There has been much scholarly debate about the significance and influence of racialist thinking in the political and cultural history of nineteenth-century Ireland. With reference to that ongoing historiographical discussion, this paper considers the racial geographies and opposing political motivations of two Irish ethnologists, Abraham Hume and John McElheran, using their racialist regimes to query some of the common assumptions that have informed disagreements over the role and reach of racial typecasting in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland. As well as examining in detail the racial imaginaries promulgated by Hume and McElheran, the paper also argues for the importance of situating racialist discourse in the spaces in which it was communicated and contested. Further, in highlighting the ways in which Hume and McElheran collapsed together race, class and religion, the paper troubles the utility of a crisp analytical distinction between those disputed categories.
|Published - 2014