A Project of Boston College Magazine

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Format: Lecture
Length: 53


Date: April 27, 2003

Location: Thompson Room, Burns Library

Sponsor(s): ;

URL: http://frontrow.bc.edu/program/kelleher/

The information on this page is accurate as of April 2003

Program Notes

By Michelle Baildon
Scholarly Communications Reference Librarian
O'Neill Library, Boston College

Websites Online Texts Books

table of contents


The Great Irish Famine Curriculum


A resource for a Nebraska Department of Education curriculum, this page includes background information about key concepts and figures in Irish and British history, as well as overviews and classroom activities about penal laws, racism, mass eviction, famine mortality rates, emigration, genocide, and famine poetry.

The Irish Famine


The BBC Radio 4 program The Long View compares issues from current events with historical trends and occurrences. This page accompanies the April 2, 2002 episode, which paralleled famine today with the Irish famine of the 1840s. The page includes streaming audio of the radio program and a few related links.

The Jeanie Johnston: Incredible History


The web site of the Jeanie Johnston Project (a recreation of a 19th-century Irish emigrant ship) includes brief articles about the ship, the potato famine, and emigration from Ireland in the famine's wake.

Research Resources for the Study of 19th-Century Ireland


Dozens of links to resources in 19th-century Irish studies, including material on the Great Famine and on the Irish diaspora, are offered on this page, maintained by Dr. Leon Litvack of the School of English of Queen's University of Belfast.

Monuments and Memorials

Irish Famine Memorials


Photographs of famine memorials in Ireland, Britain, the U.S., and Canada, as well as links to the web sites of several other memorials, are featured on this page by Dr. Peter Gray of the Department of History at the University of Southampton.

Boston Irish Famine Memorial


Images, description, and a history of the memorial in Downtown Crossing, near the Freedom Trail, are provided on this site.

Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial


This page, part of a site from the Boston Irish Tourism Association about the Irish Heritage Trail, includes photographs and a short description of the memorial, dedicated in 1997.

Irish Famine Commemoration Fund


The web site of the Dublin Custom House Quay memorial includes photos of the memorial sculpture by Rowan Gillespie, excerpts from Brendan Graham's novel about the famine, The Whitest Flower—and solicitations for donations for the commemoration fund.

The Irish Hunger Memorial: A Reminder to Millions


Information about the memorial's mission, artist and design team, design concept, and construction are offered on the web site of the Battery Park City memorial in New York.

World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition


The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation opened a worldwide competition in April 2003 for a memorial to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. The designs of the eight finalists in the competition, put on exhibition at the World Financial Center on November 19, 2003, are available on this web site.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Several pages of description and explanation of the Washington, D.C. memorial are offered on this National Park Service web site. The site also includes maps and brochures and basic visitor information.

Art:21: Maya Lin


From the companion site to a PBS series devoted to 21st-century art, this page offers biographical information about Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as a photograph and short description of the memorial.

Famine Throughout History

An End to World Hunger: Hope for the Future


This site, produced by students for the ThinkQuest topical web site competition (open to students aged 9 to 19), aims "to educate people, especially the youth of the world" about chronic, persistent hunger worldwide. The site includes case studies of past famines, including the Irish potato famine, and "discusses the present problem of hunger in our world, as well as outlining some of the many ways that hunger can be solved if we all work together, especially through the use of diplomacy and finding a way to achieve world peace."

Famine in Africa


From a set of BBC News guides to important news stories and issues, this site offers bulletins, "background information, and expert analysis" about hunger in several African regions and countries.

The Famine the World Forgot


This February 2001 Time.com photo essay depicts famine in Afghanistan. Twelve photographs are accompanied by an article, map, and resource center with links to related sites and to Time articles.

Famine in Sudan, 1998


The advocacy group Human Rights Watch presents this detailed report, including facts about the famine and recommendations for relief.

Special Report: Famine


The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper presents this in-depth guide, including worldwide news bulletins, pieces of comment and analysis, audio reports, and links to relevant Guardian articles.

Ukrainian Famine


This brief overview of the tragedy comes from the "Revelations from the Russian Archives" exhibition web site, produced by the Library of Congress

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Views of the Famine


Articles and illustrations from The Illustrated London News, The Cork Examiner, The Pictorial Times, and Punch about the Great Famine, as well as the 1847 pamphlet "Narrative of a Journey from Oxford to Skibbereen During the Year of the Irish Famine," are offered on this web site. The site was developed by Steve Taylor, director of Academic Consulting Services at Vassar College.

The Ocean Plague: The Diary of a Cabin Passenger, 1847


Read an excerpt of this account of an immigrant's journey from Ireland to Canada, published in 1848 under the name Robert Whyte. It's not clear if Whyte was a pseudonym and whether or not the account was taken from the author's experiences; nonetheless, the diary conveys the kinds of hardships experienced by some who fled the famine.

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The Irish Famine


Focusing on the role of political elites' ideology in occasioning the famine, Jim Donnelly surveys the causes of the famine, its effects, responses to the devastation, and interpretations of the tragedy. The article, part of the BBCi History web site, is accompanied by links to several related resources from the BBCi site and elsewhere.

