Dr Gemma Clark
Senior Lecturer in British/Irish History
Office: Amory 131
I'm a historian of Modern Britain and Ireland, with particular research and teaching interests in violence. My first book, Everyday Violence in the Irish Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the conflict (1922–23) over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. I'm also writing a history of arson in Ireland since c.1800, which traces the development of criminal fire setting as a social and political protest tool, and contextualises Ireland's apparent propensity for non-lethal property damage over other forms of (interpersonal) violence.
My research focuses on violence and conflict in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britiain and Ireland. I study encounters not only between military/paramilitary forces, but also civilians, in times of war and of relative peace. I'm concerned with the (strategic, political, social, other) functions of aggression in various contexts, and placing Irish violence in comparative-international perspectives; I also focus on the human experience of harmful acts.
My first book, Everyday Violence in the Irish Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the conflict (1922–23) over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. I'm developing further my understanding of gender and violence in this context, by writing an article on women's interaction with the Civil War.
I'm also working with Cambridge University Press on a new book project. Arson in Ireland: Fire as Protest since 1800 will trace the development of criminal fire setting as a social and political protest tool, and contextualise Ireland's apparent propensity for non-lethal property damage over other forms of (interpersonal) violence. My research on usages of arson in pre-Famine rural Ireland was published in 2017, in Kyle Hughes and Donald M. MacRaild (eds.), Crime, violence, and the Irish in the nineteenth century (Liverpool University Press).
I'm a core participant in the Leverhulme-funded research network, Understanding Insurgencies.
I am open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject given my research expertise in Modern British and Irish History, and violence and civil war. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland (especially the Revolutionary period, 1912-23).
External impact and engagement
I contribute to Widening Participation by teaching on the Exeter Progression programme and other events for school students and sixth-formers.
Contribution to discipline
I'm a member of the British Association of Irish Studies and the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand. I serve as book-review editor for ISAANZ's peer-reviewed Australasian Journal of Irish Studies.
In print and online
'HEAD TO HEAD: Why do the British know so little about Irish history?', History Today, Volume 69 Issue 1 (January 2019)
Podcast: 'S2 Episode 11 Irish Politics and the Civil War', The Irish Passport
Gemma Clark, Opinion: ‘The Irish revolution: Moral campaign or bitter sectarian conflict?’, The Irish Times, 18 Sept. 2017
Gemma Clark, ‘Motives for murder’, The Revolution Papers, vol. 45 (8 Nov. 2016)
Gemma Clark, ‘Burn after reading: A short history of arson’, The Conversation, 4 Dec. 2014
You can also follow me on Twitter @GeemarJo
Radio interview (2 February 2019) on current threat of paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland: talkRADIO, Saturday Breakfast with Penny Smith, 07:00–10:00 at 09:05
Radio interview (16 Nov. 2017) with Janet Kipling on violence and historical accuracy in BBC drama 'Peaky Blinders': BBC Radio Devon, 'Devon Debates', 13:00–16:00 at 14:22
Students' Guild Teaching Awards 2016: Most Supportive Staff Member (Nominated)
Students' Guild Teaching Awards 2018: Best Lecturer (Nominated)
- HIH1400 - Making History
- HIH1401 - Approaches to History
- HIH1420 - Understanding the Modern World
- HIH2001 - Doing History: Perspectives on Sources
- HIH2002 - Uses of the Past
- HIH2024A - Britain and Ireland: Union, Conflict, and Independence, 1798-1949
- HIH3005 - General Third-Year Dissertation
- HIH3157 - The Irish Revolution, 1912-23: Sources
- HIH3158 - The Irish Revolution, 1912-23: Context
- HIH3628 - Civil Wars
- HIH3632 - Violence
- HISM400 - Dissertation in History
- HISM482 - Empire and Globalisation