MISS Online: Women and the shaping of Irish identities

Tuesday 18th May, 2021 at 6:30pm (AEST) on Zoom
Dr Sophie Cooper, University of Leicester.
Women and the shaping of Irish identities in Melbourne, 1857-1920

In 1857, the Irish Sisters of Mercy arrived in Melbourne from Perth becoming the city’s first religious order. These women were figures of authority and played an important role in establishing the city’s Catholic and Irish institutions. They joined Irish teachers in the growing city’s schools and parents who organised and funded the parish networks. Traditional migrant histories have emphasised the role of male ‘culture brokers’ in the shaping of migrant communities to the exclusion of influential women. This paper will argue that the priest, the politician, and the publican need to be joined by the teacher and the nun when assessing the influences on multigenerational Irish and Irish Catholic identity in Melbourne. It places women and children alongside men to investigate ideas of ‘social mirroring’ and the creation of a foundational identity in children which could then be built upon by male culture brokers in adulthood. It takes the Irish Melbourne community out of St Patrick’s Hall and into the everyday world of the family, school, and parish.

Sophie completed a M.Phil in Modern Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, and PhD at the University of Edinburgh as a William McFarlane Fellow working closely with the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies. Her PhD looked at Irish communities in Melbourne and Chicago during the nineteenth century. Since graduating she has lectured at Northumbria University, University of Edinburgh, University of Newcastle, and Strathclyde University, and most recently was the Research Fellow on the Scottish Irish Migration Initiative based between the University of Edinburgh and University College Dublin. Last year she was appointed Teaching Fellow in Irish History at the University of Leicester.

The seminar will start at 6:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne); 8.30pm New Zealand Standard Time (Wellington); 9:30am Irish Standard Time (Dublin). The seminar will also be recorded.

For zoom details RSVP: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com.
For queries contact: melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com or dianne.hall [at] vu.edu.au


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