To further address growing interest in the field of Irish-Canadian studies, and to showcase our national and international partnerships with leading figures in this field, Library and Archives Canada hosted an Irish Studies Symposium in September 2006. The symposium was open to the general public on Saturday, September 23, at the University of Ottawa Residential Complex, 90 University Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario.
This event brought together specialists in Irish-Canadian studies from across Canada and Ireland, as well as resource specialists from Library and Archives Canada, the National Archives of Ireland, and Parks Canada. The symposium provided an opportunity for fruitful dialogue between specialists and the public, and encouraged greater access to sources of information on Irish-Canadian history and culture at Library and Archives Canada and the National Archives of Ireland.
Friday, September 22 - Guests' tour and reception (by invitation only)
Tour of Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre
3:00-3:30 p.m. Break, Refreshments
3:30-5:00 p.m. Opening Session at LAC Preservation Centre, Room 5P20: Origins, Identities, Images
Chair: Amy Tector, Literary Arts Section, Library and Archives Canada
Cormac O'Grada, University College Dublin
The 1901 and 1911 Censuses: A Unique Source for Historians
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 38 KB] Source
The paper describes ways in which Irish economic and social historians, since the 1970s, have used the manuscript enumeration forms of the 1901 and 1911 censuses to shed light on the past. The forms contain details that reveal how Irish households adapted to the changing world around them. This information has enabled scholars to address numerous issues, including: variations in household structure; economic and religious influences on family limitation strategies; domestic service and the life cycle; the ages at which young boys and girls left the family home; the determinants of "age-heaping" and age-misreporting; infant and child mortality; and language shift and language death.
Michele Holmgren, Mount Royal College, Calgary
More Than "Casual Interest" or "Casual Pity": Canadian Memoirs of Belfast
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 52 KB] Source
Charles Foran and Derek Lundy use their own awareness of the complexities of Canadian identity to portray families caught up in the history of the Irish Troubles. Recalling Helen Buss's analogy of "mapmaking" as autobiography, both Foran's The Last House of Ulster: A Family in Belfast (1995) and Lundy's The Bloody Red Hand: A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland (2006) record the difficulties in obtaining a perspective about Northern Ireland history, family history and personal identity. From their travels in Ireland, the writers depict a sense of themselves as individuals and as Canadians. They share with their biographical subjects the challenge of navigating shifting, sometimes invisible, borders and narratives continually redrawn or rewritten by history and myth.
Peter Hart, Memorial University of Newfoundland
The IRA and Its Archives
5:00-6:00 p.m. Cocktails & Welcome Reception (foyer LAC Preservation Centre)
6:00-8:00 p.m. Dinner
Saturday, September 23 - Public sessions at University of Ottawa Residential Complex, 90 University Avenue
The sessions were conducted in English only.
8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Doors open
9:00 a.m. Official Welcome
Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
9:00-10:30 a.m. SESSION I: Memory, Materials, Media
Chair: Paul Birt, University of Ottawa
Elizabeth Grove-White, University of Victoria
"Let Erin Remember:" Collective Memory and Diasporic Identity
Jim Burant, Visual Heritage Division, Library and Archives Canada
The Visual Record of Irish Immigration in the 19th century
Mark Duncan, Research Consultant, National Archives of Ireland
'...an unbearable truthfulness'? : Picturing Dublin in 1911
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 41 KB] Source
Photographs are key, if underused, historical documents facilitating our understanding of Dublin and the experience of Dubliners in the early 20th century. This paper examines the emergence of an Irish photographic tradition and the contributions of two important collections: the Lawrence collection and the Darkest Dublin collection. Differing in motive and focus, they present vastly contrasting perspectives of a city on the cusp of great change. While underscoring a reality of deep social division, together these collections preserve the physical appearance of pre-revolutionary Dublin, casting light on the lives of many Dubliners -- how they worked, played and moved about.
10:30-11:00 a.m. Break, Refreshments
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. SESSION II: Migration, Emigration, Immigration
Chair: Robert McIntosh, Canadian Archives and Special Collections, Library and Archives Canada
Kevin James, University of Guelph
Heading Home: Deportation from Canada to Ireland Before 1922
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 307 KB] Source
. . . The category of the "undesirable" immigrant was subject to considerable public and bureaucratic attention in the early 1900s, during which deportation became increasingly codified, systematized and integrated within systems of immigration control. Deportation in this period has not been closely studied through the lens of ethnicity -- or, in contemporary bureaucratic terminology, "nationality" -- partly because surviving records do not offer comprehensive documentation of individual cases, and printed returns which aggregate immigrant populations are difficult to use in a systematic analysis. Yet the remarkably diverse experiences of deportation between immigrants of different "nationalities" offer a valuable focus for exploring the intersection of ethnicity, citizenship and social regulation in early 20th-century Canada.
