MLAR 7124 The Great Irish Famine

The Great Irish Famine, 1846-1852, is the central event in the history of modern Ireland. The Famine or the Great Hunger killed approximately one million Irish, forcing the emigration of another two million, and altering not only the history of Ireland, but also the history of Britain, Australia, Canada, and the United States. This course will concentrate on the seminal issues concerning the Famine: Ireland's political and social relationship with British society, the tortured relationship between landlord and tenant, the desperate poverty which afflicted the Irish underclass and threatened much of the population with ruin, the bitter sectarian conflicts which convulsed the island and tainted its political and economic arrangements, and Ireland's struggle for self-determination. We will discuss the causes of the Famine (which were different from the "blight" which attacked the potato), the domestic and international responses to it, and its consequences for Ireland, Britain, and the United States. This course is a seminar and will emphasize reading, discussion, and writing.