Sophie Cooper
20192022

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Personal profile

Research Focus

I'm a social and cultural historian of Ireland and the Irish diaspora, with a particular interest in gender, religion, and urban space. My research primarily focuses on the 19th century though I am finding myself increasingly dragged into the 20th!

My work is comparative and uses case studies in the United States and Australia as well as in Ireland and Britain to more fully examine ethnic communities and the activities which bond people together - including education, sport, religion, and associational culture. There are two strands to my most recent work which focuses on (1) the role of women religious (or nuns) in and outside of Ireland and (2) women and public space/the built environment during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

My first book, Forging Identities in the Irish World: Melbourne and Chicago, c.1830-1922, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press and will be available from February 2022. I am the Book Reviews Editor for the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies and also run the Irish Diaspora Histories website

Teaching

While I'm a historian by trade, I am currently a lecturer in Liberal Arts at Queen's. I try to take an interdisciplinary approach to my research - bringing together material culture, urban studies approaches, and histories of emotion - so having the opportunity to work with colleagues from across different disciplines is brilliant! It also means that I can work with our wonderful students, who are studying wildly different pathways, to help them to draw themes together from across a variety of modules and approaches - and, as always, I also get to learn from them!

I convene modules on the M.Liberal Arts degree, working with students across all four year groups. In the past, I have taught modules which cross my areas of research. Geographically, these have focused principally on Ireland, Britain, the British empire, and North America, while thematically they have largely been on social and urban history.

Other

I studied for my History undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter (with a short stint at Deakin University in Melbourne) before moving to Dublin to study for my M.Phil in Modern Irish History at Trinity College Dublin. I then spent a year working in the engineering industry and a further year working in and consulting with museums as a freelance researcher. During my PhD at the University of Edinburgh I was a William McFarlane Fellow, working closely with the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies. My PhD (awarded 2017) looked at Irish communities in Melbourne and Chicago during the nineteenth century and was supervised by Professor Enda Delaney and Dr Niall Whelehan. Between January 2020 and June 2021, I was Teaching Fellow in Irish History at the University of Leicester. Prior to this, I was the Research Fellow on the Scottish Irish Migration Initiative based between the University of Edinburgh and University College Dublin, and have also lectured at Northumbria University, University of Edinburgh, University of Newcastle, and Strathclyde University.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

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