Three Questions with . . . Etain Tannam

Author: Mary Hendriksen

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Etain Tannam is Associate Professor of International Peace Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

Her association with the Institute began in January 2020, when the Royal Irish Academy and the Institute convened a meeting at the Kylemore Abbey Global Centre to discuss possibilities for collaborating on an initiative to explore the most significant questions of policy and public debate relating to options for future of the island of Ireland, north and south.

That project became Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South (ARINS), with Professor Tannam a member of the Steering Committee.

The first year of the pandemic was an organizational and building year for ARINS. Since January 2021, the ARINS project has published nearly 30 peer-reviewed articles, with responses, and released 10 podcasts and various blogs across a variety of working themes. The goal of ARINS is to extend academic dialogue on political, constitutional, economic, social, and cultural questions to all citizens.

Professor Tannam is the author of International Intervention in Ethnic Conflict: A Comparison of the European Union and United Nations (2014, Basingstoke, Palgrave) and Cross-Border Co-operation in Ireland (1999, Basingstoke, Palgrave). Her research interests are in the areas of Northern Ireland and British-Irish relations, including the impact of Brexit, international organizations and conflict resolution, United Nations and European Union politics. As outlined below, she is currently writing a book on British-Irish Relations in the 21st Century, forthcoming, Oxford University Press.

From Dublin, Professor Tannam answers our Three Questions:

What are you working on?

I am completing my book British-Irish Relations in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2023). Its publication date is to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. I’m just updating chapters now to take account of the Protocol and Brexit.

I’m also about to begin a long-term project ‘Handbook of Relations on the Islands of Ireland and Britain’ (exact title to be confirmed), also to be published by the Oxford University Press. This is a co-edited book, with my academic colleagues Cathy Gormley-Heenan (Ulster University), Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork), Nicola McEwan, (University of Edinburgh), and Richard Wyn-Jones (Cardiff University). I have received funding from Trinity’s Long Room Hub for Arts and Humanities Research and Notre Dame’s Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. The ARINS project is also kindly sponsoring the project. The first workshop with the co-editors is June 16, so I’m feeling excited about that!

What are you reading?

I’ve just finished reading the third volume of Brendan O’Leary A Treatise on Northern Ireland, titled Consociation and Confederation, as well as various very helpful articles and reports on the Northern Ireland protocol and on UK devolution written and/or edited by Katy Hayward and David Phinnemore, and Nicola McEwan and Michael Keating, The next books on my list that are essential to read before I submit my own book manuscript are Ailsa Henderson and Richard Wyn Jones’ book Englishness: The Political Force Transforming Britain and A Troubled Constitutional Future: Northern Ireland after Brexit by Mary C. Murphy and Jonathan Evershed.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

I’m aiming to submit my book manuscript in May and then the OUP Handbook workshop is June 16th. After that, I'm really looking forward to having time to think about the handbook and to relax a bit in that I've no deadline hanging over me. Trinity is beautiful in the summer, and I'm very much looking forward to working in a relaxed way. Going into my office is still a novelty after the pandemic. I hope it will be my first normal summer in five years, as summers have not been very normal for me of late. The pandemic has made me appreciate being alive and the small usual routines that I once took for granted. I've also research leave coming up in January, so summer gives me time to plan that too. Apart from that, I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my sons and catching up with friends. No trips planned yet, but I'll see how I feel in July.