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The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848 - 1918

The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848 - 1918 (Paperback)

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In surveying the period from the Famine in 1848 to the triumph of Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election, Joe Lee argues that Ireland became one of the most modern and advanced political cultures in the world during that time.

Lee contends that the Famine death-rate, however terrible, was not unprecedented. What was different was the post-Famine response to the catastrophy. The sharply increased rate of emigration left behind a population of tenent farmers engaged in market orientated agriculture and determined to protect and improve their position. It was this group that used the British political system so skillfully, a process elaborated and refined in the Land League and Home Rule movements under Parnell. The Parnell era left a lasting legacy of modern political engagement and organisation which was carried on in essentials by the later Home Rule party and by Sinn Fein, and - beyond the terminal date of the book - would make its mark on the politics of independent Ireland.

Professor Joe Lee came to New York University in 2002 from University College Cork, where he chaired the History Department and served for periods as Dean of Arts and as Vice President. Educated at University College Dublin; the Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany; and Peterhouse, Cambridge, he has also been a Fellow of Peterhouse and held Visiting Fellow/Professor appointments as Senior Parnell Research Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge; the Austrian Academy, Vienna; the European University, Florence; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Pittsburgh; the University of Texas at Austin; and Exchange Professor of Government at Colby College. Professor Lee's research interests have included over the years nineteenth- and twentieth-century German, European, Irish, British, and most recently Irish-American history and politics, as well as historiography. His books, 'The Modernization of Irish Society, 1848-1918' (Dublin, 1973, 2008) and the prize-winning 'Ireland, 1912-1985: Politics and Society' (Dublin, 1989), now in its eleventh reprint, continue to generate lively debate. Professor Lee's op-ed columns for the 'Sunday Tribune' have been collected and published as 'The Shifting Balance of Power: Exploring the 20th Century' (Dublin, 2000), and he edited, with Marion R. Casey, 'Making the Irish American: The History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States' (NYU Press, 2006). Lee served sixteen years as Chair of the Fulbright Commission for Ireland, 1980-96, and four years as an elected Independent member of the Irish Senate. He also served as a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Committee between 1993-97. Elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1986, and an Eisenhower Fellow in 1989, he succeeded the inaugural director of Glucksman Ireland House, Professor Bob Scally, in 2002. Under his directorship, Glucksman Ireland House has established itself as a center for Irish-American oral history and started a new Master's Program in Irish & Irish-American Studies in 2007. Awarded an Honorary D.Litt by the National University of Ireland in 2006, Professor Lee's current research focuses on nineteenth-century Irish nationalist Michael Davitt, on nationalism, and on Irish and Irish-American historiography in a trans-national context.

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