Reshaping these islands: reconfiguring the United Kingdom, partition and the Treaty

Reshaping these islands: reconfiguring the United Kingdom, partition and the Treaty

Reshaping these islands: reconfiguring the United Kingdom, partition and the Treaty
Monday 27 September 2021, 6.00pm to 6.50pm BST
Past event
Past event
Monday 27 September 2021, 6.00pm to 6.50pm BST
  • Map showing border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Humanities, Social sciences

1920-1 are formative years in the reshaping of these islands. From the partition of Ireland in December 1920 to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921, both Ireland and the United Kingdom were transformed in ways that would influence the politics of the twentieth century - and these arrangements continue to shape political relations to this day. But at the heart of the reconfigurations of 1920-1 is the question of whether these developments were inevitable. Were they the outcome of decades - if not centuries of difference - between Irish and British populations? Could any other ‘solution’ for Ulster have been found that did not rest on the creation of a six-county Northern Ireland? What alternatives might have been possible and why did they not come about? Professor Eugenio Biagini, Professor Richard Bourke and Dr Niamh Gallagher, members of the Faculty of History, will debate these questions in a lively, panel discussion chaired by Dr Lucy Delap. 

Reshaping these islands: reconfiguring the United Kingdom, partition and the Treaty


Professor Richard Bourke (King's 1987 and Fellow of King's)

Image of Professor Richard Bourke

Richard Bourke is Professor of the History of Political Thought and a Fellow at King’s College, University of Cambridge. His publications include Peace in Ireland: The War of Ideas (2003) and Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (2015). He has co-edited (with Niamh Gallagher) The Political Thought of the Irish Revolution, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

Dr Niamh Gallagher (St Catharine's 2009 and Fellow of St Catharine's)

Niamh Gallagher

Niamh Gallagher is Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History. Her first book, Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History (Bloomsbury, 2019) won the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize. She is co-editor of The Political Thought of the Irish Revolution with Richard Bourke (forthcoming, CUP) and has written on the cultural and social history of the First World War. Niamh has appeared regularly on media, most recently on Michael Portillo's documentary, Partition, 1921. She is a member of the Independent Historical Advisory Panel for Northern Ireland and contributor to the President of Ireland's Machnamh 100 series. Niamh leads The Mether Initiative at St Catharine's College.

Professor Eugenio Biagini (Fellow of Sidney Sussex)

Image of Professor Eugenio Biagini

Eugenio Biagini is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. The founder of the Modern Irish History Seminar and the webinar sereis on 'The Future of the Island of Ireland' (, his books include British Democracy and Irish Nationalism 1876-1907 (2007), Storia dell'Irlanda dal 1845 a oggi (2014), The Cambridge Social History of Ireland (edited with Mary Daly, 2017), and (as General Editor) the Cultural History of Democracy (6 volumes, 2021). He is currently working on a book on the mindset of religious minorities in Catholic Ireland, 1912-1968.

Dr Lucy Delap (Queens' 1991 and Fellow of Murray Edwards)

Dr Lucy Delap

Lucy Delap is a Reader in Modern British and Gender history at the University of Cambridge, Deputy Chair of the Cambridge History Faculty, and Fellow of Murray Edwards College.  She has published widely on the history of feminism, gender, labour and religion, including the prize-winning The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the early twentieth centuryKnowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain in 2011, and Feminisms: a global history in 2020.  

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