The play Making History by Brian Friel, which was first performed in 1988, is set on the eve of the Nine Years War (1594-1603), of the completion of the English conquest of Ireland, and of the onset of a period of intense anglicisation, colonisation and commercialisation. The play is used to explore these themes, which reoccur across the lecture series, along with three chronological contexts pertinent to any discussion of empire and Ireland. First, the turn of the seventeenth century, the transitionary moment in which the play was set; second, the late 1980s, when at the height of the Troubles the play was performed first in Derry and then across Ireland; and, finally, the context of today, the early 2020s, as we continue to wrestle with the legacy of empire in Ireland, in the UK, and around the world.
The recording of this lecture will appear here www.history.ox.ac.uk/event/the-james-ford-lectures-making-history at 17:00 on Friday 22 January. The recording will be available for the whole of Hilary Term for viewing at your convenience.