I am a social and cultural historian, focusing on Irish migrant communities living in the United States and Australia during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. I’m currently Lecturer in Liberal Arts at the Queen’s University Belfast which is a very exciting opportunity to expand on my History teaching. My monograph, Forging Identities in the Irish World: Melbourne and Chicago, c.1830-1922 is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. It will be out in February 2022!
I completed my PhD which focuses on Irish identity in Melbourne and Chicago during the nineteenth century at the University of Edinburgh in 2017. My doctoral work uses education, religion, civic nationalism, sport, and Irish nationalism to explore the ways that immigrant and second-generation identities were influenced, shaped, and adapted within two cities. The fact that one of these cities was a proud part of the British empire, and the other was part of the United States, less than a century after it broke from the British empire, provides an interesting perspective on the ways that Irish people saw Britain’s interactions with Ireland (and how they could change that).
My postdoctoral research builds upon some of these themes, focusing on religious orders and Irish identity in the diaspora. My work increasingly considers the agency and impact of migrant women in public spaces, including Manchester and Limerick. I established the Irish Diaspora Histories Network which brings scholars of the Irish diaspora together to encourage collaboration and outreach.
This blog features posts on immigrant identity and Ireland, the US, Australia, and the British empire. I post about life as an early career researcher (ECR), as well as musings on tutoring and historical parallels to today’s world. It also serves as a place for me to collect the challenges, successes, and brainwaves – as well as any tangents about other parts of my life – that I happen across on my way.
In my spare time I walk, crochet, argue about politics, and probably watch too much TV. These will probably come up as subjects on this blog as well…you have been warned!
I tweet from @SophcoCooper. You may also want to check out #nuntastic for research on women religious orders (including my own).