Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World (Hardback)
  • Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World (Hardback)
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Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World (Hardback)

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£30.00
Hardback 368 Pages
Published: 09/11/2023
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Ireland was England's oldest colony. Making Empire revisits the history of empire in Ireland—in a time of Brexit, 'the culture wars', and the campaigns around 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Statues must fall'—to better understand how it has formed the present, and how it might shape the future.

Empire and imperial frameworks, policies, practices, and cultures have shaped the history of the world for the last two millennia. It is nation states that are the blip on the historical horizon. Making Empire re-examines empire as process—and Ireland's role in it—through the lens of early modernity. It covers the two hundred years, between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century, that equate roughly to the timespan of the First English Empire (c.1550-c.1770s).

Ireland was England's oldest colony. How then did the English empire actually function in early modern Ireland and how did this change over time? What did access to European empires mean for people living in Ireland? This book answers these questions by interrogating four interconnected themes. First, that Ireland formed an integral part of the English imperial system, Second, that the Irish operated as agents of empire(s). Third, Ireland served as laboratory in and for the English empire. Finally, it examines the impact that empire(s) had on people living in early modern Ireland. Even though the book's focus will be on Ireland and the English empire, the Irish were trans-imperial and engaged with all of the early modern imperial powers. It is therefore critical, where possible and appropriate, to look to other European and global empires for meaningful comparisons and connections in this era of expansionism.

What becomes clear is that colonisation was not a single occurrence but an iterative and durable process that impacted different parts of Ireland at different times and in different ways. That imperialism was about the exercise of power, violence, coercion and expropriation. Strategies about how best to turn conquest into profit, to mobilise and control Ireland's natural resources, especially land and labour, varied but the reality of everyday life did not change and provoked a wide variety of responses ranging from acceptance and assimilation to resistance.

This book, based on the 2021 James Ford Lectures, Oxford University, suggests that the moment has come revisit the history of empire, if only to better understand how it has formed the present, and how this might shape the future.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192867681
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 758 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

In Making Empire, Jane Ohlmeyer assesses how imperial processes shaped developments in early-modern Ireland, and how Irish people-Catholic and Protestant-contributed to the formation of global empires. This lively, insightful and challenging narrative derives its authority from Ohlmeyer's archival research and her judicious appraisal of academic and literary productions. - Nicholas Canny, author of Imagining Ireland's Pasts (Oxford, 2021) and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, 1450-1850 (2011).

Jane Ohlmeyer has provided a masterful and sweeping overview of Ireland's role in the British empire. Displaying a huge breadth of original research, she offers a new story of early modern Ireland's contributions to the global world order, one that will shift our view of empire and help us understand how we live with its legacies today. - Sarah Covington, Professor of History at CUNY and author of The Devil from Over the Sea

A landmark new book ... Ohlmeyer is one of the most influential Irish historians of this century. - Chrisopher Kissane, Irish Times

Jane Ohlmeyer sheds fascinating light on Ireland's role in what became the British Empire. - Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent

[Making Empire] is the fruit of a lifetime's reflection on Ireland's multiple histories and of Ohlmeyer's immersion in their burgeoning historiographies. The result is not just an exemplar of the now not so new British history: it is a model for deprovincializing any national history under the long shadow of empire ...This is a truly new British-and-Irish history. - David Armitage, Times Literary Supplement

Impressive ... an outstanding book on a complicated subject that confirms ... Ohlmeyer's reputation as Ireland's leading public intellectual. - Crawford Gribben, Wall Street Journal

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