Ireland/Northern Ireland 1969-1994
Course Syllabus and
and Course Guide
Class # 12812
This is an upper level History course designed for those with both a cursory and strong interest in Irish History and the “Troubles.” You should be confident in your writing skills and possess a willingness to read and to critically analyze historical material. You will also need computer, Internet skills as the course materials will be online, and I will keep in touch with you by email.
The University of Pittsburgh e-mail Policy 09-10-01 states:
Each student is issued a University e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) upon admittance. This e-mail address may be used by the University for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mail sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications. The University provides an e-mail forwarding service that allows students to read their e-mail via other service providers (e.g., Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Students that choose to forward their e-mail from their pitt.edu address to another address do so at their own risk. If e-mail is lost as a result of forwarding, it does not absolve the student from responding to official communications sent to their University e-mail address.
The link to this policy is located at: http://www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-10-01.html
Cell Phone and Texting Policy:
When you enter this class you are to put away your cell phone and turn it off. For each time that I see any student using a cell phone to text in the class, I will take off 5 points on your next assignment for ALL students in the class. So, it is your collective responsibility to make sure that there is no texting in the class.
Time: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
There are 11 "Official" Workshops. On the weeks we do not meet I will hold office hours from 6-8:30pm at Einstein's in Posvar Hall. These will be informal discussions where you can ask questions and just discuss the class.
When possible, we will also have people from Northern Ireland talk directly to you over the Internet by Skype. I will announce these during the term.
Official Meeting Days:
NOTE: This is different thant the one on PeopleSoft. This is the official schedule.
There are 11 class meetings out of 15 weeks.
Although, not mandatory, I highly recommend attending all 11 classes throughout the term.
In this class you will be expected to not only learn the history of this period, but also to think about and analyze it in depth; while attempting to do this as objectively as possible. There will also be a significant amount of reading in this class and I expect that you keep up with it. In the Workshops, we will supplement the readings, watch, and discuss documentary footage concerning the “Troubles.” You will come to your own conclusions in the Workshops and on the papers. I do not want you to repeat what I or the readings say.
Grading and Requirements for the Course:
Course Materials – ALL ARE REQUIRED
All but Edwards and McGrattan are 2 hour reserve in the library.
All but Edwards and McGrattan are 2 hour reserve in the library.
McKittrick and McVea, take a very even-handed approach and provide a solid analysis of the period under study. Edwards' and McGratttan's work is brand new and at times very controversial, see pages 22 and 24, but is a very good overview of the conflict and its "resolution." I chose Peter Taylor’s books because his two works provide the view “from the street,” so to speak, as we read how the Loyalists (all the Loyalist groupings) and the Republicans (mainly Provisional IRA) viewed the conflict, why they fought, and how they eventually moved from the military struggle to the political struggle. Students should read these two books in their entirety. McKittrick/McVea is very good for providing an understanding of the “Troubles,” but Taylor’s works take us directly into the lives of those who fought the war.
Course Materials - STRONGLY RECOMMENDED - Documentaries
We are using Peter Taylor's work on the IRA, the British and the Loyalists for this class. His books were done in conjunction with a series of documentaries. You can watch the documentaries in full here:
CourseWeb - REQUIRED
This is a web-based course; therefore, you will be actively using the course site as well as links to other related web-based sites. To access the online portion of the course:
I have also linked many primary documents, video and audio files into the course. They are all located on Courseweb: courseweb.pitt.edu
There are many audio and video files on Courseweb. To access them and the primary documents you will need to access the Courseweb through the Pitt Portal. Go to my.pitt.edu
I divided the Online Study Guide into three sections and one extra section on the Good Friday Agreement. The Section on the Good Friday Agreement is for your own information and for further study.
The course is structured with the following components in each of the three major sections.
· Units: Including Commentary, Readings, and Study Questions
"The Irish want their History like they want a Chinese carryout. They want it fast, hot and to their taste."
Harry Donaghy - 2009
The historical and political situation in Northern Ireland is “loaded” emotionally for many Americans of Irish descent and for those who see the conflict in terms of Imperialism and Colonialism and the fight of a “small nation to be free and united.” However, what our investigation will show is that this conflict was/is much more complicated than the simple slogans one hears about it or in simple terms, such as “Brits Out” or “No Surrender.” What this class will attempt to do is take the emotion and the preconceived notions out of the discussion and instead analyze this period and its actors in all their complexity.
Consequently, the way in which we approach this subject is going to be very different from what you might expect. As, I stated above, we will not examine this period in the, in my view, simplistic terms of a conflict between the IRA and the British state, or as part of an anti-imperialist struggle. Both are legitimate methods of analysis but do not go far enough or deep enough in explaining the protracted and very violent struggle in Northern Ireland. Nor do they help us understand why, after not achieving their aims, the IRA ended the armed struggle and why the Loyalists, who fought the war with the IRA, were willing to bargain with the IRA and accept the fact that 50 years of Unionist rule had been 50 years of Unionist misrule.
The class will also not "romanticize" revolutionary and/or counter-revolutionary violence. Violence, regardless of its purpose, claims real and often innocent victims leaving behind a "ruthless deposit of hatred and hurt" that is hard, if not impossible, to overcome. This class will investigate where this violence comes from and the nature of it, but will not romanticize it nor "heroicize" it.
To see what Revolutionary and Counter-Revolutionary violence really means to those who suffer it, read Susan McKay's book Bear in Mind These Dead and view the following video.
Our methodology in this class will take a twin-track approach.
