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Symposium on “The 175th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s Tour of Ireland”

November 13, 2020 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

On November 13, Professor of History Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), author Colum McCann (author of TransAtlantic), and Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies Autumn Womack (Princeton University) lead a symposium on “The 175th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s Tour of Ireland,” moderated by Paul Muldoon, Howard G. B. Clark ’21 Professor at Princeton University. Part of Princeton University’s 2020-21 Fund for Irish Studies series.

The symposium explores the four months Douglass spent in Ireland in 1845, an experience he described as “transformative.” Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, statesman, and former enslaved person. Of his time in Ireland, Douglass reported that for the first time in his life he felt like a man, and not a chattel. He became a spokesperson for the abolition movement during his Irish tour, but by the time he left the country in early January 1846, he believed that the cause of the enslaved was the cause of the oppressed everywhere.


This virtual event is free and open to the public. Join the symposium via Zoom Webinar; registration required.



If you are in need of access accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email LewisCenter@princeton.edu at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date.


The Fund for Irish Studies affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics, and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.” The series is produced by the Lewis Center for the Arts and the 2020-21 edition of the series is organized by Paul Muldoon.

The Fund for Irish Studies is generously sponsored by the Durkin Family Trust and the James J. Kerrigan, Jr. ’45 and Margaret M. Kerrigan Fund for Irish Studies.


christine smiling short auburn hair green jacquard coatChristine Kinealy is Professor of History and Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. At Trinity College Dublin, she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool.

She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.

Based in the United States since 2007, she was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by “Irish America” Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s Ambassador Award. In March 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.


colum with shaved head, hand resting on chinColum McCann is the award-winning author of three collections of short stories and seven novels, including his most recent work, Apeirogon (2020). His bestselling novel, Let the Great World Spin (2009), won worldwide acclaim including the 2009 National Book Award in the U.S, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, the International Impac Award 2011, a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and several other major international literary prizes. His novel TransAtlantic was also an international sensation and became an immediate New York Times best-seller on its release in 2013. It, too, garnered several international awards including the Mondello Citta de Palermo Prize in Italy.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he is the recipient of international honors including a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. In 2017 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts. His work has been published in over 40 languages. He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organisation, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College. He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their family.


autumn womack smiling long curly hair in black blazerAutumn Womack is Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at Princeton University. She earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an MA from The University of Maryland, College Park. Womack’s research is located at the intersection of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literary culture, visual studies, and print culture. She is currently at work on two book projects. The first, Un-discipling Data: Race, Visuality, and the Making of African American Literary Aesthetics, 1880-1930 charts the relationship between emergent visual technologies – such as photography, motion pictures, and social surveys — and black literary and intellectual culture. The Reprint Revolution, her second book project, considers the circulation politics and practices that brought many nineteenth-century African American literary texts into the marketplace in the 1960s. At Princeton she teaches classes on 19th and 20th century African American literature and the history of race and media. In keeping with her investment in archival research, her course “Toni Morrison and the Ethics of Reading” makes extensive use of the University’s collections. Womack has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a postdoctoral fellowship at Rutgers University’s Department of English and a faculty fellowship at Penn State’s Center for the History of Information.

Professor Womack’s work has been published in Black Camera: An International Film Journal, American Literary History, Women and Performance, J19: A Journal of 19th Century Americanists, andThe Paris Review of Books. An essay on the cultural history of Arno Press and the utility of the black past is forthcoming in American Literary History, while new essays on Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and the pre-history of data visualization will appear in edited volumes. She serves on the editorial board of The Langston Hughes Review and Aster(ix) Journal.



November 13, 2020
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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Mary O’Connor