"Of Irish Descent is a fresh, insightful and lucidly written view of genealogy and genetics among the Irish in the homeland and in the United States. This is a book well worth pondering. . . . A must buy."—Donald Akenson, Queen’s University
"Nash skillfully draws the attention of the reader to how collective belonging is reproduced both by the making of connections, attachments and affiliations and through practices of distinction and difference. . . . This book should be read by those interested in how primordial and plural claims to identity . . . interact and collide as they move across boundaries and are mobilized in different ways."—Breda Grey, author of Women and the Irish Diaspora
What does it mean to be of Irish descent? What does Irish descent stand for in Ireland? In Northern Ireland? In the United States? How are the categories of “native” and “settler” and accounts of ethnic origin being refigured through popular genealogy and population genetics?
Of Irish Descent addresses these questions by exploring the contemporary significance of ideas about ancestral roots, origins, and connections. Moving from the intimacy of family stories and reunions to disputed state policies on noble titles and new applications of genetic research, Nash traces the place of ancestry in interconnected geographies of identity—familial, ethnic, national, and diasporic. Underlying these different practices and narratives are potent and profoundly political questions about who counts as Irish and to whom Ireland belongs.
Examining tensions between ideas of plurality and commonality, difference and connection that run through the culture and science of ancestral origins, Of Irish Descent is an original and timely exploration of
new configurations of nation and diaspora as communities of shared descent.
Catherine Nash is professor of geography at Queen Mary, University of London. She has written numerous articles in the fields of feminist cultural geography, geographies of relatedness, and Irish studies.
6 x 9, 368 pages