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Examine the intersection of twentieth century Irish politics and literature.
Ireland is a country whose poets are sometimes rebels and whose rebels often become statesmen. The Easter Rising of 1916 that struck for Irish independence was led by an accomplished poet, Patrick Pearse, and was immortalized by another, the Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, who himself later served in the Irish senate. Decades later, the imprisoned IRA gunman Bobby Sands wrote poems and songs from his cell shortly before his death on hunger strike. Politicians of all stripes regularly invoked powerful memories of historic injustices and of the courage and sacrifices of those who came before them while many of the people in their communities struggled to overcome the traumatic history that had shaped their lives. All the while, poets, playwrights and musicians expressed, with sensitivity and nuance, these bitter and often violent political conflicts along with the strength, resilience and humanity of the Irish people who lived through it all. Indeed, throughout the twentieth century politics and literature in Ireland were often so firmly intertwined that it can be a challenge, even now, to differentiate between the two. This lecture focuses on the intersection of history, literature, and memory in Ireland from the first performance in 1902 of W.B. Yeats' controversial play Cathleen ni Houlihan to the Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998.
David Campion is the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Associate Professor of History at Lewis & Clark College in Portland where he has taught since 2002. He received his BA in history and English from Georgetown University and his MA and PhD in history from the University of Virginia. His research interests include Modern Britain and Ireland, the British Empire, and Modern South Asia. He has published on such topics as colonial policing in India, Irish nationalism, and decolonization in the British Empire. He has given lectures and taught at universities in the United States, Britain, Ireland, India, Hong Kong and Macau.