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RESD alumna publishes book on Irish immigrant struggles

UMass Lowell alumna Mary Lee Dunn (MA, 2003) adapted her RESD master's thesis as a book that was accepted for publication by the University of Massachusetts Press. Its working title is Ballykilcline Rising - From Famine Ireland to Immigrant America.

Ms. Dunn was notified that her study of Irish Famine farmers from County Roscommon, who mounted a rent strike for more than twelve years against Crown authorities and then were evicted because of it and sent to America, has been accepted by UMass Press for publication after peer review and consideration by its board of directors. Her work traced dozens of evicted farmers to Rutland, Vermont where they joined the marble industry work force as it boomed after railroad construction. She examined the context of their strike in Ireland and traced their efforts to re-build community and gain a foothold in industrializing immigrant America. 

Ballykilcline RisingUsing multiple sources including Irish estate, newspaper, and police records, and American census records along with some genealogical techniques, she showed that some Ballykilcline farmers joined marble strikes in Rutland between 1859 and 1868 and likely lost their homes a second time due to protest actions. She looked at their literacy, networking, acquisition of assets, and roles in the Civil War and Fenianism as indicators of agency. As historian Tyler Anbinder found studying other famine immigrants, some of her subjects built surprising assets despite their onerous personal histories and their lack of job skills when they entered the United States.

Dunn's study is a follow-up to New York University historian Robert Scally's book The End of Hidden Ireland/Rebellion, Famine, & Emigration (Oxford, 1995), which ended when the strikers arrived in New York City in 1847 and 1848.

Dunn followed a history track in RESD. Robert Forrant was her thesis advisor and her committee members were John Wooding and Laurence Gross. She also thanks Charles Levenstein of Work Environment, and RESD's Phil Moss, and Chris Tilly for leads and guidance.

RESD Graduate Hit the Airwaves 

Isa Bauer CannRESD's M.A. graduate Isa Bauer Cann ventured to help create awareness around the multi-faceted topic of sustainable development (SD) within the Northeastern Massachusetts community through her WUML radio news segment, "The Long View". It was broadcast on Thursday mornings just after 10 am during "Thinking Out Loud", produced by another RESD graduate, Dan Toomey.

Don Leonard '03 Reports from the Peace Corps in Bolivia

Don Leonard"The past year has been marked with difficult learning experiences and rewarding moments of understanding between my Bolivian neighbors and me. It continues to be difficult to be so far away from the country and the people that I care about so much, all the while coping with barriers of language, culture, and the adjustments of "third world" living. But as I recently told a group of arriving volunteers, for me the opportunity to observe and be a part of such a unique and culturally rich community makes my Peace Corps service by far the most selfish thing I've ever done."

Recent Article:  Reflections on a Small Country in Turmoil (pdf)