Jane McGaughey is an Assistant Professor of Diaspora Studies at Concordia University’s School of Irish Studies in Montreal, Canada. She is the current president of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies.
When asked to discuss the impact of the Keough-Naughton NEH fellowship on her life and career trajectory, she wrote:
“When I got the call from Professor Fox that I would be the 2009-10 NEH Fellow in Irish Studies at Notre Dame, I was sitting in a tiny, windowless office at the Royal Military College of Canada, working on changing my dissertation from the University of London into a book. I am convinced that his phone call was the spark that truly kindled my professional career.
"My research at Notre Dame centred on gendered discourses in the north of Ireland during the Stormont era, particularly those involving expressions of masculinity and violence in the public sphere. With the amazing collections at the Hesburgh Library and the tremendously supportive and talented atmosphere at the Keough-Naughton Institute, I had a very productive year on campus. I finished working on my manuscript, Ulster’s Men: Unionist Masculinities and Militarization in the North of Ireland (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012) and also began a collaborative research project on Irish Protestant migration that resulted in a special issue of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, “Holy Heritage: Covenanters in the Atlantic World”.
"I joined the School of Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal in 2012 as the assistant professor of Irish Diaspora studies, focusing on the experiences of Irish men and Irish women in Canada, America, Britain, Australia, Argentina, and other places around the world. Concordia has become one of the leading centres for Irish Studies in North America, offering a Major in Irish Studies at the undergrad level and also fostering over a dozen graduate students. My current research project, sponsored by a grant from the Government of Quebec, focuses on patterns of violence, manliness and Irish migration to Canada between the 1798 Rising and the Irish Famine. The themes of gender and violence that I focused on at Notre Dame continue to heavily inform how I write and analyse the history of the Irish Diaspora.
In 2015, I was delighted to become the president of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies, the leading academic body promoting Irish culture and heritage in Canada. We host a conference every year celebrating the very best of Canadian and international research in all things Irish. CAIS also produces the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, which publishes scholarly articles, reviews and strongly encourages multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to Irish Studies.
My year as the NEH Fellow at the Keough-Naughton Institute was fundamental to my subsequent success in academia. I’m sure all of the NEH fellows say it, but it really was an opportunity that changed my life—I’m so very grateful for everything it has given me."