CFP: Irish Civil War National Conference

University College Cork, 15-18 June 2022

‘The age of revolutions was also to be an age of civil wars’ 

Armitage, David. Civil Wars: A History in Ideas. New York, Knopf, 2017

On 15-18 June 2022, University College Cork will host the Irish Civil War National Conference, to mark the centenary of the opening of hostilities at the Four Courts in Dublin. Working with the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, this conference will align with the core principles of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations by encouraging, ‘multiple and plural’ perspectives on complex and contested events. The four-day conference will seek to explore political, social, cultural, military, and economic dimensions to the Irish Civil war. It will also locate the Irish experience within the broader context of similar national, imperial and European political realignments following the end of the Great War. Wider historiographical and theoretical perspectives on the phenomenon of civil war, as experienced both before and since 1922-23, will also be invited to place the Irish Civil War within broader chronological and geographical frameworks. The conference will seek, neither a single agreed narrative, nor indeed a sense of ‘closure’. Instead it will attempt to gather the fruits of on-going historical research in what the Expert Advisory Group describes as, ‘meaningful engagements with a difficult and traumatic time’.

Call for Papers
  • Short papers of 20 minutes’ duration are invited on topics related to the Irish Civil War and its broader contexts, including (but not limited to) the following:
  • Theoretical and comparative perspectives on civil war: Civil wars of the early twentieth century in comparative perspective; the collapse of empires, the winning of independence and the risk of civil war; the concept of a ‘European civil war’ and its contested intellectual genealogy.
  • High politics and diplomacy of the Civil War: The Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Dáil and the Civil War; the foundation of the Irish Free State; party politics in the period; the British state and the Civil War; Northern Ireland and partition; the Civil War overseas – expatriate communities, foreign policy and foreign governments; law and repression during and after the conflict.
  • The military history of the Civil War: conventional and guerrilla phases; military leaders; the National Army, the anti-Treaty IRA, Cumann na mBan, and Cumann na Saoirse; tactics and technologies; atrocities of the Civil War; the culture of paramilitarism; neutrality, war-weariness, and public apathy; the Civil War in the localities; the Civil War in Ulster; urban experiences of the Civil War; prisoners and executions.
  • The Irish Civil War and gender: Female TD’s and the Treaty divide; masculinities and militarism; sexual violence; Gender politics and propaganda; women-led peace movements; female participants and combatants.
  • Land, Labour and Class in the Irish Civil War: Class divisions of the Civil War; labour campaigns against ‘militarism’; trade unions, strikes, and workers’ soviets; big farmer and farm labourer experiences; trade union leaders and rank-and-file; agrarianism and the land question; the ‘Big House’ experience.
  • Childhood and the Family during the Civil War: children and the Civil War; divided families; fratricide; homes as conflict spaces; Fianna Éireann and Clann na Gael; wartime impacts on domestic life; civil war and education.
  • Civil society, religion, and Civil War: the press and public opinion; local government experiences; associational culture and the Civil War; Catholic Church responses to the Civil War; Protestant experiences; the universities and the Civil War; economic, financial, and commercial impacts; taxation and public finances.
  • The historiography of the Irish Civil War: commemorations and memorials; memory and silences surrounding the Civil War; political legacies; the Civil War and its impact on Ireland’s self-image; historical writing of the Civil War.
  • Artistic and cultural representations of the Irish Civil War: the Civil War and visual culture, literature, music, and film; the material culture of the conflict; battlefield archaeology and preservation; the Civil War in memoir, in oral history, in archives, and in official documentation.
  • The Irish Civil War beginnings and endings: continuity and discontinuity from the War of Independence to the Civil War; ending the violence; the aftermath of Civil War; civil/military relations; republican emigration; veterans and trauma; rehabilitation and the struggle for legitimacy.

Proposal Submission and Deadline

To submit a proposal, please register on this portal, and provide a proposal title, 250-word abstract and brief (100 word) speaker’s biography. The proposal deadline is Wednesday 1 December 2021. Acceptance notifications will be sent in January 2022. At this time, it is planned for this conference to be held in person. Additional information will be announced on the conference portal. Additional queries can be directed to the Academic Steering Committee Secretary, Dr John Borgonovo, (School of History, UCC):