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The University of Southampton

Dr Matthew Kelly 

Senior Lecturer, MA History Convenor, Semester 1; On leave, semester 2

Dr Matthew Kelly's photo

Dr Matthew Kelly is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton.

I studied Modern History at Oxford, where I was an undergraduate and graduate student at Balliol College and then a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Hertford College. I completed a DPhil titled ‘Irish Separatism, 1882-1914' under the supervision of Prof. Roy Foster. In 2006 this was published as The Fenian Ideal and Irish Nationalism, 1882-1916, the year I came to Southampton. Since then I have continued to work in Irish history, but have also developed interests in the history of Poland and, more recently, in British environmental history. I was a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center, Munich, in 2012-3.

Research interests

I have three main areas of research interest.

1. My doctoral research and subsequent first book examined the separatist tradition in Irish nationalist politics between the end of the Land War in 1882 and the nationalist rebellion of Easter 1916. It challenged the view that separatist nationalism was moribund in this period, suggesting instead that the boundaries between the home rulers and the separatists were less clear than has sometimes been supposed. This has since become a lively area of research among an emergent generation of Irish historians.

More recently, I've turned my attention to the development of nationalism in Ireland after the Great Famine, looking in particular at the nationalisms of Young Ireland, Fenianism, and early Home Rule. I'm particularly interested in the continental and global perspectives that shaped how Irish nationalists in this period conceived their aims and the readiness with which they ascribed events outside of Ireland a particular Irish significance. I've published several articles based on this research and, with additional pieces, have plans to draw them together into a book titled Anxiety and Assertion. The Languages of Irish Nationalism, 1848-1916.

2. My current major research project looks at the history of Dartmoor from the late eighteenth century through to the present. Influenced by the British landscape history tradition but drawing on insights from environmental history, it makes particular use of the great swathe of untouched public records relating to land use, the politics of amenity, and conservation. As a part of this project, I'm co-convening a workshop on the Nature State in July 2014 that will bring together scholars working on the environmental history of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

3. My Finding Poland. From Tavistock to Hruzsowa and Back Again was published by Jonathan Cape in 2010. It traces the experiences of the Poles deported by the Soviet Union from occupied eastern Poland in 1940, taking the reader to Kazakhstan, Iran, India and, finally, the UK. This highly contextualised foray into family history saw me get to grips with the history of early twentieth century Poland, the nationality policies of the Soviet Union, and the functioning of the British Empire, as well as the historiographies of memory and the relationship between Polish Jews and non-Jews. 'The Polish translation - Ocaleni. Wojenna tułaczka kresowej rodziny (2011) - was a finalist for the Ambasador Nowej Europy book prize, 2012.'

I teach undergraduate modules on Ireland, 1848-1923, the Northern Irish ‘Troubles' and Music and History. I teach modules on Research Skills and Public History for our History MA.

I also have two AHRC-funded PhD students. The first is working on the politics of the Third Home Rule Bill and the second on the gendered political languages of the revolutionary period in Ireland.

I welcome enquiries from interested MA or PhD students looking for supervision in all areas of modern Irish history and British landscape or environmental history.

Dr Matthew Kelly
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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