Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Seminar

History Brown Bag Seminar ‘Colonialism, Anarchism, and the Transnational Life of an Irish-Argentine Doctor in the late 19th century’

  • Niall Whelehan (Edinburgh University)
Wednesday 1 June 2016
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden

John Creaghe was an Irish-born doctor who became a central figure in the development of the Argentinian anarchist movement from the late-1880s till he departed in 1911. To historians of anarchism he is probably best known for a two-year stay in Sheffield, England in the early 1890s, where he established a newspaper and was generally considered a thorn in the side of the broader labour movement due to his perceived extremism, before he returned to Argentina to establish the first regular anarchist journal there.

Yet very little is known of his life previous to the early 1890s, and indeed after it. How did someone born in the west of Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine come to play such a prominent role in Argentine anarchism? From an Irish history perspective, Creaghe was a misfit, and his story is important because it challenges some of our assumptions about late-nineteenth century Ireland. But his historical significance also lies in his role as a connector, a link-person who gives us a key to explore the interconnected worlds of social radicalism in Ireland, the United States, Britain and Argentina in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Creaghe’s life reveals fascinating fragments from an era of mass movement. This lecture will focus on his early years and how they provide insights into migrant encounters with indigenous cultures, the roles of migrants in the ‘informal British imperialism’ in Argentina and, finally, the transnational reach of the idealism of the Irish Land League movement in the early 1880s.

Joost Augusteijn will be the discussant. 

For more details, please contact Irial Glynn.

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