University College Dublin | An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath

UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland | Director: Professor Liam Kennedy

Global Irish Civic Forum
June 2015

Prospective Students

    President Clinton addresses the Institute Sept 2010

The American Irish - A Visual Ethnography

Jamie Saris, PhD (Project Director)
Department of Anthropology
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

The Aims of the Project

The impact of Irish people on American life has been immeasurable; the impace of American people on Irish life has hardly been studied at all. This is surprising because of the usefulness of the umbrella term Americanisation for thinking about Irish culture and socity, from consumption practices to politcs and management, and from speech styles to the uncanny presence of America in Ireland's literary cannon. More obviously, it is now widely accepted that foreign direct investment from the USA has been a key driver in the 'Celtic Tiger'. This investment has been in the form of financial, intellectual and human capital. There are currently 570 US-owned companies in Ireland, employing 90,000 people and representing investments of approximately 40 billion US dollars. Our research project will establish a network panel to drive exploratory research leading to a visual document on American-Irish life. The primary output will be a visual/textual project, The American-Irish: A Visual Ethnography, which focuses on the presence of US citizens working and living in Ireland.

Our endeavour is to 'picture' American-Irish life: to record in an open-ended way and artistic way the lives of US citizens who have migrated to Ireland. We imagine this occurring to the backdrop of 'Americanisation', and we conceive of this as an open process with different times, layers, and matieral traces; a process with different and potentially competing spaces, physical and imaginary. The textual elements of the project will explore people's senses of belonging, politics, work and life ways, which will be complimentated by the visual expression of these identities, in turn the visual will provoke further textual analysis. We envisage the project being an open and exploratory one, drawing on national and international expertise and leading the way for future reserach.

Researchers and Members of Research Network

Dr. A. Jamie Saris

Dr. A. Jamie Saris (Project Driector) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago. He held a Post-Doctorate Fellowship in Harvard University. He is a Deputy Director of the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA).

Maeve Hickey

Maeve Hickey (Artist/Photographer) is an artist and photographer whose multimedia work has been exhibited in England, Italy, France, Ireland and Mexico as well as parts of the United States. She has collaborated on a series of major projects with the writer and anthropologist Lawrence Taylor, including Ambos Nogales: Intimate Portraits of the US/Mexico Border (2002), Tunnel Kids (2001) and The Road to Mexico (1997).

Dr. Mark Maguire

Dr. Mark Maguire (Researcher) is a contract lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He received his PhD from the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA).

He recently edited a number of issues of the international journal CITY on contemporary social change in Ireland. He is author of Differently Irish: a cultural history exploring 25 years of Vietnamese-Irish identity (2004), and , with Lawrence Taylor is editing a book on Dublin city, which will be published by Lilliput in 2007.

He may be contacted at: Department of Anthropology , Education House, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Tel: +353 1 7083684, e-mail:

Professor George E. Marcus

Professor George E. Marcus (Network Panel Member) is the Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine. He served as the Joseph D. Jamail Professor at Rice Univerfsity, where he has chaired the anthropology department for 25 years. He moved to UCI after a year as a Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University. He edited the Late Editions series from 1993-2000.

His major publications include:

Tanya Kiang

Tanya Kiang (Network Panel Member) is the Director of Gallery of Photography, Ireland's leading centre for contemporary photography. She previously was Editor of Circa Art Magazine and was contract lecturer in Media Studies at Dublin City University and at the National College of Art & Design.

Dr. Rebecca Chiyoko King Ó Riain

Dr. Rebecca Chiyoko King Ó Riain (Network Panel Member) received her PhD (1998) in Sociology from the Univesrity of California at Berkeley. She taught in the Sociology Department at the University of San Francisco for six years and was chair of the department for one year before joining the department of Sociology at NUI Maynooth as a lecturer. Her reserach interests are in race/ethnicity, qualitative methods, children, multiraciality, and gender.

She has published most recently in the

Provisional Research Timetable

(1) Profile of the American-Irish

Mark Maguire, directed by A. Jamie Saris
Start Date: September 2006
End Date: November 2006

(2) Strategic Interviews

Mark Maguire & Maeve Hickey
Start Date: November 2006
End Date: February 2007
Report to panel 01 March available to funders on 1 May 2007

(3) Visual Ethnography

Maeve Hickey, with the support of Mark Maguire
Start Date: March 2007
End Date: June 2007
Report to panel and funders on 1 July 2007

(4) Workshop/Exhibition

Network Panel Members, convened by A. Jamie Saris
Start Date: 3 July 2007
End Date: 4 July 2007
Initial Workshop/Exhibtion with Network members

Mark Maguire & Maeve Hickey
Start Date: July 2007
End Date: To end project
Report that links the work of this project to the broader topics of 'Ireland and Americanisation'.