2014 was the first full year of funding for a project (funded by the Australian Research Council) on the Irish in colonial Australia that I am conducting with a colleague from the University of Melbourne, Elizabeth Malcolm.
The title of the project is "The Irish in Colonial Australia: Race, Representation and Repression" and its main aims are:
1. to analyse the racialisation of the Irish in Australia between 1788 and 1914, charting their movement from an excluded group to part of the founding ‘white’ race;
2. to evaluate how such racialised perceptions impacted the lives of Irish immigrants who were institutionalised in colonial Australia;3. to analyse how the Irish interacted with other racialised groups
So far we have had some very good research assistants work with us to collect data on Irish-born patients of Mental asylums in Sydney and Melbourne and we will be starting to collect similar sorts of data on prisoners in the NSW and Victorian colonies in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
We have also worked on representations of the Irish visually through cartoons published in some of the major periodicals of the late ninteenth century in Australia - The Bulletin and Melbourne Punch. We published an article "Now him white man: Images of the Irish in Colonial Australia" on this analysis in History Australia in late 2014. I will post more about the cartoons another day, they really are lots of fun.
So that is one project that has been occupying me over 2014. The other major one is the Gender and Violence project, which Elizabeth Malcolm and I have been working on for some time now. Although life - by way of changing jobs, new jobs, families expanding etc - have meant this has taken longer than we had hoped. The length of time we have spent on writing the monograph, thinking, talking and writing about our ideas has meant that the results are much better than they would have been otherwise.
So far I have committed to writing three articles on aspects of this project in 2015 as well as continuing with the remaining chapters of the monograph. I have been able to secure support for some of this by way of fellowships, including one as Associate Investigator with the Centre for the History of Emotions, for research on the ways that violence associated with children was written about and incorporated into emotional responses to violence in 17th century Ireland. I will post more about that over the coming months as well.
So all in all there has been much to occupy me over 2014. Now for 2015, with my full writing program.