SHEAR 2021: A Q&A with Frank Cogliano
Ireland and America

This month, right in time for SHEAR, UVA Press is proud to release Ireland and America: Empire, Revolution, and Sovereignty, edited by Patrick Griffin and Francis D. Cogliano, and featuring contributions by Rachel Banke, T. H. Breen, Trevor Burnard, Nicholas Canny, Christa Dierksheide, Matthew P. Dziennik, S. Max Edelson, Annette Gordon-Reed, Eliga Gould, Robert G. Ingram, Peter S. Onuf, Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy, Jessica Choppin Roney, and Gordon S. Wood.

To celebrate the release of this volume, Frank Cogliano here answers a few questions that provide a glimpse behind the curtain on how this volume came to be, its main lessons, and what’s next for him and his coeditor Patrick Griffin. I was particularly happy to learn that their plans involve more conversations with me as we continue to acquire titles for their new book series, The Revolutionary Age.

Wishing everyone a happy virtual conference! I invite you to visit our SHEAR virtual booth HERE to peruse and get 30% off our new and featured titles, and I always welcome inquiries and proposals at nizimmerli@virginia.edu.

--Nadine Zimmerli, Editor for History and Social Sciences 

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1. What inspired you to produce this book? 

​This volume arose from a conference that we organized in Galway and Dublin in the spring of 2017. That meeting intended to bring together scholars from the United States and beyond with colleagues in Ireland to consider the ways in which the insights offered by Irish history might challenge and inform our understanding of colonization, imperialism, and revolution in North America. It was the inaugural meeting of a project we have dubbed the Revolutionary Age, and we're pleased that this is the inaugural volume in our series of the same name with UVA Press.

2. What did you learn and what are you hoping readers will learn from your book? 

​We're hoping that readers will see the continuities and connections between Ireland and America during the latter part of the eighteenth century as people in both places confronted imperialism and mounted their own challenges to it. The differences between the two places are instructive, too, as race was the crucial line of demarcation in America while religion played that role in Ireland. 

3. What surprised you the most in the process of editing your book? 

Patrick and I both have lot of experience with editing scholarly collections. I was pleased and surprised that things went as smoothly as they did. Our contributors were prompt and responsive to editorial suggestions, and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame (which provided crucial support for the project) and at UVA Press were delightful to work with. In the past when I've finished a big editorial project I've said, "Never again!" That wasn't the case with this project.

4. What’s your favorite anecdote from your book? 

Getting colleagues out of their comfort zones (admittedly in a very convivial place) facilitated lively scholarly exchanges that were memorable. We experienced some wonderful hospitality and saw some wonderful places: from Kylemore Abbey in Galway to Daniel O'Connell's home. It was a thrill to see the Book of Kells in the Trinity College Library. I particularly remember engaging in a lively discussion in a pub with Tim Breen and Gordon Wood about our favorite writers of detective and crime fiction. Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler, and Michael Connelly figured prominently.

5. What’s next? 

 Patrick and I will continue working with Nadine on the Revolutionary Age series. We're very excited that a number of very interesting volumes are in the works. I'm completing a book on the relationship between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Patrick, who will be the Harmsworth Professor at Oxford during the 2021/22 academic year, is completing a broad overview of the Age of Revolution.