The Irish Potato Famine


Part of the Digital History website, this page gives a short overview of the Irish potato famine of the 1840s and its effect on immigration to North America and Britain. Digital History is a joint venture of the University of Houston; the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the National Park Service; and the Project for the Active Teaching of American History.

The Great Famine


An excerpt from Martin Wallace's A Little History of Ireland offers a concise overview of the crisis.

Teaching the Famine


Prompted by commemorations inspired by the famine's 150th anniversary, Patrick O'Sullivan, head of the Irish Diaspora Research Unit at the University of Bradford, enumerates a series of problems in teaching the Great Famine.

Rebuilding Lower Manhattan: The Memorial at Ground Zero


Dozens of New York Times articles about the World Trade Center memorial competition are gathered on this page, which also offers an audio slide show of the finalists and links to animated designs.

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Books and Authors from the Presentation

The Feminization of Famine: Expressions of the Inexpressible

Examining literature from the last 150 years about the Irish famine, twentieth-century accounts of the 1940s famine in Bengal, and historical sources, Margaret Kelleher analyzes gendered representations of famine.

How Societies Remember

Paul Connerton's study of social memory breaks new ground by focusing on incorporated practices (e.g., habit and ritual) rather than written practices.

Ireland After History

David Lloyd presents six essays reflecting on Irish postcolonial theory, critiquing "current historicism" and its notions of "progress or development and of civility," and offering alternative methods and conceptualizations.

Irish Hunger: Personal Reflections on the Legacy of the Famine

Activist and California state senator Tom Hayden collected and edited this collection of reflections on the famine and its legacy in Ireland and the United States. Contributors include twenty-nine Irish and Irish American writers, actors, historians, activists, and others.

The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland

In twelve essays of biting (and entertaining) critique, R. F. Foster deplores what he considers a romanticized, simplified "popularization of history" that emphasizes Irish victimhood and trauma. Such selective and sentimental interpretations, Foster believes, amount to "psychobabble" and are concerned with marketing an industry of nostalgic tourism.

Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History

It is widely accepted by scholars that the cultural break of modernism emerged in part as a response to the horrors of the First World War. Jay Winter disagrees in his study of commemoration of the war, positing that Europe's reaction to the Great War—not so untraditional after all—relied on "reconfigured conventions."


Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity

In this collection of papers presented at the 1990 conference "Public Memory and National Identity," historians, anthropologists, and ethnographers analyze the construction and negotiation of memorials' meanings in various cultural and historical contexts. John R. Gillis edited the collection and provides the introduction.

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

In the fifty years after the Civil War, a cultural contest was waged over the war's memory, as David W. Blight illustrates in this meticulously researched and lucidly argued account. The question of race and the principle of emancipation receded from view as whites from the North and South sought reconciliation, achieved through instruments of memory such as statues of Robert E. Lee and Robert Gould Shaw, the creation of the Memorial Day holiday, soldiers' reunions and memoirs, and popular literature.


The Great Irish Potato Famine

James S. Donnelly, Jr.'s clear, complete, well-illustrated synthesis of the famine probes questions of British responsibility for the famine, as well as the catastrophe's preventability.

The Irish Famine

Amply illustrated and chock full of period documents, this small volume by Peter Gray makes an excellent introduction to the causes of the famine and its consequences, including large-scale Irish emigration to the United States.

The Great Irish Famine: Impact, Ideology, and Rebellion

Christine Kinealy's comprehensive account discusses the government's response to the famine; the role of philanthropy in relief; food production, export, and distribution; the role of religion and churches; and the political responses of the Irish people. Of particular interest is a chapter devoted to famine commemoration.

Ireland's Great Hunger: Silence, Memory, and Commemoration

Drawn from papers presented at the September 2000 Great Hunger Conference held at Connecticut's Quinnipiac University, this collection of essays by scholars in history, psychology, and other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences address historical, personal, and family memory of the Irish Famine. David A. Valone and Christine Kinealy edited the collection.

Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation

In this landmark work, Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen (survivor of the Bengal famine) demonstrates the primacy of controllable social, economic, and political factors over environmental or other natural factors in precipitating famine. Widespread hunger is rarely accounted for by sheer lack of sustenance. Famine-stricken countries often have sufficient food (or money for imports) to provide for their populations, but unemployment, rising prices, or other economic circumstances lead to impoverishment and want.

The Irish Famine and Diaspora

The End of Hidden Ireland: Rebellion, Famine, and Emigration

With painstaking research and in engaging style, Robert James Scally details the lives of residents of the townland of Ballykilcline before the famine and in the face of its devastation, including the community's rent strike, its clashes with its landlord and with the Crown, and the eviction and assisted emigration of 500 residents to New York. Scally's deft recovery of the perspectives of ordinary people is a striking achievement.

The Great Famine and the Irish Diaspora in America

Twelve essays commemorating the famine's 150th anniversary explore consequences of the famine in Ireland, changing perceptions of the famine, and public memory of the famine and its role in the construction of Irish American identity. Arthur Gribben edited the eclectic collection.