Reconceptualising diaspora
Religion, persecution and identity in Britain and Ireland, 1558–1794
in British and Irish diasporas
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The English-speaking diaspora of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has often been assumed to have been a secular, economic phenomenon, driven by conditions at home and drawn by opportunities abroad. Yet, the subject thus defined was preceded by another very different one: the waves of Catholic emigration from Britain and Ireland driven by war and persecution, led by religious, educational and military opportunity abroad, and organising in exile to bring about a restoration and reconversion of the homeland. It was a movement effectively obscured by ‘victors’ history’ and the insistence of certain historians that Whiggism stood for religious toleration, not persecution. This chapter offers the first overview of this historical phenomenon, and uses it to propose a reconsideration of the concept of diaspora itself.

British and Irish diasporas

Societies, cultures and ideologies

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