireland (the so-called “Old English”) should complete that task. This case of problematic sourcing is resolved given that Stanyhurst’s original text reappeared in the 1587 edition of Holinshed’s Chronicle accompanied by some translations from the writings of Gerald of Wales made by John Hooker (an English Protestant antiquarian), and also by Hooker’s own History of Ireland 1546–86, wherein Hooker attributes the disturbed condition of the country to the recalcitrance of Old English lords. This, for Hooker, and also for Spenser, proved that the Irish population of English descent was in greater need of reform than their Gaelic neighbors. Given that this was the novel argument of the View, and given close echoes between Hooker’s description of famine in Munster and similar passages in the View, Hooker’s contribution to the 1587 edition of Holinshed’s Chronicle is arguably the most potent influence on Spenser’s work.
  • Publication
    A crisis of lordship: Robert Ogle, Fifth Lord Ogle, and the rule of early Tudor Northumberland
    (Taylor & Francis, 2018-03-23) Ellis, Steven G.
    Henry Tudor’s diffusion of power in the English far north, and his savage pruning of resources for his wardens there to maintain good rule and defence, were perhaps necessary steps initially to prevent further challenges from overmighty subjects. Twenty years later, this was no longer an issue; and once peace with Scotland collapsed, the absence of the region’s traditional ruling magnates was keenly felt. Under Henry VIII, an obscure border baron, Lord Ogle of Bothal, was often Northumberland’s only resident lord, precipitating a crisis of lordship described as ‘the decay of the borders’. Unable to recruit as warden a reliable magnate on acceptable terms, Henry VIII then decided that, as a matter of principle, he would ‘not be bound, of a necessity, to be served there with lords’. The King appointed himself as warden-general, delegating the real work to gentlemen deputy wardens whose manraed was enhanced by feeing other leading local landowners, including Lord Ogle. Ogle’s kin and connection thus supplied successive wardens with an adequate following in peacetime; but in the ensuing war Ogle was overwhelmed with his warden on Ancrum Moor, becoming the only nobleman in England under Henry VIII to die in battle.
  • Publication
    Institutionalised for poverty: women's rights and child welfare in the Ireland, 1922-1996
    (Jacobin, 2016-05-27) Buckley, Sarah-Anne
    While referring to all citizens of the Republic, the oft-cited reference to the 1916 Proclamation and cherishing all the children of the nation equally holds much relevance when discussing the institutionalisation of women and children in poverty and precariousness in Ireland. Yet I would argue more important was the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil in 1919, which stated: It shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland . This article will discuss the context in which women and children in poverty were placed in industrial schools, reformatories, mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and psychiatric facilities. It will demonstrate how gendered and class-based legislation was used to facilitate incarceration, and distract from the realities of poverty and destitution. This involved compliance from not only the Catholic Church and the State, but a myriad of other agencies and sections of society.
  • Publication
    Letters of Kuno Meyer to Douglas Hyde, 1896–1919
    (Liverpool University Press, 2016-11) Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí
    No single individual did more to make Irish respectable in the decades before and after 1900 than the great German scholar Kuno Meyer. But while Meyer s tireless activities as an editor and translator of Irish texts and as a populariser of ancient Irish literature has long been documented, less is known about his activities behind the scenes . A newly discovered cache of letters and postcards that Meyer sent to Douglas Hyde during the years 1898 1919 now reveals the full extent of that background activity and the extraordinary level of encouragement and support that he gave to the movement to establish a native school of Irish scholars, culminating in the establishment (in 1903) of the School of Irish Learning in Dublin.
  • Publication
    Humanitarian encounters: Biafra, NGOs and imaginings of the Third World in Britain and Ireland, 1967-70
    (Taylor & Francis, 2014-08-21) O'Sullivan, Kevin; |~|
    This article examines the influence of the Biafran humanitarian crisis on British and Irish conceptions of the Third World. Drawing on evidence from NGOs in both countries, it argues that the explosion of non-governmental activity in this period, combined with the unprecedented attention afforded to the relief effort, crystallized a popular vision of the Third World that was rooted in Western internationalism and the legacies of the imperial world. The model of humanitarian action pursued by Oxfam, Save the Children, Africa Concern, and others, transformed non-governmental actors into key mediators between the West and the Third World. Yet, this article argues, the image they presented, and the tactics they pursued, can only be understood as part of a broader adjustment to a decolonized world. From very different beginnings (British postcolonial responsibilities versus a strong anticolonial narrative in Ireland) considerable similarities emerged between British and Irish NGOs. The response to Biafra was an extension of the missionary and colonial service ethos, and generated a model of relief that privileged humanitarian action over local political and human agency. That paternalistic approach further reinforced traditional attitudes to the Third World through renewed emphases on donation, dependency, expatriate volunteers, and Western concepts of needs and development . This article concludes, therefore, by arguing that Biafra played a vital role in the shift from imperial humanitarianism to neo-humanitarianism and the rise of liberal humanitarian governance. The vision of an inclusive common humanity the NGOs espoused was in practice rooted in a very Western understanding of humanitarian responsibilities and a very Western image of the Third World.
