The Black Hand of Republicanism: the Fenians and History

A Conference marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the IRB
Belfast, June 20-21 2008

The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret, oath-bound organisation which plotted political revolution in Ireland between the 1850s and the War of Independence, 1919-21. Far from being an exclusively Irish entity, Fenianism represented an international phenomenon with a well-organised presence throughout Britain, North America, and the Pacific. As well as orchestrating military operations in several states, Fenians constructed political machines in urban America, participated in political struggles in Ireland, and infiltrated the island’s literary and sporting cultures. This joint University of Ulster and Queen’s University of Belfast conference – marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the IRB – seeks to bring scholars working on Fenianism together to consider the history of the organisation. Papers looking at the IRB in a diasporic, transnational, or imperial context are particularly welcome. Other key themes include memory and commemoration, British counter-intelligence and counter-insurgency, and popular culture, religion, and identity.

Enquiries or abstracts (of 250 words by February 1 2008) should be sent to Fearghal McGarry (QUB) and James McConnel (UU) at:

Dr James McConnel
Lecturer in History
School of History and International Affairs
University of Ulster, Magee
BT48 7JL
028 713 75278

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