Exhibiting Irishness: Empire, Race and Identity, 1850s to 1960s

Shahmima Akhtar

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Exhibiting Irishness traces multiple constructions of Irish identity in national and international displays as Ireland moved from a colonial to an independent, globally-connected state. As a cultural history of Irish identity, the book considers exhibitions as a formative platform for imagining a host of Irish pasts, presents and futures. Fair organisers responded to the contexts of famine and poverty, migration and diasporic settlement, independence movements and partition, as well as post-colonial nation building. The book demonstrates how Irish businesses and labourers, the elite organisers of the fairs and successive Irish governments curated Irishness. The central malleability of Irish identity on display emerged in tandem with the unfolding of Ireland’s political transformation from a colony of the British Empire, a migrant community in the United States, to a divided Ireland in the form of the Republic and Northern Ireland, a separation that continues today.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherManchester University Press
Publication statusIn preparation - Sept 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in Imperialism


  • Ireland
  • Identities
  • Exhibitions
  • World Fairs
  • British Empire

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