PhD Oral Exam - Linda Fitzgibbon, Individualized Program in Humanities
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
This dissertation focuses on Irish emigration to the National Capital Region of Canada in the
decades after the Second World War. Whereas Irish emigration to Canada in the nineteenth century has been the subject of intensive scholarship, there is a serious lacuna in our understanding of the history of postwar immigrants from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who made new lives in Canada’s capital region.
The thesis is based on an extensive case study that investigates Irish cultural memory and diasporic space in Ottawa; in particular, its Irish Seniors Social Group Ottawa (ISSGO), which was created in 2005. This cohort is part of a cultural network of grassroots community groups spread throughout the Irish diaspora that receives fiscal support from the Irish government. Recognizing contributions made by its expatriate communities to their homeland, this funding supports programmes that promote, preserve and foster Irish culture among various constituent communities of Ireland’s diaspora worldwide.
Drawing on an interdisciplinary research model that incorporates diaspora studies, gender history, space-place studies and oral history, this thesis highlights the significance of roots and routes as critical elements in the creation of Irish diasporic lifeworlds in Ottawa. This dualism will be explored in respect to Canadian immigration policy; individual and collective memories of emigration; settlement patterns; social, cultural, and economic mobility; homecoming; and gendered histories.