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Kildare - Event Notice
Saturday February 12 2011
11:00 AM

The loom, the ridge & the pit: A symposium on eighteenth and nineteenth century social history.

category kildare | history and heritage | event notice author Friday January 14, 2011 01:59author by T Report this post to the editors

A short one day symposium featuring presentations on themes such as funerary monuments from south Ulster associated with the linen industry, case studies of mining between 1750 and 1850, pre-famine popular protest and a Marxist analysis of the rundale system of communal tenure.

Starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday the 12th of February 2011 in the Sociology Department of N.U.I. Maynooth (located in the North Campus see map here http://www.nuim.ie/location/maps/NUIM-Map-booklet-v3.pdf)

Sponsored by the Historical-Comparative Research Cluster of the Sociology Department of N.U.I. Maynooth.

There is no registration fee but please let us know if you are coming before hand by e-mailing classconferencenuim@gmail.com

author by Tpublication date Sat Jan 29, 2011 13:40Report this post to the editors

The loom, the ridge & the pit: A symposium on eighteenth and nineteenth century social history.

Programme:

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Session One (see abstracts for this session below)

Spoken in stone – the funerary tradition of 18th-century south Ulster (Dr. Siobhán McDermott)

Class Conflict in the Leinster Colliery District 1826-34 (Terry Dunne)

The Irish Agrarian Commune in European Context: Marx’s Later Writings on Ireland and Pre-Capitalism (Eoin Flaherty)

1.30 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. Session Two

Peasants and adaptability; examples from 19th century Irish mines (Des Cowman – Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland)

Des Cowman is a Waterford based local historian, author of many important studies of historic Irish mining including The Making and Breaking of a Mining Community: The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford 1825-1875+ and Life and labour in three Irish mining communities circa 1840 (Saothar 9) and founder of the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland.

Details:

The symposium takes place on Saturday the 12th of February 2011 in N.U.I. Maynooth. The venue is room ACE 2 in Rowan House on the North Campus
(see map here - http://www.nuim.ie/location/maps/NUIM-Map-booklet-v3.pdf ).

Sponsored by the Historical-Comparative Research Cluster of the Sociology Department of N.U.I. Maynooth.

There is no registration fee but please let us know if you are coming before hand by e-mailing classconferencenuim@gmail.com

Spoken in stone –the funerary tradition of 18th-century south Ulster. Dr. Siobhán McDermott.

This paper will introduce a corpus of richly decorated 18th-century headstones, first identified by McCormick (1976). These headstones are concentrated in the mid-north of Clogher diocese, in north Co. Monaghan and south Co. Tyrone, and are henceforth known as the ‘Clogher-tradition’. Predominately Catholic commissions, they share a number of common elements; unofficial heraldic devices and extensive Christian iconographic motifs are carved in high-relief and ornament the front, back and sometimes the sides of these monuments. The importance of this corpus of material culture, the commissions of the 18th-century Ulster Catholic middle-classes, can not be overestimated considering so little documentary sources survive to inform us about rural Irish society during this period. Three reoccurring motifs will be presented in this paper: the flowering flax Tree of Life, an abstract helm-boss motif and the unofficial heraldic devices. Each of these motifs represents a series of negotiations within Gaelic Catholic society in relation to their social and economic position in 18th-century Ulster. Moving away from interpretations focused solely on the agency of the stone-cutter this paper emphasises what this material can tell us about the discourses that were being constructed by those who knowingly commissioned these monuments.
 
Therefore the analysis of these motifs, which is contextualised within the surviving documentary archive and the spatial analysis of the graveyards, will attempt to elucidate the world view of their patrons. Fundamentally these monuments question the assumption that the situation of the Ulster Catholic remained poor and subjugated while revisionist historians deconstruct such interpretations of 18th-century society elsewhere in the country. The flowering flax Tree of Life motif indicates that from the early 18th-century Catholics in south Ulster were engaged in the domestic linen industry and openly recognised, and celebrated, that participation could circumvent the inhibitions of penal legislation. The helm-boss motif, an abstract version of the horn of plenty/swing plough demonstrates a continuing concern with agricultural surplus which stands in contrast to the, often biased, writings of contemporary observers such as Arthur Young who furthered the improving agenda of the landlord class. Finally the unofficial heraldry testifies to the hegemonic discourses which were occurring within Gaelic Catholic society as well as within the hierarchy of the Church and within the Protestant ascendancy. It is hoped that the evidence put forward in this paper will demonstrate the crucial role that the study of material culture has in furthering our understanding of the lives of those individuals and communities who are only partially recorded by the historical archive.

Class Conflict in the Leinster Colliery District 1826-34. Terry Dunne. 

The Leinster coal mining territory was one of the half a dozen areas where coal mining was carried on in eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland all on a scale quite marginal when viewed from the perspective of the United Kingdom as a whole. During the late 1820s and early 1830s the colliery district was the site of an intense and violent conflict occasioned in part by attempts by proprietors to transform working methods and in part by the eviction of small holders. The Leinster coal mining area was one of the main centres of the Whitefeet movement.  The Whitefeet movement was one of a long series in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Ireland wherein bands from the subaltern classes of rural society attempted to regulate socio-economic conditions to better meet their needs; these attempts usually being effected through violent clandestine direct action In this paper I will explore the economic, cultural and political origins of the Whitefeet movement drawing on themes from social movement studies.

The Irish Agrarian Commune in European Context: Marx’s Later Writings on Ireland and Pre-Capitalism. Eoin Flaherty.

Although comparatively neglected by Western readers until recently, Marx’s later writings - particularly on the question of agrarian communism - offer much insight into the historical geography of 19th century Ireland. This paper examines a number of previous approaches taken by Irish scholars to the understanding of Irish social structure in the early 19th century, with specific reference to the rundale system of communal tenure. I suggest, drawing upon recent collaborative work, that there is sufficient evidence to argue that Marx was aware of the prevalence of the agrarian commune in Ireland, and that this in turn informed, in part, his broader generalisations on the nature of pre-capitalist modes of production in transition. Marx’s tool of generalisation, the ‘mode of production framework’ is particularly useful in helping us overcome certain restrictive analyses that have characterised the field of study thus far. Furthermore, there are a number of testable hypotheses we may derive from Marx’s contributions and apply to the Irish case. To this end, I present data on crop output and productivity, and new demographic material on the relationship between family dynamics and landholding in a smallholder community. The results suggest that Marx’s framework allows us to disentangle a network of co-existing modes of production, and offers a more complex account of agrarian social structure than may be derived by empirical study alone.

 
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