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Manifestations scientifiques » Journées d'études » JE 27/05/2016 L’Irlande et la France à l’époque de la « République atlantique » English

Institut d'Histoire de la Révolution Française (IHRF)


(UMR8066, CNRS/ENS/Paris 1)


Fondé en 1937 à l’initiative de Georges Lefebvre, l’Institut d'Histoire de la Révolution Française est rattaché à l’UFR d’Histoire (09) de l’Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne.
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17, rue de la Sorbonne

Esc. C, 3e étage

75005 Paris

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Chargé de communication

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Lundi et mardi : 14 h – 17 h 30
Mercredi : 9 h 30 – 13 h | 14 h – 17 h 30
Jeudi : 9 h 30 – 13 h
Vendredi : 9 h 30 – 13 h | 14 h – 16 h

Thomas Corpet

Tél. : 01 40 46 33 70

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JE 27/05/2016 L’Irlande et la France à l’époque de la « République atlantique » English



Journée d’étude / Workshop


L’Irlande et la France


à l’époque de la « République atlantique »



Friday 27th may 2016


As Ireland commemorates the Centenary of the 1916 Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic (Easter Monday, 24 April 1916), and as this defining landmark event comes more than 15 years after the Bicentenary of the 1798 Rebellion, it is both relevant and necessary to interrogate anew the defining links between Revolutionary France and Ireland forged during the pivotal decade of the 1790s. This re-appraisal is all the more timely given the new research perspectives which have emerged in the three decades since the publication of Marianne Elliot's seminal Partners in Revolution (1982) and the Bicentenary of the French Revolution.

Research and publications on this subject has to date been dominated by Irish, British and American historians, while scholars of the French Revolution in France have largely ignored Ireland; the few exceptions are now mostly outdated in their perspective. Debate on Ireland in the 1790s has thus mainly taken place within an Anglophone sphere, and has focused on the origins and consequences of the 1798 Rebellion and how it precipitated the Act of Union. Reflecting the political fissures and sectarianism which emerged at this time and cast a long shadow over Irish history, scholars have evidently debated the roots of Irish republicanism which in the 19th century increasingly became synonymous with Catholic identity, nationalism and separatism. 


These historiographical debates sharpened as soon as the Rebellion was crushed and the Union passed, and were continuously revived and renewed throughout the successive phases of Irish nationalism and republicanism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries: the Young Ireland and Fenian movements, the Easter Rising (1916), the War of Independence War (1919-1921), the Civil War (1922-1923), Partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland in 1920. At each stage on the timeline of Irish history, these divisions became more entrenched, and in the Post-Famine mindset, nationalism was increasingly associated with Catholicism and eventually republicanism, and Unionism with Protestantism. Teaching, publishing, and engaging with public debate in the bitterly divisive context of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and their aftermath (ca. 1968-1998), some Irish historians - especially those deemed of the revisionist school - have been harsh in their appraisal of the first republicans of the 1790s and the sectarianism which grew out of the 1798 Rebellion. Though this may be oversimplifying some of their conclusions, and recognising the moral dilemma faced by academics not intending to fuel paramilitary hagiographies, what emerged from this otherwise rich phase of scholarship often presented the United Irishmen as delusional and opportunist republicans. Few have pursued research on the Defenders, portrayed as superstitious and sectarian discontents. As for the glorious failure of the French expeditions, which in popular narratives only came about due to the persuasive diplomatic skills of Theobald Wolfe Tone, not only were no French academics with specialist insights invited to internationalise the 1998 Bicentenary, but French political and military decision-makers have often (and rather naively) been portrayed as unreliable and ineffectual, launching expeditions which either failed or came too late.

In the light of the ongoing renewal of scholarship on the French Revolution in France and further afield, i.e. fertile ground for new and interdisciplinary interpretative frameworks,  it seems useful and even necessary to propose new angles from which to analyze this crucial decade in Irish and French history. Furthermore, constructive debates between revisionists and post-revisionists, after reaching their peak in 1998 and its immediate aftermath, actually abated and have led to a form of status quo.


This conference’s primary objective is therefore to present an overview of the current state of historical scholarship in English to a French public, but also to renew historiographical debates about the links between France and Ireland in the revolutionary period by broadening the chronological and geographical contexts. By relocating the Franco-Irish alliance within the context of the Atlantic Revolution, or more precisely within the sphere of the Atlantic Republics, our aim is also to define a continuum from the 1770s and the Volunteer movement to the first decades of the 19th century, Emmet's Insurrection of 1803, and the campaigns for Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s and 1830s. The other objective is to question the French Revolution itself, by analyzing the links between French and Irish forms of republicanism and defining their respective relationships to the American precedent. Consequently, the presentations are intended to formulate a comparative and connected historical approach in an attempt to better understand the multiple origins, different meanings, and contrasted fates of this first wave of Irish republicanism, emerging in this ‘island set in a Virginian sea’, between America, the Three Kingdoms and France.  



Programme / program

Les communications et échanges auront lieu en français et/ ou en anglais

Proceedings will be conducted in English and/or in French

Des résumés des communications seront disponibles en français et en anglais

Abstracts will be circulated in both French and English.





9h00 : accueil/ welcome.


Matin/ Morning:

9h30 : Ouverture : Thomas Bartlett (Aberdeen University & Royal Irish Academy) : General introduction: ‘Writing the history of the revolutionary 1790s during the “Troubles”: historiographical and moral dilemmas’ (in English).


10h-12h30 : Atelier 1 : L’Irlande en France, la France en Irlande : transpositions, délocalisations, comparaisons, confrontations / Workshop 1 : Ireland in France, France in Ireland : transpositions, relocations, comparisons & confrontations


10h : Rachel Rogers (Université de Toulouse-Jean-Jaurès) : « Le « club britannique » à Paris en 1792-1793 : radicalisme, républicanisme et activisme en France. L’exemple de Robert O’Reilly » (en français).


10h30 : Timothy Murtagh (Hertford College, University of Oxford): ‘Dublin’s Journeymen – Irish Sans-Culottes?’ (in English).


11h : Sylvie Kleinman (Trinity College, Dublin) : « Rhétorique et conception de la souveraineté irlandaise dans les négociations et les préparations militaires entre Theobald Wolfe Tone et le Directoire (1791-1798) » (en français)


11h30-12h30 : Discussion



Après-midi/ Afternoon


14h-17h : Atelier 2 : Circulations transnationales : connexions (contre-)révolutionnaires et (anti-)républicaines / Workshop 2 : Transnational circulations : (counter-) revolutionary and (anti-) republican connections


14h: John Donoghue & Anthony Di Lorenzo (Loyola University, Chicago): ‘Transatlantic Abolitionism and Radical Republicanism over the Longue Duree, 1650-1800’ (in English)


14h30 : Niklas Frykman (Pittsburgh University): ‘The mutinies of 1797-1798 in the British Navy: Irish-French connection?’ (en anglais)


15h : Pascal Dupuy (Université de Rouen) : « Le républicanisme « maudit » aux Etats-Unis, en France et en Irlande d’après les images anglaises » (en français)


15h30 : Laurent Colantonio (Université de Québec, Montréal): « Les nationalistes irlandais et les républicains français au début du XIXe siècle : l’impossible rencontre » (en français)


16h-17h : Discussion introduite par Yevan Terrien (Pittsburgh University)


17h : Concluding remarks : Hugh Gough (University College, Dublin) (in English)


17h20 : Conclusion : Pierre Serna (directeur de l’IHRF) (en français)




Programme / program