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Professor Sonja Tiernan

Eamon Cleary Professor of Irish Studies

Sonja Tiernan image

Contact details

Tel +64 3 479 8634
Email sonja.tiernan@otago.ac.nz
Office G01 Ground Floor
99 Albany Street
Dunedin

Mail
Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Sonja Tiernan is the Eamon Cleary Professor of Irish Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies. Originally from Dublin, she studied at University College Dublin and has held visiting fellowships at the National Library of Ireland; Trinity College Dublin; Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame; School of Irish Studies, Concordia University Canada and most recently she was awarded a Moore Institute visiting fellowship at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Professor Tiernan has received funding from prestigious sources in support of her research including from the Irish Research Council, Royal Irish Academy, National Endowment of the Humanities USA and the National University of Ireland.

Professor Tiernan’s research interests are primarily modern Irish history with a focus on social and gender politics. She has published widely in these areas including her most recent monograph, Irish Women’s Speeches: Voices that Rocked the System, published in November 2021, this best-selling book includes thirty-three inspiring speeches by women of Ireland from the nineteenth century to the present. This anthology showcases the stirring contributions that Irish women have made both to modern Irish society and to global development.

Academic qualifications

MA(Hons);  PhD (University College Dublin)

Expertise

Modern Irish history; gender and women’s history; labour and social reform movements; the history of crime and punishment.

Research supervision

I welcome research proposals in the field of modern Irish history particularly in the areas of social reform movements; public history and commemoration; women’s history; the history of sexuality in Ireland; the rebellious years and Irish independence. I would be particularly keen to hear from students interested in researching historical connections between Ireland and New Zealand, broadly conceived.

Teaching

  • GEND 402 Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland
  • HIST 242 Histories of Crime and Punishment
  • HIST 430 Special Topic: Commemorating Irish History

Editorial and advisory responsibilities

Current research

Articles currently in press include:

  • Sonja Tiernan, ‘“A political nonentity with infants, criminals, and lunatics”: first wave feminism in Ireland 1872-1922,” in Gender History: Ireland (1852-1922) Jyoti Atwal, Ciara Breathnach and Sarah-Anne Buckley (eds). Under contract with Routledge India, due for publication in 2022. Open access funded by Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Decade of Centenary strand.
  • Sonja Tiernan, ‘“Two girls in silk kimonos” Constance and Eva Gore-Booth: childhood and political development, in Sisters Mary O’Dowd and Siobhán Fitzpatrick (eds). To be published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2022.

Sonja is co-editor on two volumes in preparation:

  • Jennifer Redmond, Sonja Tiernan and Mary McAuliffe (eds) Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland Volume Two: A Reader under contract with Indiana University Press for publication in 2023.
  • John Cunningham, Francis Devine and Sonja Tiernan (eds) Labour & Class in Irish History: Essays to Celebrate Fifty Years of the Irish Labour History Society, 1973-2023, contracted by Umiskin Press to be published in May 2023 as part of the Irish Labour History Society’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations.

Monograph:

Sonja is currently researching a monograph publication stemming from Irish Women’s Speeches.

Externally funded research:

Please see the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies Research page for details on Sonja’s most recent externally funded research project – Irish in Aotearoa New Zealand funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland.

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Publications

Tiernan, S. (2022, March). Irish women's speeches: Voices that rocked the system. Women's History Month Event, Irish American Heritage Museum, [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.irish-us.org/events/dr-sonja-tiernan-irish-womens-speeches-voices-rocked-system

Tiernan, S. (2022, April). Mapping the Irish in Aotearoa. The Detail Podcast, RNZ. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/programmes/the-detail/story/2018838684/mapping-the-irish-in-aotearoa

Tiernan, S. (2022). The big read: Irish women's speakers: Rocking the system. Better Business, (Spring), 54-55.

Tiernan, S. (2022). [Review of the book New Zealand's response to the 1916 rising]. Estudios Irlandeses, 17, 254-256. doi: 10.24162/EI2022-10767

Tiernan, S. (2021). The (out)law of foreign adoption in Ireland: Jane Russell and her Irish baby. In S. Ryan (Ed.), Birth and the Irish: A miscellany. (pp. 281-284). Dublin, Ireland: Wordwell.

Tiernan, S. (2021). Irish women's speeches: Voices that rocked the system. Dublin, Ireland: University College Dublin Press, 370p.

Authored Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2020). History of marriage equality in Ireland: A social revolution begins. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 192p.

