1916 as a Global Event

Lecture Series

High profile public lectures on 1916 as an event of global importance. From October 2015 – January 2016.

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.



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 (QUBNewman 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


Prof Robert Gerwarth

Professor of Modern History at UCD and Director of the Centre for War Studies


After studying history and political science in Berlin, Robert completed his DPhil and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oxford University. He has also held research fellowships or visiting professorships at Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Sciences Po Paris. In 2013-14 he was a Humboldt Senior Research Fellow at the Herder Institute and a Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute.

For his work on political violence in the twentieth century, he has received major research grants from the European Research Council (ERC), the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Irish Research Council (IRC). He is an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Young Academy of Europe, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of The Bismarck Myth (Oxford UP, 2005), a biography of Reinhard Heydrich (Yale UP, 2011) and several articles in leading international journals such as Past & Present, The Journal of Modern History, Geschichte & Gesellschaft, and Vingtième Siècle. He has also published ten edited collections, including, most recently, War in Peace: Paramilitary Violence in Europe after the Great War (Oxford UP 2012, with John Horne) and Empires at War, 1911-23 (Oxford UP, 2014, with Erez Manela). His work has been published in more than twenty languages.

Professor Gerwarth is also the general editor of a new OUP book series, The Greater War, due to be published during the centenary of the First World War.

Prof Mary Daly

President of the Royal Irish Academy and UCD Emeritus Professor of History


Professor Daly is one of Ireland’s most prominent senior historians and is a member of the government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. She is emeritus professor of history at UCD and served for seven years as Principal of UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies; she has also held visiting positions at Harvard and Boston College. She has served on the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. From 2000 to 2004 she was Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy and vice-chair of the Academy’s Working Group on Higher Education. Professor Daly was involved in the commemoration of the sesquicentenary of the great famine 1995-97, and with Dr Margaret O’Callaghan she directed a research project on the Golden Jubilee of the 1916 Rising, resulting in the publication of a major edited work: 1916 in 1966: commemorating the Easter Rising (2007). Over the course of her distinguished career, Professor Daly has researched widely and published prolifically, notably: Dublin, the Deposed Capital: A Social and Economic History, 1860-1914 (1984); Women and Work in Ireland (1997); The Slow Failure: Population Decline and Independent Ireland, 1920-1973 (2006); and, with Theo Hoppen, Gladstone: Ireland and Beyond (2011).

Fintan O’Toole

Columnist, literary editor, and drama critic for The Irish Times


Fintan O’Toole is a columnist, literary editor, and drama critic for The Irish Times. He has written for the paper since 1988. O’Toole was drama critic for the New York Daily News from 1997 to 2001 and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is an author, literary critic, historical writer, and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. His recent books have focused on the rise, fall and aftermath of Ireland’s ‘Celtic Tiger’. He has been a strong critic of political corruption in Ireland throughout his career. In 2012 and 2013, O’Toole was a Visiting Lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University and contributed to the Fund for Irish Studies Series.

Prof Mark Finnane

ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of History, Griffith University, Australia


Mark Finnane studied Irish History with Patrick O’Farrell (UNSW) and as a graduate student with Oliver MacDonagh (ANU). His doctoral research on mental illness is the foundation for his later work on the history of policing, punishment and criminal justice. His first book was Insanity and the Insane in Post-Famine Ireland (1981) and his most recent (with Heather Douglas) Indigenous Crime and Settler Law: White Sovereignty after Empire (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), a study of the criminal law’s response to Aboriginal crimes of violence over the last two centuries. Since 2013 he has directed the Prosecution Project, Griffith Criminology Institute, with the support of an ARC Laureate Fellowship (2013-18) to research the history of the criminal trial in Australia.

Prof Partha Chatterjee

Columbia University and the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.


Partha Chatterjee is one of India’s most eminent political theorists and historians. He studied at Presidency College in Calcutta, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He divides his time between Columbia University and the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, where he was the Director from 1997 to 2007. He is the author of more than twenty books, monographs and edited volumes and is a founding member of the Subaltern Studies Collective. He as awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize for 2009 for outstanding achievements in the field of Asian studies. His books include: The Politics of the Governed: Considerations on Political Society in Most of the World (2004); A Princely Impostor? The Strange and Universal History of the Kumar of Bhawal (2002) and A Possible India: Essays in Political Criticism (1997).

Prof Keith Jeffery

Professor of British History, Queens University Belfast


Keith Jeffery was educated in Ireland, the USA and Cambridge (St John’s College), where he won the Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal. He is Professor of Modern History at Queen’s University Belfast. From 1988 to 1997 he was joint-editor of Irish Historical Studies, and is currently chair of the journal’s board of directors. In 1997–98 he was a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and the Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales. His research interests encompass a wide range of topics in Irish, British, and British imperial history. A particular emphasis has been on Ireland and the First World War, which was the subject of his Lees Knowles Lectures.

Prof Bill Nasson

Professor of History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Bill Nasson is Professor of History at Stellenbosch University. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He worked at UCT from 1982 until 2009 and before joining Stellenbosch was the King George V Professor of History at UCT. In 2011 he was the Leverhulme Visiting Professor in History at the University of Kent. He is a former editor of the Journal of African History and co-editor of The Cambridge History of South Africa, Vol.2 (2011). He serves on the editorial board of the International Encyclopaedia of the First World War. In 2011 he won the Recht Malan Prize for Best Non-Fiction for The War in South Africa: The Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.

Prof Jay Winter

Charles J. Stille Professor of History, Yale Universtiy


Jay Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History, is one of the world’s leading authorities on World War I and its impact on the 20th century. His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915. Winter is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including Rene Cassin et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Fayard), co-authored with Antoine Prost, won the prize for best book of the year at the Blois History festival in 2011; Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18, The Great War and the British People, The Fear of Population Decline, The Experience of World War I and Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History.