  • Publication
    'Ah, Ireland, the caring nation': foreign aid and Irish state identity in the long 1970s
    (Cambridge University Press, 2013-05) O'Sullivan, Kevin; |~|
    On a plane leaving Baidoa refugee camp in Somalia in late 1992, an Arab doctor offered John O'Shea, head of the relief agency Goal, a glimpse of how the Irish were viewed in that civil war-ravaged state. ‘Ah, Ireland’, he remarked on learning of O'Shea's country of origin, ‘the caring nation’. He had reason to be complimentary. In addition to the aid agencies and aid workers involved in the ongoing relief effort, Somalia had recently hosted two highprofile visitors from the Irish state. In August 1992 the minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, spent three days in the country to view at first-hand its escalating civil war. He was followed less than two months later by President Mary Robinson, whose arrival at Baidoa on 2 October marked the beginning of a tour – the first by a Western head of state – of the feeding stations and refugee camps that provided succour to those displaced by the conflict.
  • Publication
    Between internationalism and empire: Ireland, the 'Like-Minded' group, and the search for a new international order, 1974-82
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015-07-31) O'Sullivan, Kevin; |~|
    This article examines the response of a group of small and medium-sized states to the Global South's demands for a new international economic order in the 1970s and early 1980s. Reading that experience through the eyes of the group's smallest state, Ireland, it describes the rise of a loosely organised collective whose support for economic justice was based on three pillars: social democracy; Christian justice; and a broadly held (if variously defined) anti-colonialism. Internationalism, and in particular support for the institutions of the United Nations, became another distinguishing feature of like-minded action, and was an attempt by those states to carve out a space for independent action in the cold war. Detente and the decline of US hegemony helped in that respect, by encouraging a more globalist reading of the world order. Once the United States resumed its interventionist policies in the late 1970s, the room for like-minded initiatives declined. Yet the actions of the like-minded states should not be understood solely in terms of the changing dynamics of the cold war. This article concludes by arguing for the prominence of empire, decolonisation, and the enduring North-South binary in shaping international relations in a post-colonial world.
  • Publication
    The search for justice: NGOs in Britain and Ireland and the New International Economic Order, 1968-82
    (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) O'Sullivan, Kevin; |~|
    The rapid expansion of the international humanitarian NGO community in the long 1970s brought with it much soul-searching on how NGOs could move beyond charity and towards genuine solidarity with the Third World. Drawing on evidence from non-governmental organizations in Britain and Ireland, this article examines the role played by the NIEO and the pursuit of global economic and political reform in shaping those debates. It argues for the enduring importance of the liberal economic paradigm in shaping Western attitudes to justice, but concludes that we should pay more attention to the role of the Third World and the Christian churches in shaping the worldview of humanitarian NGOs.
  • Publication
    Making Bishops in Tridentine France: The Episcopal Ideal of Jean-Pierre Camus
    (Cambridge University Press, 2003-05-13) Forrestal, Alison; |~|
    The experience of Jean-Pierre Camus, a reforming bishop in seventeenth-century France, highlights the problematic ambivalences present within French Catholic reform after the Council of Trent: the persistent tensions between bishops, the papacy and lower clergy over the most effective means of achieving renewal and the most appropriate forms of ecclesiastical government, as well as the growing emphasis upon episcopal perfection within an episcopate that was, paradoxically, closely linked to politics and secular society. His publications on episcopacy provide an insight into the motivations and beliefs of a prominent episcopal reformer and into the ecclesiastical culture of seventeenth-century France. This article seeks to demonstrate that Camus' episcopal ideal was a coherent adaptation of traditional and contemporary views produced in response to post-Trent circumstances and that the bishop's published views had a significant impact upon his fellow prelates and their relationship with the papacy.
  • Publication
    Revisiting sacred propaganda: the Holy Bishop in the seventeenth-century Jansenist quarrel
    (Taylor & Francis, 2004) Forrestal, Alison; |~|
    In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, prelates such as Borromeo of Milan and de Sales of Geneva, began to reinvigorate this hierarchical office, offering models of episcopal government, discipline and pastorate for other prelates to adopt throughout the Catholic ‘Reformation’ church. This article examines a central aspect of this formation: the ways in which the episcopal office could become a weapon in profound theological conflicts over grace, salvation, morality and ecclesiology. In mid-seventeenth-century France, the militant protagonists in the internationally notorious Jansenist conflict used controversial models and theories of episcopacy to defend their own views of morality and doctrine and to condemn their opponents as disobedient traitors of saintly and revered ‘bishops’, including ancients such as Augustine and the Apostles, and near contemporaries such as the famous Borromeo and de Sales. Their adaptation and manipulation of episcopacy highlights the profound dangers that the Catholic church encountered when its members sought to resurrect and energize the office of bishop within the powerful religious and political movement for Catholic reform.