Authored Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2012). Eva Gore-Booth: An image of such politics. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 296p.

Authored Book - Research

Redmond, J., McAuliffe, M., McAvoy, S., & Tiernan, S. (Eds.). (2015). Sexual politics in modern Ireland. Newbridge, UK: Irish Academic Press, 208p.

Edited Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (Ed.). (2015). The political writings of Eva Gore-Booth. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 264p.

Edited Book - Research

Tiernan, S., & McAuliffe, M. (Eds.). (2009). Sapphists and sexologists: Histories of sexualities: Volume 2. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 260p.

Edited Book - Research

McAuliffe, M., & Tiernan, S. (Eds.). (2008). Tribades, tommies, and transgressives: Histories of sexualities: Vol. 1. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 350p.

Edited Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (Ed.). (2018). Eva Gore-Booth: Collected Poems. Galway, Ireland: Arlen House, 440p.

Edited Book - Other

Tiernan, S. (Ed.). (2010). Fiametta: A previously unpublished play by Eva Gore-Booth. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 132p.

Edited Book - Other

Tiernan, S. (2021). "No conscription now! Or after the harvest": Remembering women and anti-conscription in Ireland and England. In O. Frawley (Ed.), Women and the decade of commemorations. (pp. 107-123). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2021). The (out)law of foreign adoption in Ireland: Jane Russell and her Irish baby. In S. Ryan (Ed.), Birth and the Irish: A miscellany. (pp. 281-284). Dublin, Ireland: Wordwell.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2021). The mouthpiece of the ordinary women: Empowering women through The Irish Housewife magazine. In M. O'Brien & F. M. Larkin (Eds.), Periodicals and journalism in twentieth-century Ireland 2: A variety of voices. (pp. 203-219). Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2019). Sesame Street, drag queens and religion: The introduction of marriage for same-sex couples in Ireland. In S. Ryan (Ed.), Marriage and the Irish: A miscellany. (pp. 258-260). Dublin, Ireland: Wordwell.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2016). 'The revolt of daughters?' The Gore-Booth sisters. In A. Hayes & M. Meagher (Eds.), A century of progress? Irish women reflect. (pp. 65-85). Dublin, Ireland: Arlen House.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2016). Countess Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth. In E. Biagini & D. Mulhall (Eds.), The shaping of modern Ireland: A centenary assessment. (pp. 185-197). Sallins, UK: Irish Academic Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2015). Fennell, Nuala. In J. McGuire & J. Quinn (Eds.), Dictionary of Irish biography. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a9736

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2014). Levine, June. In J. McGuire & J. Quinn (Eds.), Dictionary of Irish biography. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a9670

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2014). ‘Challenging the headship of man’: Militant suffragism and the Irish Citizen. In M. O'Brien & F. M. Larkin (Eds.), Periodicals & Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland. (pp. 61-74). Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2012). Undercover of The Irish Housewife: A woman's magazine for a new age. In A. Hayes (Ed.), Hilda Tweedy and the Irish Housewives Association: Links in the chain... (pp. 105-116). Dublin, Ireland: Arlen House.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2011). "The women’s suffrage movement among trade unionists": Eva Gore-Booth. In T. K. Wayne (Ed.), Feminist Writings from ancient times to the modern world: A global sourcebook and history: Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. [Encyclopaedia/Dictionary Entry].

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2010). Sligo co-operative movements (1895-1905): The birth of an Irish political activist. In S. Alcobia-Murphy, L. Mulligan & D. Wall (Eds.), Founder to shore: Cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies. (pp. 189-196). Aberdeen, UK: Aberdeen University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2009). "It should not be so easy to construct a man:" A history of female to male transsexuality in the journal Urania. In S. Tiernan & M. McAuliffe (Eds.), Sapphists and sexologists: Histories of sexualities: Vol. 2. (pp. 56-71). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2008). "Engagements dissolved": Eva Gore-Booth, Urania and the radical challenge to marriage. In M. McAuliffe & S. Tiernan (Eds.), Tribades, tommies, and transgressives: Histories of sexualities: Vol. 1. (pp. 128-144). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2008). "No measures of emancipation or equality will suffice": Eva Gore-Booth's revolutionary feminism in the journal Urania. In S. O'Connor & C. C. Shepard (Eds.), Women, social and cultural change in twentieth century Ireland" Dissenting voices? (pp. 166-182). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Chapter in Book - Research

Tiernan, S. (2011). Challenging presumptions of heterosexuality: Eva Gore-Booth, a biographical case study. Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, 37(2), 58-71. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41403720

Journal - Research Article

Tiernan, S. (2010). Tabloid sensationalism or revolutionary feminism? The first-wave feminist movement in an Irish women’s periodical. Irish Communications Review, 12(1), 6.

