Sep 29 2017 Posted: 16:24 IST

Best to Forget? Conflict, Memory, and Memoir-Writing by Irish Emigrants to the United States, c1870-c1950

The distinguished American historian Kerby A. Miller will hold a public lecture on Tuesday, 3 October in the Moore Institute at 4pm on the writing of memoirs by Irish migrants to America.

Miller presents the results of his investigation into 30 different memoirs by Irish men and women from the later nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. His talk discusses how memoirists addressed the ambiguities and conflicts in the Irish immigrant experience. He asks whether their narratives expressed a novel “American” individualism or conformed to traditional ethno-religious expectations. How did factors such as social class, religious culture, gender, and language shape their narratives? How did the weave their way between competing value systems?

Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, at NUI Galway said: “The vivid experience of Irish men and women who made their way to the New World is nowhere more apparent than in their own words. Kerby Miller, one of the most prominent historians of Irish America, brings his remarkable scholarship to the study of these little-known narratives.”

Kerby Miller is Curators’ Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Missouri. His book Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (1985) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His other books include Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan (2003), and Ireland and Irish America: Culture, Class, and Transatlantic Migration (2008), and Catholics and Protestants in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: The Irish Religious Censuses of the 1760s (forthcoming).

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