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Professor Sonja Tiernan

Eamon Cleary Chair 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 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 interest is primarily modern Irish history with a focus on social and gender politics. She has published widely in these areas including a co-edited volume on Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland. Many of her publications have focused on the recovery of the poet, playwright and political activist Eva Gore-Booth. The recovery of this previously overlooked Irish character has been broadly welcomed. In 2012, Sonja was invited to present her biography Eva Gore-Booth; an image of such politics to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. In 2015, President Higgins presented a key note address at the Trade Union Congress in London based on Sonja’s publication; The Political Writings of Eva Gore-Booth. In 2018, the President wrote the foreword to Sonja’s volume of Eva Gore-Booth: Collected Poems.

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 any of my research areas.

Editorial and advisory responsibilities

  • I am an evaluator for the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme
  • I act as an Advisory Council Member of the British Association of Irish Studies and as Editorial board member of Breac: a digital journal of Irish Studies
  • I act as a peer reviewer for the following:
    • Irish Historical Studies
    • History Research journal
    • University College Dublin (UCD) Press

Current research

My next monograph, which is on the history of the marriage equality movement in Ireland, is currently in press with Manchester University Press and is due for publication early in 2020.

I recently completed a chapter on women and the conscription crisis in Ireland during World War One which is also in press and will be published in a volume on Women and the Decade of Commemorations, edited by Oona Frawley to be published by Indiana University Press soon.

I have recently started a new research project on twentieth century feminist activism in Ireland which I plan to complete as a monograph. In 2019, I am grateful to have received two fellowships to begin research for this volume; the Moore Institute Visiting Fellowship at the National University of Ireland, Galway; and the Keough-Naughton Library Research Award at the University of Notre Dame. 

I am currently writing chapters for two edited volumes both of which are due to be published in 2020; an examination of the official organ of the Irish Housewives Association, The Irish Housewife, to be published in Volume II of Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth Century Ireland; and an account of Eva and Constance Gore-Booth for an edition to be published by the Royal Irish Academy, edited by Mary O’Dowd, stemming from an exhibition entitled Sisters held in the RIA in 2019.

Selected publications

Tiernan, S. (2020). Marriage Equality: A social revolution in Ireland. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press [In press: publication due 2020]

Tiernan, S. (2012) Eva Gore-Booth: An Image of Such Politics. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. 296p

Tiernan, S. (2018). (Ed.), Eva Gore-Booth: collected poems with foreword by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. New York, NY: Syracuse University Press, 440p

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

Tiernan, S. (Ed.), (2010). Fiametta: a previously unpublished play by Eva Gore-Booth. New York, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 129p

Tiernan, S., & McAuliffe, M. (Eds.), (2009). Sapphists and Sexologists: Histories of Sexualities Volume II. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars. 260p

McAuliffe, M., & Tiernan, S. (Eds.), (2008). Tribades, Tommies and Transgressives: Histories of Sexualities Volume I. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars. 350p

Redmond, J., Tiernan, S., McAvoy, S., & McAuliffe, M. (Eds.), (2008). Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Academic Press, 208p

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Publications

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

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

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

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

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

Other Research Output

Tiernan, S. (2018, June). The "Votes for Women" campaign: From Lissadell House to the House of Commons [Plenary address]. British-Irish Parlimentary Assembly, Sligo, Ireland. [Public Seminar].

Tiernan, S., Cameron, E., & Hanley, B. (2018, December). The 1918 General Election and the break-up of the United Kingdom. Panel Discussion, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. [Department Seminar].

Tiernan, S. (2017, August).'The Gore-Booth sisters in Manchester: Suffrage, socialism and sobriety. Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester, UK. [Public Lecture].

Tiernan, S. (2017, August).'Dangerous trends in Ireland': Hilda Tweedy & The Irish Housewives Association. Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester, UK. [Public Lecture].

Tiernan, S. (2016, August). A reading of Eva Gore-Booth: An image of such politics. Over the Edge Literary Events, Galway City Library, Ireland. [Public Address].

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Authored Book - Research

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

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Edited Book - Research

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

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

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

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

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Edited Book - Other

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

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

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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.

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.

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

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

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].

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.

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.

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Journal - Research Article

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

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.

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.

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Tiernan, S. (2018, February). 'Make men of you all': The inconvenience of suffrage in Irish nationalist and labour movements. Panel discussion at the Representation, Gender and Politics Conference: Past and Present, Dublin, Ireland.

Tiernan, S. (2018, February). Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth: The revolt of the daughters. Verbal presentation at the Suffrage and Society, Then and Now Conference: Reflections on the Representation of the People Act, 1918, Belfast, UK.

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.

Mark-Fitzgerald, E., Speller, I., Casserly, M., Tiernan, S., & Evershed, J. (2016, September). Reflecting on the 2016 Commemorations [Roundtable discussion]. Verbal presentation at the After the Rising, After the Somme Symposium: Reflections on Commemoration in 2016, Maynooth, Ireland.

Tiernan, S. (2016, October). 'Leave your jewels and gold wands in the bank and buy a revolver': Women and the fight for Irish independence. Verbal presentation at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies (CAIS) Conference: 1916: The Easter Rising and its aftermath, Ottawa, Canada.

Tiernan, S. (2015). Courage, conscience and conscription: The female force of conscientious objection in World War One. Keynote presentation at the Irish Women in the First World War Era, Maynooth, Ireland.

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