‘Sinn Féin permits … in the heels of their shoes’: Cumann na mBan emigrants and transatlantic revolutionary exchange
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Aiken, Síobhra. (2020). ‘Sinn Féin permits … in the heels of their shoes’: Cumann na mBan emigrants and transatlantic revolutionary exchange. Irish Historical Studies, 44(165), 106-130. doi:10.1017/ihs.2020.8
The emigration of female revolutionary activists has largely eluded historical studies; their global movements transcend dominant national and regional conceptions of the Irish Revolution and challenge established narratives of political exile which are often cast in masculine terms. Drawing on Cumann na mBan nominal rolls and U.S. immigration records, this article investigates the scale of post-Civil War Cumann na mBan emigration and evaluates the geographical origins, timing and push-pull factors that defined their migration. Focusing on the United States in particular, it also measures the impact of the emigration and return migration of female revolutionaries during the revolutionary period and in its immediate aftermath on both the republican movement in Ireland and the fractured political landscapes of Irish America. Ultimately, this article argues that the cooperative transatlantic exchange networks of Cumann na mBan, and the consciously gendered revolutionary discourse they assisted in propagating in the diaspora, were integral to supporting the Irish Revolution at home and abroad.