Graduate Studies

Cian T. McMahon, Ph.D., 2010

I am an assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I hold a joint appointment in the Department of History and Honors College. A scholar of transnational history, I seek to compare, contrast, and connect the world-scattered Irish in the nineteenth century. My first book, based on my 2010 dissertation, is entitled The Global Dimensions of Irish Identity: Race, Nation, and the Popular Press, 1840-1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Employing manuscript and printed primary sources from Ireland, Australia, and the United States, it shows that by connecting the world-scattered Irish, newspapers provided the intellectual basis for a form of what I call “global nationalism.” This new identity, I argue, expanded the modern limits of citizenship, mobility, and belonging. My next book, tentatively entitled The Coffin Ship: Irish Migration, Mortality, and Memory in Global Perspective, 1845-1855 will demonstrate the ways in which Ireland’s poor and supposedly ignorant peasants successfully exploited global networks of commerce, communication, and empire to escape the Great Famine.

My time at Carnegie Mellon was a valuable and precious experience. The History Department is an intimate and truly interdisciplinary community where I was exposed to a range of sources and ideas I might not have found elsewhere. In particular, meeting and working with anthropologists gave me the tools and the confidence to challenge the archives in new ways. Moreover, Pittsburgh is just a fantastically livable, exciting city where one’s stipend can go much further than in other places. In sum, I am deeply grateful for the friends, colleagues, ideas, and good times I encountered at CMU… although I am still slightly jealous that the intramural ball hockey team that I co-founded won the championship AFTER I left for Vegas.