Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland


Jennifer Redmond, Mary McAuliffe, Sandra McAvoy, Sonja Tiernan (Eds)

February 2015

This innovative and compelling collection tells the powerful story of gender history in Ireland and how the State treated its citizens on the basis on gender. It includes insights that challenge the concepts of masculinity, femininity and ‘otherness’ within Irish society, and a fascinating study of activists from various campaigns that surround the progression of Pro-Choice and Pro-Life since 1983.

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Foreword by Maria Luddy

This innovative collection offers a new understanding of sexual and gender politics in Ireland throughout the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries.

Leading experts in the field contribute to a captivating and controversial debate on sexuality in Irish Society, and specifically include explorations of lesbian histories, the treatment of intersex persons in Ireland, the patriarchal system, prostitution, sex education, and the ongoing and divisive issue of abortion. Ireland’s relationship between the Church and State is investigated and questioned, along with the ‘double standards’ attitude towards women and their position within the law. New arguments made by the contributors in gender and women’s history throughout this book offer a re-examination of our understanding of the Irish State and how it has treated, and continues to treat, its people on the basis of gender.

Table of Contents
Introduction: Politicising Sexuality in Modern Ireland ~ Jennifer Redmond, Sonja Tiernan, Sandra McAvoy, Mary McAuliffe

1. ‘Knowing Dissent: Lesbian Sub-culture in the Female Factories of Van Diemen’s Land ~ Bláthnaid Nolan
2. Elite Courtship: The Case of Mabel Smyly and Dermod O’Brien, 1901-1902 ~ Maeve O’Riordan
3. ‘Loose and immoral lives’: prostitution and the female criminal inebriate in Ireland, 1900-17 ~ Conor Reidy
4. The Politics of Emigrant Bodies: Irish Women’s Sexual Practice in Question ~ Jennifer Redmond
5. ’Whenever a woman was needed’: Garda Women Assistants in 1950s Dublin ~ John Johnston Kehoe
6. School Based Sex Education in Ireland 1996-2002: The Public Debate ~ Elizabeth Kiely
7. Breaking the Silence: Pro-Choice Activism in Ireland since 1983 ~ Mary Muldowney
8. Building Bodies: A Legal History of Intersex in Ireland ~ Tanya Ní Mhuirthile

About the Editors

Dr Jennifer Redmond is Lecturer in 20th Century Irish History at Maynooth University
Dr Sonja Tiernan is a Lecturer in Modern History at Liverpool Hope University
Dr Sandra McAvoy coordinates Women’s Studies in University College Cork
Dr Mary McAuliffe currently lectures on the Women’s Studies programmes at UCD