My research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth century Irish history, Anglo-Irish relations, political violence, oral history, social movements and protest, memory, and social and cultural history. My monograph, Gerry Fitt and the SDLP: 'In a minority of one', was published in 2015 and examines the heterogeneity and evolution of nationalism in Northern Ireland during the 1970s. Using a wide range of archival sources, including government papers, party papers, newspapers, material in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, and oral history, the research examined the constitutional and non-constitutional tactics of the minority community in Northern Ireland, as well as British government responses, to investigate the changing dynamics of conflict in this formative decade of the ‘Troubles’, and outlined how the minority community attempted to articulate an alternative political vision for themselves.
I have also written on different aspects of the history of Northern Ireland including Protestant identities and collective action in the 1970s and 1980s, which takes a social movement approach to explore how the contingent and ever-evolving political contexts, opportunities and threats shaped the trajectory of the Troubles. I have published in Irish Historical Studies, Irish Political Studies and have contributed to several edited collections on the ideology and social dynamics of the SDLP, Anglo-Irish relations, the ethnic-religious character of the state, and the nature of Irish nationalism, which is also the focus of my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.
My current research focuses on the civil rights movement and the 1968 generation in Northern Ireland and will utilise oral history to examine how the movement is remembered. In late 2019, I will be starting an impact project in partnership with Linking Generations Northern Ireland to explore an intergenerational approach to remembering the civil rights movement.
The North-East is a growing hub for Irish history, and at Newcastle University we have a cross-disciplinary and dynamic Irish Studies community with strong links to the Tyneside Irish Centre. I would welcome postgraduate research students in any area of twentieth century Irish history, particularly the conflict in Northern Ireland. I would also welcome students interested in social movements, protest, memory, and/or oral history.