DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title The Irish Revolution in Context
Module Code HY512
School 68
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Marnie Hay
Semester 2: Marnie Hay
Autumn: Marnie Hay
Module TeachersMarnie Hay
Grania Shanahan
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to interrogate the Irish revolution of the years 1912 to 1923 by placing it in the context of, and comparing it with, contemporary revolutions. To do so this module will approach the Irish revolution through a series of key questions. Pursuing these questions will deepen the students’ knowledge of events in Ireland and facilitate their engagement with broader historiographical debates that both illuminate the Irish case and introduce them to important current scholarship on European revolutions in a world of imperial decline. Throughout this module students will therefore engage with a set of governing questions: what is a revolution?; did Ireland have a revolution?; if so, what kind of revolution was it?; what were the causes and effects of revolutions?; what responses did it inspire?; what can we learn about the Irish experience by studying other revolutionary or state formation moments in the period 1912 to 1923?; was the Irish revolution necessary?; what light does study of the Irish revolution throw on what are general problems in revolutionary studies and in European and Imperial histories?; what, if anything, makes the Irish case different? Students will engage in focused comparative reading of cutting edge literature on revolution. They will be introduced to and analyse primary sources selected to prompt informed debate on the key issues in a seminar setting.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate his/her knowledge of the revolutionary events in Ireland and other European states in the 1912-1923 period.
2. Understand the causes, characteristics, and consequences of revolutionary trends in Ireland during the early twentieth century.
3. Compare the Irish revolution to revolutions in Europe during the early twentieth century
4. Critically engage with primary sources – including digitized sources – so as to deepen understanding of the revolutionary movements and ideologies of the period.
5. Articulate an understanding of the evolution of the analytical frameworks deployed in the examination of revolutions.
6. Evaluate the relationship between historiographical approaches to the study of revolution in Ireland and Europe.
7. Interrogate the relationship between commemoration, popular memory and scholarly investigation of revolution.
8. Reflect upon the relationship of contemporary visual and literary art to revolutionary events.
9. Prepare, deliver and review in-class presentations of secondary and primary sources.
10. Formulate research questions within the thematic blocks provided.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Field Trip6Field Trip
Independent Study48Assigned weekly readings
Class Presentation12Presentation and Peer-Review Preparation
Independent Study160Independent Learning and Research Paper
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Content
The rise of nationalism as a challenge to the imperial order The students will be introduced to the dawning of, what one historian has described as, an ‘age of hyperactive nationalism’ and the literature that seeks to explain this phenomenon as well as to the imperial responses to these new developments. Youth and revolutionary mentalities The students will examine the value of the idea of a ‘revolutionary generation’, in Ireland and Europe, bonded by their youth, a shared intent upon radical change and a shared rejection of their elders’ world. They will explore the factors that ‘made’ such a generation, including early manifestations of paramilitarism. War and Revolution The students will explore the relationship of the First World War to revolution. To what extent was war the mid-wife of revolution in this period? To what extent were imperial responses determined by the war context? Paramilitarism and Violence The students will investigate the relationship of paramilitarism to violence pre- and post-World War One. Such violence marked not only Ireland but many of the former territories of Europe’s collapsed or collapsing empires Non-violent revolutionary strategies The students will interrogate the role of non-violent forms of revolutionary activity. They will look at various forms of ‘public defiance’, propaganda, and passive resistance, including prison protest. Servants of the ‘old order’ The students will analyse the consequences of revolution for servants of the old order, in particular employees of the pre-revolutionary state. Were they driven from their jobs and public life or did revolution see the pouring of ‘old wine into new bottles’? Revolution and everyday life The students will assess the effects of revolution upon the lives of non-participants. How was everyday life of civilians – children for example - impacted upon and how did they respond? National or Social revolution The students will assess the extent to which revolutions were underpinned by a desire to overthrow the social as well as the political order? How did this vary from place to place? What characteristics distinguished places where national revolutions occurred (Ireland) and those where social revolution was the outcome (Russia)? Civil War and counter-revolution? Many of these conflicts were marked by Civil War. The students will consider the extent to which these civil wars were conflicts between the forces of revolution and those of counter-revolution. Ethnic and religious minorities, and new borders The students will examine the experience of ethnic and religious minorities in revolutionary contexts. They will focus on national revolutionary contexts where new borders were drawn, exposing minorities to the dangers of being defined as the other or ‘disloyal’. Were such minorities characterized by nostalgia for the multi-national Imperial past when confronted with a populist, ethno-nationalist present? Remembering revolution/commemoration The students will explore the role that remembering revolution played in the construction of post-revolutionary elites and in post-revolutionary state-building. Conclusion: group discussion To what extent was the Irish revolution unique when compared to other European cases?

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ParticipationClass participation (including the regular submissions of questions in response to readings and a peer-reviewed in-class presentation)40%n/a
Research PaperResearch paper (5,000 words)60%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    0, In Class/Online, 0, Comprehensive reading list will be made available to students in-class and/or online,
    Programme or List of Programmes
    MAHHMA in History
    MPHGMPhil (History & Geography)

    My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement