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Drawing on material from her book Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History, Dr. Kelly will discuss the role of the Famine in shaping Irish-American ethnic identity. Focusing on the long-term impact of the episode between the 1840s and 1990s, she explores the shadowed landscape of Famine legacy and its status in Irish-American culture today. Referencing contemporary press accounts and the writings of Famine survivors and their descendants, Dr. Kelly shows how interrogating Famine memory enables the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to deal with the material and emotional inheritance of this tragic experience.

Mary C. Kelly, Ph.D., is Professor of History at Franklin Pierce University, where she has taught for over twenty years. Her Masters in Modern Irish History is from National University of Ireland, Galway, and she earned a Ph.D. in Modern American History from Syracuse University. Her research explores Irish-American ethnic identity within spheres of faith, political culture, the enduring relationship with Ireland, and Irish-American involvement with the Irish Revolution. Her publications include books The Shamrock and the Lily (2005) and Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish American History (2016; 2014), and her current research encompasses nationalist expression and ethnic Irish Protestant contribution to the ethnic identity. Professor Kelly presents on Famine impact and memory, ethnic political culture, and immigrant settlement in Boston and New York. She was honored with a 2014 Keene State College President’s Outstanding Women in New Hampshire Award and the 2016 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Committee Ambassador Award.