Marion R. Casey, "The Green Space: The Transformation of the Irish Image" (NYU Press, 2024)


Marion Casey is a professor at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University where she also serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies. She has published widely on various aspects of Irish-American history and in 2006 she co-edited Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States with Joe Lee.

In this interview, she discusses Her most recent book The Green Space: The Transformation of the Irish Image (NYU Press, 2024), which surveys the changing images of Ireland and Irishness in American popular culture.

The Green Space examines the variety of factors that contributed to remaking the Irish image from downtrodden and despised to universally acclaimed. To understand the forces that molded how people understand “Irish” is to see the matrix—the green space—that facilitated their interaction between the 1890s and 1960s. Marion R. Casey argues that, as “Irish” evolved between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, a visual and rhetorical expanse for representing ethnicity was opened up in the process. The evolution was also transnational; both Ireland and the United States were inextricably linked to how various iterations of “Irish” were deployed over time—whether as a straightforward noun about a specific people with a national identity or a loose, endlessly malleable adjective only tangentially connected to actual ethnic identity.

Featuring a rich assortment of sources and images, The Green Space takes the history of the Irish image in America as a prime example of the ways in which culture and identity can be manufactured, repackaged, and ultimately revolutionized. Understanding the multifaceted influences that shaped perceptions of “Irishness” holds profound relevance for examining similar dynamics within studies of various immigrant and ethnic communities in the US.

The Green Space: The Transformation of the Irish Image is published with NYU Press, as part of their Irish Diaspora series

Aidan Beatty is a lecturer in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University

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Aidan Beatty

Aidan Beatty teaches in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University.

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