MISS: Ireland Questions

Tuesday 22nd March, 2022 at 6:30pm (AEDT), 7:30am (GMT)
Dr Jimmy H. Yan, University of Melbourne
Contentious Routes: Ireland Questions, Radical Political Articulations and Settler Ambivalence in (White) Australia, c. 1909 – 1923

This paper explores the transnational history of the ‘Ireland Question’ in the imperial and ethico-political imaginary of radical and labour movements in (White) Australia during the ‘Irish revolutionary period’, broadly conceived. It traces the contestation of ‘Ireland’ as a political signifier, with attention to its constitutive differences, transnational circuitries, utopian investments, relations of recognition and desire, and articulatory practices. Combining attention to settler-colonial difference with the discursive articulation of political forms, it situates the ‘Ireland Question’ firstly in relation to the political as a signifier of settler ambivalence, and secondly to politics as a social movement. Drawing on archival research in Australia, Ireland and Britain, it analyses personal papers, letters, political periodicals, state surveillance records, political ephemera and pamphlets.

Beyond the ‘Ireland Question’ in the imperial labour movement, this study affords serious attention to historical dimensions at the hybrid boundaries of ‘long-distance nationalism’ including political travel performances in Ireland, non-nationalist transnational political networks ranging from feminist to socialist connections, and non-Irish political identification with ‘Ireland.’ It proposes that this unstable play of meanings comprised a heterogeneity of political positions and networks whose convergence during the conjuncture of 1916-1921 was both contingent and politically contested: one that signified in excess of either Australian nationalist historical teleologies or a coherent ‘transnational Irish revolution.’

Dr. Jimmy H. Yan completed his PhD in History at the University of Melbourne in 2022. His research explores the intersections of ‘New World’ settler-colonialism, white racial citizenship and social movements through the prism of the ‘Ireland Question’ in early twentieth century Australia. He has published in Radical History Review (forthcoming), Australian Literary Studies, the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Labour History and on RTE’s Century Ireland page.

LOCATION (hybrid)
Following current Government guidelines those attending in-person will need to check in with a QR code and show they are fully vaccinated. Access will also be provided via Zoom. Please RSVP to Dianne.hall@vu.edu.au if you would like the zoom link, which will be sent out a day before the seminar. The zoom room will be open from 6:20pm to allow time for people to get set up. Remote attendees should put microphones on mute for the duration of the talk. Online questions will be taken through the zoom chat so people can type their questions at anytime and the facilitator will read these out for speaker and in-person attendees at the end of the talk. The seminar will start at 6:30pm (AEDT) in The Oratory at Newman College, Swanston St, Carlton. As always this is a free public seminar.

This seminar will not be recorded, so please attend in-person or online.