UE Professor Daniel Gahan to Discuss Irish Immigrants to Southwestern Indiana

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2017

University of Evansville professor of history Daniel Gahan will be the speaker for UE’s Andiron Lecture on April 5. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 4:00 p.m. in Eykamp Hall, Room 252, in Ridgway University Center. Gahan’s topic will be “Diggers, Farmers, and Townspeople: Irish Immigrants in Southwestern Indiana.”

Between 1815 and 1900 over four million Irish came to the US. The arrival of the Irish in such numbers sparked the first anti-immigrant political movement. Irish immigrants of 1815-1900 were largely Catholic; most settled in urban centers. Their eighteenth century compatriots were mostly Protestant and settled largely in the rural south. Scholarship on the nineteenth-century wave has focused largely on the urban experience, but recently there has been considerable study of those who settled in small towns and in the country.

Gahan will summarize current research on a 17-county area of southwestern Indiana, which examines the Irish immigrant experience there in the period 1815-1880. He will offer a profile of the Irish immigrant community of the study area at the mid-point of the century. He will consider evidence of community development, recreation of “normal” family life, achievement of a certain economic status, and degrees of assimilation, as experienced by these immigrants. This will be placed in the broader context of Irish settlement in rural parts of the US from 1815-1900.

Gahan earned his BA from the National University of Ireland (Maynooth College), his MA from Loyola University of Chicago, and his PhD from the University of Kansas. He has published on Irish agrarian history, Irish immigrants in the United States, and the Irish rebellion of 1798 (including a book on the rebellion in county Wexford, The People’s Rising).

The Andiron Lecture series is sponsored by the William L. Ridgway College of Arts and Sciences and supported by a generous gift from Donald B. Korb. For more information, call 812-488-1070 or 812-488-2589.

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