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Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race$
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Bruce Nelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153124

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153124.001.0001

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Prologue: Arguing about (the Irish) Race

Prologue: Arguing about (the Irish) Race

(p.3) Prologue: Arguing about (the Irish) Race
Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race

Bruce Nelson

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of the issue of race and the controversy it has generated over the last several decades. It then sets out the book's focus, namely the evolution of Irish nationalism (and Irish racial identity) in the context of powerful global phenomena such as slavery and abolition, the British Empire, and the class and national struggles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The goal is to interrogate the stereotype of Ireland as a self-contained “Holy Island” by focusing on elements of the nationalist movement that turned outward to a global arena of suffering and struggle and affirmed that “[our] sympathy with distress ... extends itself to every corner of the earth.” An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   Irish nationalism, Irish nationalists, race, racial discourse, Ireland, racial identity, nationalist movement, Irish identity

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