Paul Rouse, University College Dublin
People and Place: Dublin in 1911
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 33 KB] Source
This is the story of Dublin in 1911 -- a city already experiencing the most remarkable decade in its history, a decade that brought rebellion, trade union unrest and much more. Dublin was a mass of contradictions. A second city of the British Empire, it was also the first city of nationalist Ireland, and the divisions of class and culture were extraordinary. The vast wealth of a small section of the population stood in stark contrast to the slums rampant with poverty and illness. This was also Joyce's Dublin, a place where tradition and modernity cohabited in so many aspects of its life.
Bruce Elliott, Carleton University
Settlement patterns and Old World origins: the Canadian Irish in the Atlantic economy
12:30 -2:00 p.m. Lunch
2:00-3:30 p.m. SESSION III: Diaspora, Diplomacy and the State
Chair: Richard Brown, Government Records Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Liam Kennedy, Queen's University, Belfast
Belfast in 1911. An Experiment in Research-Led Teaching, Using Census Manuscripts
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 29 KB] Source
Unlike most papers presented to the conference, this contribution focuses on the use of census manuscripts as a resource for teaching rather than for research. The paper describes a new type of history course, with a focus on Belfast economy and society in 1911, which uses census data made easily accessible to students via a specially designed website. The challenge for students is to put themselves in the historian's role -- to use original sources, guided by the secondary literature, to 'make history.'
David A. Wilson, University of Toronto
The Fenians in Canada
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With some conspicuous exceptions, Canadian historians have traditionally regarded Fenianism as an external threat, and have generally focused their attention on the relationship between the Fenian raids and Canadian Confederation. However, this perspective overlooks the far more interesting issue of the Fenian movement within Canada, and its connection to those American Fenians who wanted to emancipate Canadians from British imperialism, or to invade the country, depending on the viewpoint. The subject raises fundamental questions about the political views of Irish Catholics in Canada, the dynamics of ethno-religious conflict, the development of Canada's secret police force, and the response of the state to an ethnic revolutionary minority whose most militant members were prepared to use various forms of physical force to achieve their ends.
Jo-Anick Proulx, Parks Canada Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site
Grosse-Île, la station de quarantaine
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 143 KB] Source
Between 1832 and 1937, 4.3 million immigrants of 43 different nationalities arrived in Canada, entering Québec, the main port of entry. To avoid bringing contagious diseases into the country, the authorities decided to open a quarantine station on an island 48 kilometres downstream from Québec: Grosse Île. Doctors, nurses, people in charge of disinfection, telegraphers, boatmen, cart drivers, and others, cared for the sick, watched over the health of immigrants and disinfected the ships. In 1847, nearly 100,000 immigrants, the majority Irish escaping the Great Famine, left for Grosse Île; many were suffering from typhus. That year, 5,424 people were buried at the site. In total, 7,553 people were buried at the quarantine station's three cemeteries. The Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada marks their passing.
3:30-4:00 p.m. Break, Refreshments
4:00-5:30 p.m. SESSION IV: Round Table - Directions in Irish Studies
Chair: Marianne McLean, Strategic Policy, Library and Archives Canada
Peter Toner, University of New Brunswick
Mark McGowan, University of Toronto
Charting the Future of Irish Studies
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 17 KB] Source
It would be a gross understatement to say that the historiography of Irish migration and settlement in Canada has flourished since Donald Akenson's publication of The Irish in Ontario: A Study in Rural History, in 1984. Considered one of the 20 most influential books published in Canadian history in the past half century, Akenson's work has encouraged a host of historians, geographers, genealogists and ethnographers to explore the little-told story of the Irish in this country. This has resulted in excellent studies of 19th-century immigration and settlement, the creation of Irish communities and subcultures in Canadian cities, and superb regional studies. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done.
Cecil Houston, University of Windsor
Michael Kenneally, Concordia University
Pádraig Ó Siadhail, Saint Mary's University
Direction and Directionlessness in Irish Studies
Read Entire Presentation: [PDF 38 KB] Source
Irish Studies shares with other interdisciplinary fields of study the struggle for academic respectability and institutional security. However, because of its varied origins in Ireland and abroad, Irish Studies faces two additional challenges: developing a clear intellectual rationale and promoting a distinct approach from that of traditional disciplines dealing with Ireland. Such an approach would ensure that students, especially at the graduate level, would receive the language training they need to do their work, i.e., achieving a working knowledge of the Irish language.
5:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
Catriona Crowe, Senior Archivist, National Archives of Ireland
LAC gratefully acknowledges the support of the University of Ottawa. (www.uottawa.ca/welcome.html)