Journal - Research Article

Tiernan, S. (2009). "A zealous Catholic and notorious trouble-maker": The Gormanston Papers in the National Library of Ireland. Ríocht na Midhe, XX, 171-181.

Journal - Research Article

Tiernan, S. (2009). Hidden in plain sight: Uncovering the history of Meath women. Ríocht na Midhe, XXI, 93-109.

Journal - Research Article

Tiernan, S. (2022). [Review of the book New Zealand's response to the 1916 rising]. Estudios Irlandeses, 17, 254-256. doi: 10.24162/EI2022-10767

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2021). [Review of the book Women and the Irish Revolution: Feminism, activism, violence]. Saothar, 46, 39-40. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2020). [Review of the book Fearless woman: Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, feminism and the Irish Revolution]. Irish Historical Studies, 44(166), 394-395. doi: 10.1017/ihs.2020.54

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2020). [Review of the book Patrick Pearse and the theatre / Mac Piarais agus an Téatar]. Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 43, 246-248. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2019). [Review of the book Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, suffragette and Sinn Féiner: Her memoirs and political writings]. English Historical Review, 134(568), 747-749. doi: 10.1093/ehr/cez123

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2019). [Review of the book Markievicz: Prison letters & rebel writings]. Women's History Review, 28(3), 520-521. doi: 10.1080/09612025.2019.1576287

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2018). [Review of the book Markievicz: A most outrageous rebel]. Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 41, 323-325. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26435242

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2018). [Review of the book Winning the vote for women: The Irish Citizen newspaper and the suffrage movement in Ireland]. Irish Historical Studies, 42(162), 381-382. doi: 10.1017/ihs.2018.54

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2015). [Review of the book Ada English: Patriot and psychiatrist]. Irish Historical Studies, 39(156), 708-709. doi: 10.1017/ihs.2015.44

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2013). A city in conflict. Saothar, 38, 131-133. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24897898

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2012). In defence of barmaids: the Gore-Booth sisters take on Winston Churchill. History Ireland, 20(3), 34-36. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41507249

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2011). [Review of the book Rosamond Jacob: Third person singular]. Saothar, 36, 113-114. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23200054

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2011). Hilda Tweedy: The original desperate housewife? History Ireland, 19(6), 6-7.

Journal - Research Other

Tiernan, S. (2022). The big read: Irish women's speakers: Rocking the system. Better Business, (Spring), 54-55.

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Tiernan, S. (2021). Irish women who rocked the patriarchal system with their words. Irish Times, (27 November). Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/irish-women-who-rocked-the-patriarchal-system-with-their-words-1.4737481

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Tiernan, S. (2018). Markievicz written out of Constitution by de Valera: De Valera’s redrafting of the Constitution in 1937 wiped out record of successes made by ‘people’s countess’. Irish Times, (15 August). [Commentary].

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Tiernan, S. (2017). A stalwart lady of the new Ireland. The Irish Catholic, 16 November. Retrieved from https://www.irishcatholic.com/stalwart-lady-new-ireland

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Tiernan, S. (2012). Eva Gore-Booth: Champion of the barmaids. Irish Independent, (30 June).

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Tiernan, S. (2019). Anti-conscription movements in Britain, Ireland and Australia during World War One. Proceedings of the 24th Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (ISAANZ) Conference: Foregrounding Irish Women: The Antipodes and Beyond. (pp. 37). Retrieved from https://www.flinders.edu.au/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Tiernan, S. (2017). 'There can be nothing right in a country where such a thing is possible': Women’s campaigns to abolish capital punishment in interwar Britain” [Plenary]. Proceedings of the Genfering Peace in Europe, 1918-1945 Conference. Retrieved from http://genderingpeace.group.shef.ac.uk

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Tiernan, S. (2021, June). 'The Irish question and its lessons for colonists': The shared kinship of Ireland and New Zealand. Keynote presentation at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies (CAIS)/Association canadienne d’études irlandaises (ACEI) Annual Meeting, [Online].

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Tiernan, S. (2018). A curious sort of affinity: Eva Gore-Booth’s transatlantic campaign on behalf of Roger Casement. Keynote presentation at the 5th Transatlantic Connections Conference, Bundoran, Ireland.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

More publications...