Archive for June, 2013

A Post-Academic in NYC

I am fascinated and horrified by the ads for colleges that appear on subways. If you’ve been to NYC, you’ve seen them. They advertise institutions (we can argue about whether they are really “colleges” or not) no one has ever heard of like Touro and Mercy and something called Grace Institute. (CUNY places ads on the subway too, which is another story.) The ads usually feature a smiling student, someone who is coded as “immigrant” because he or she is olive-skinned or named “Svetlana.”

The ads ALL say something along the lines of “I was in a dead-end job with no future and no education. But [insert name of school] gave me the training I needed to find a new career in [medical assisting/accounting/business administration/hospitality], and now I am providing a better life for my family.” Though the language might differ slightly, every ad makes the same argument: do you…

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I was struck by the sheer intensity of the production, as it was the first time I had ever seen Les Misérables live in its legacy of nearly three decades.

The setting of revolutionary France was enhanced by the powerful bass tones of the orchestra. The cast was truly an ensemble.

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Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Burying the past

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

History at Galway

9781780878355I’ve just started reading Daša Drndić’s novel, Trieste, and came across these words of wisdom that I thought I should share with you:

Wars are games on a grand scale. Self-indulgent young men move little lead soldiers around on many-coloured maps. They draw in the gains. Then they go to bed. The maps hover in the sky like paper aeroplanes, then settle over cities, fields, mountains and rivers. They cover people, figurines, which the great strategians then shift elsewhere, move here, there, along with their houses and their stupid dreams. The maps of the unbridled military leaders cover what was there, bury the past. When the game is done, the warriors rest. Then historians step up to fashion falsehoods out of the heartless games of those who are never satiated. A new past is written which the new military leaders then draw on to new maps so the game…

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The voice of Eamon de Valera

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

History at Galway

Let me set the scene. It’s last Saturday afternoon, and I’m rooting through the crates of vinyl at the record fair at Electric Garden on Abbeygate Street in Galway city centre. The boxes are filled with the usual stuff: records from the seventies that someone now wishes they hadn’t gotten rid of, odd copies of Pet Shot Boys and Police LPs that they wish they’d never heard of, and a rare edition of Led Zeppelin IV with a misspelt cover that’s inexplicably worth hundreds as a result. And there, in the Irish section, set among the Microdisney and Fatima Mansions records, I came across this:


Ah, Galway. Always another twist when you least expect it. (I’ll post something here soon about the two individuals I saw a few weeks back, decked out in full mariner regalia and reciting dialogue from Moby Dick down by Spanish Arch. On a Saturday afternoon. In broad…

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Histories of humanitarianism

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

History at Galway

Last Thursday and Friday (20-21 June) my colleague Matthew Hilton (University of Birmingham) and I held the second of four workshops in our international research network, ‘Non-state Humanitarianism: From Colonialism to Human Rights’, at the Moore Institute here in NUI Galway. Across two days of papers, plenaries and roundtables, participants from Ireland, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States discussed, debated, critiqued and commented on a variety of issues facing historians of humanitarianism. You can have a look at the programme and descriptions of the papers here.

The aim of the network is simple: to map out the new histories of NGOs, missionary societies, philanthropists and charities that are beginning to be written across Europe and North America. It’s been an exciting process…

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Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

You Can Call Me Ashley

5 weeks in and I still feel like I only moved to France a few days ago, (I definitely look it too, never hard to spot the Irish girl even in the biggest of crowds!). Everyday I’m still meeting new people, finding new places and learning new things, what more could you ask for in life?

But it’s not all fun and games, there’s also work to be done! I came here for my market research internship and from 9am ’til 5.30pm, Monday to Friday (give or take on average at least one bank holiday a week) that’s what I do.

I’ve had a few slow starts, made some rookie mistakes and still say “Oui” to everything but these last few weeks I’ve picked up some new vocabulaire and conseils, and can safely say I can add to my list of how to survive in a French working environment!



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