Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am willing to supervise PhDs in the fields of:
- Irish diaspora history
- Religious history (particularly those relating to female religious orders)
-Nineteenth and early-twentieth century social history


Research activity per year

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. My first book, Forging Identities in the Irish World: Melbourne and Chicago, c.1830-1922, was published with Edinburgh University Press in February 2022. In 2023, this book was awarded the Lawrence J. McCaffrey Prize for Books on Irish America by the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS).

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. As part of this second strand, and thanks to the Royal Irish Academy's Charlemont Grant for seed funding, I am a founding member of the Histories of Emotion in the Built Environment (HEBE) research network. HEBE is committed to considering the ways that the history of emotions can help us to better understand the built environment. It aims to facilitate inclusive cross-sectoral discussions between and across discipline and practice. In doing so, researchers will reflect on the methodological opportunities and challenges of using emotional frameworks in the study of the built environment over the next five years. The HEBE network will run a series of seminars and events exploring these topics.

I am currently the Secretary of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies and also run the Irish Diaspora Histories website. I was previously the Book Reviews Editor for the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies and sat on the council of British Association for Irish Studies.


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 am the Subject Lead for the M.Liberal Arts degree programme. This role has lots of different elements, including working with my colleagues to make Liberal Arts as wonderful and rewarding as possible. One of the big elements in this is convening Liberal Arts modules 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. In Liberal Arts, the modules I convene tend to ask big questions about the state of the world and the place of 'the arts and humanities' (however we're defining them) in society.

Modules convened:

LIB1001: Understanding Now (23/24 theme is Migration)

LIB2001: Uses of the Past

LIB3001: Arts & Humanities in the Contemporary World

LIB3003: Work Placement

LIB7005: Migrating Identities


I am the second supervisor on Conor Brockbank's PhD project 'A Growing Irish Transnational Carmel, 1926-1980' and third supervisor for Julie Mathias' PhD project on 'Ireland's Lost Property: An Exploration of the Anatomy Trade in England and Ireland, 1832-1922'. 


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.


My office hours for semester 2 are: Mondays, 12-1, and Wednesdays, 11-12. Please email me to arrange an appointment if these times don't suit you. My office is 01/002, 3 University Square.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development 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


Dive into the research topics where Sophie Cooper is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or