DATE: 21 January 2016
VENUE: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Six high profile public lectures are to be held in Newman House in 2015/2016 to underline the global repercussions of, and responses to, the Easter Rising of 1916.
1916 is often seen primarily in a national context, but it was an event that drew global attention and inspired other decolonisation movements. Guest speakers will include some of the international leading authorities on the period. There will be one public lecture every two months, starting in 2015. The lectures will be co-organized and co-sponsored by the Royal Irish Academy.
1916 Lecture series
Prof Jay Winter (Yale University) Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 – 21 January 2016- 4:30
“1916 and the Great War”
To see what a global war meant in 1916, all we need to do is to open the scrapbooks and family albums of the time. This lecture highlights the way the arrival of the Kodak pocket camera transformed the visual history we have of the conflict, by making the censorship of soldiers’ photography a hopeless task. These snapshots show many facets of the war hidden by officials and rarely sold by photojournalists. Consequently, we have vast collections of photographs unconstrained by political or market constraints.
PAST EVENTS IN THE SERIES
Fintan O’Toole (The Irish Times) Newman House, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 – Thursday 8 October – 4:30
“Carnival and Ruin: Looting and Destruction in Easter 1916”
The Easter Rising is more than a military and political event. Viewed from the perspective of the city of Dublin, and especially of working-class inner city Dublin, it contained two specific experiences that are also part of the wider history of European cities in the 20th century. One is widespread looting, an activity that took on carnivalesque and surreal dimensions. Dublin in Easter Week is, among many other things, a theatre of free consumption in which the poor get their hands on goods meant exclusively for the rich. The other is ruination: Dublin, albeit on a relatively small scale, becomes one with the shelled and bombed cities of Europe. In the anarchic joy of theft and the savage desolation that followed, there is a story very different to the Easter parable of resurrection — a parable of sin and punishment.
Prof Mark Finnane (Griffith University, Australia) Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 – 28 October 2015 – 4:30
“Fading echo of a distant drum? The Easter Rising in Australian history and memory”
When he arrived in Sydney in May 1948 the first place visited by Eamon De Valera was the Michael Dwyer Memorial at Waverley Cemetery, erected half a century before to remember 1798. The visit of the Irish President was the occasion for adding to the memorial’s Celtic revival edifice the names of the executed men of 1916, leading de Valera to observe that the memorial ‘surpassed anything erected in Dublin itself to the men of Easter Week’. As in Ireland, however the immediate response in Australia to the news of rebellion in Ireland at Easter 1916 was a mixture of dismay and disavowal. The politics of war, and the presence of Daniel Mannix, helped change Australian responses, softening some into sympathy, hardening others into angry condemnation. In these antipodean circumstances miniscule Irish republican support was amplified into a national security threat, with surveillance, internment and post-war sedition law its consequence. Long after sectarian divisions faded, that was an enduring legacy, whose origins deserve our attention.
Prof Partha Chatterjee (Columbia) Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 – 5 November 2015- 4:30
“The Easter Rising and the Indian nationalist movement”
Like the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, there were several anti-British armed insurgencies planned in India during the First World War that relied on large shipments of German arms smuggled into the country. The arms never arrived. But the inspiration of the Easter Rising in Dublin had a long life among nationalist revolutionaries in India. On Good Friday of 1930, a group of young men in Chittagong, a port town of the easternmost district of Bengal, going by the name of the Indian Republican Army, attacked the armouries and police station and held the town for several hours before being put down. Like the Easter Rising, the Chittagong Armoury Raid proved to be an event that, even in its failure, successfully invigorated a dormant and dispirited political movement.
Prof Keith Jeffery (QUB) Newman House, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 – 19 November 2015- 4:30 ***CANCELLED***
“1916 and the Decade of European Revolutions”
Dublin was not the only place where an uprising occurred in 1916, nor nationalist Ireland the only community whose loyalties were strained to breaking-point during the First World War. This lecture will explore the phenomenon of rebellion in Asia, Europe and Africa, and the varying ways in which national loyalties in many places collided—sometimes very violently—with state obligations. With this investigation we will seek to assess the extent to which Ireland’s experience was unique, as well as the ways in which it was not.
Prof Bill Nasson (Stellenbosch) Newman House, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 – 26 November 2015- 4:30
“1916 and African decolonization movements”
It is not uncommon for historians of Ireland to point to the symbolic importance of South Africa’s Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 for Irish history. That, though, was not only merely a part but also only the beginning of two simmering decades for both territories in which republican nationalism went to Protestant heads in one place and to Catholic heads in the other. In the years between the end of the 1890s and the Great War peace of 1919, groups of growling anti-British imperialists in the Union of South Africa, including members of its immigrant Irish diaspora, journeyed in political hope, fuelled by recent local memories of a Boer republican struggle lost in 1902. The outbreak of a divisive imperial war in 1914 suddenly added more steam, raising the spectre of republican revolt. That was ignited first by a disaffected section of South Africa’s Afrikaners, who saddled up to unleash the Union’s Afrikaner Rebellion of 1914-15. While it was muzzled, it left a keen-eyed international legacy. Not surprisingly, that gaze came to fix on Ireland in 1916, as its Easter Rising came to stand in for what had recently been attempted in South Africa. For a moment, rebel Ireland became a might-be for a rebel South Africa might-have-been. But it was also a complex story for its own nationalists, for while some embraced it, others wrinkled their noses.
This project has been jointly funded by the Royal Irish Academy and University College Dublin Decade of Centenaries Award