To accomplish this task using this methodology we will spend much of Section 2, Section 3 focusing on and examining the paramilitaries on both sides rather than focusing on the political actions of the various governments and constitutional political parties in Northern Ireland. Although this may seem strange, there is a very simple reason for this approach. What we will discover is that it did not matter what the governments and constitutional parties tried to do in terms of ending the conflict. Those efforts were doomed to failure if the paramilitaries did not want them to work. The failures of all the peace initiatives from 1972 to 1994 are clear evidence of that. As author Padraig O’Malley (1997) argues, “Britain could not impose a solution; she could not impose either majority rule on the Nationalists or an Irish Dimension on the Unionists.” (p. 379). Throughout this period, the IRA had the ability to sabotage any effort at a settlement if that settlement did not fit into their final goal of a United Ireland. On the other hand, as we will see, the Loyalists in alliance, at times, with the Unionist constitutional parties had the ability to make Northern Ireland ungovernable if the settlement or policies did not take into account the Loyalist fears, concerns and desires, in particular the security of the Union. Therefore, the most Britain could do was impose or propose a framework that would establish the "reference points for a satisfactory agreement" (p. 379). Therefore, in Sections 2 and 3 our examination will focus on the actions and changes within Republicanism and Loyalism, both militarily and politically, to understand how, within the framework for peace the political elites, as studied in Dixon and McKittrick-McVea, tried to create, Loyalism and Republicanism, nearly simultaneously, moved towards the transformation of the military struggle into a political struggle.
Utilizing the above mentioned methodology, this class will examine and analyze, as objectively as is possible in dealing with such a volatile subject, the three main periods of the “Troubles” to understand how the “Troubles” began; why the period 1969-1994 became so violent; and how the peace process finally began and to some extent has succeeded.
1. The first goal is to provide you with an understanding of how and why the “Troubles” began in the 1960s. Here we will examine the history of the “The Static Society,” as McKittrick and McVea call it, in creating the basis of the “Troubles.”
2. The second goal is to understand how and why many ordinary people on both sides of the sectarian divide took up arms to fight what they each saw as a “just war.” Within this study, we will examine how those on all sides gradually came to the realization that the conflict had to end someday with a political solution, not a military one.
3. The third goal is to analyze and understand how Northern Ireland moved away from the 25 years of military conflict and examine how the transformation of the military conflict into a political one took place.
When you complete this course, you will:
Before you begin the readings for this course, use the Resources listed below to familiarize yourself with Northern Ireland, the terminology that we will use throughout the course and the timeline that will keep you "located" in the proper period throughout the course. Refer to them often.
Many students take Hybrid courses and do not avail themselves of the professor/s when they need help. Do not do that! I am on campus most days of the week. I am also available on the weekends and would be happy to meet, talk, Skype or email you at anytime. So, if you are having problems or are struggling with your paper of the readings or anything contact me IMMEDIATELY! Simply contact me through the information listed on the syllabus.
How to Study for this Course:
1. Make sure you read the objectives listed at the beginning of each section. These are crucial for what you should get out of each section and the course as a whole.
2. Read commentary and background provided in the Study Guide. Then do the required readings assigned for each section.
3. Click on the hyperlinks I have created for individuals, parties and events to take you directly to explanations and/or definitions of each.
4. Answer the study questions at the end of each unit on your own. Make sure you can do these before you move on. If you have problems or questions, contact me ASAP.
5. Study the review terms in the Study Guide. If you are unsure of the review terms, do not proceed to the next unit without either referring to one of the recommended general texts or contacting to me.
6. Remember, to do well in this class you should put yourself on a tight study schedule, keep up with the reading, contact me when you need help and come to the Workshops.
Students are expected to complete course work during the term in which they are enrolled.
For this course, a G-Grade will be granted only with the consent of the instructor and only in extenuating circumstances. The G-Grade for this class only allows one additional term to complete the course work. If it is not completed then, I will convert your grade to the letter grade you earned with an F given for the uncompleted work. This G-Grade requirement supersedes any other printed statement in the Study Guide for students enrolled this term.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an
All Hybrid (UESP) course students are expected to observe the same code of academic honesty required of all University of Pittsburgh Students. The conduct below constitutes a violation of this code.
Taking of Information
Tendering of Information
You will complete all work for this course according to an "Honor System." Your signature, electronically (Typing it in) or written on your paper verifies that this is your work. You may collaborate with anyone on your paper, but it must be your original work.
You will run into a great number of acronyms and confusing terms. Please refer to the back of McKittrick-McVea (pp. 331-337) if the terms become confusing. One important point needs to be made about the terminology used in this Study Guide. I will be using the terms Nationalists, Republicans, Unionists, and Loyalists throughout the Study Guide. Be aware that:
1. Nationalists and Republicans are Catholic, for the most part.
2. Unionists and Loyalists are Protestant, for the most part.
3. Nationalists support the reunification of Ireland through constitutional political means.
4. In the period under study - Republicans support the reunification of Ireland through the armed struggle.
5. Unionists, for the most part, support the maintenance of the Union with Britain though Constitutional and political means.
6. In the period under study - Loyalists, who are 100% working class support the maintenance of the Union with Britain through the armed struggle.
These are generalizations, but they tend to hold for the purposes of our study.
Important and Helpful Websites for the Course - I have created this list for you to use and refer to throughout the course. Please use them as you will find them extremely helpful throughout this course.
Newspapers -Newspapers that are online that can be of great help to you in your research and studies:
Below are listed a number of books, by no means exhaustive, that I would
recommend that you eventually read, or browse through. They are all very good in dealing with
their particular subjects. I will be
quoting from many of them and using them during the term. Books I STRONGLY RECOMMEND for all of you to buy for yourself is: