UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies 
UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish StudiesUCD Crest


Jim MacPherson is a postdoctoral research fellow in the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies and the School of History and Archives, UCD. He completed his PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2004, which examined women’s engagement in debate about Irish identity at the beginning of the twentieth century through newspapers and women’s organizations, such as the United Irishwomen. Having lectured in modern British and Irish history at the Universities of Leeds and Bristol, he is now working on women’s associational culture within the Irish diaspora.

Women and the Orange Order in the Atlantic World, 1850-2000

The Orange Order is frequently characterised as a thoroughly masculinist brotherhood, associated almost exclusively with sectarian violence in Victorian Britain and late-twentieth-century Northern Ireland. An examination of women’s participation in the Order, through female lodges, reveals a rather more complex image of mutuality and collectivist activity amongst the Irish Protestants who comprised the bulk of the Order’s membership. Instead, as more recent studies have suggested, the Orange Order emerges as a ‘family affair’, functioning as an important associational nexus for both men and women within the communities of the Irish Protestant diaspora during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This study of female Orangeism is an important contribution to our understanding of Irish women’s associational culture within the diasporic contexts of Britain and Canada. Moreover, it asks broader questions within the fields of women’s and migration history about the gendered nature of ethnic associationalism and transnational networks, examining whether an ethnic feminine public sphere existed within the Irish diaspora.

Select publications


  • Women and the Orange Order: female Orangeism in the Atlantic world (Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2012).
  • Women and the Irish nation: femininity, associational life and Irish identity, 1890-1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2011).


  • ‘The emergence of women’s Orange lodges in Scotland: gender, ethnicity and women’s activism, 1909-1940’, Women’s History Review (forthcoming 2011).
  • ‘Women and the health of the nation: the United Irishwomen, social class and the feeding of schoolchildren in Ireland, 1910-1914’, Irish Economic and Social History (forthcoming 2011).
  • ‘The myriad-minded woman: public and private worlds in the journalism of Susan L. Mitchell’, The Irish Review, 42 (2010), pp. 15-26.
  •  (with Donald M. MacRaild) ‘Sisters of the brotherhood: female Orangeism on Tyneside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries’, Irish Historical Studies, 137 (2006), pp. 40-60.
  • ‘Ireland begins in the home’: women, Irish national identity and the domestic sphere in the Irish Homestead 1896-1912’, Éire-Ireland, 36, 3-4 (2001), pp. 131-152.

Essays in Edited Collections

  • ‘The Fifteen Streets: representations of Irish identity in Catherine Cookson’s novels’ in Julie Taddeo (ed.), A return to Catherine Cookson country (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming 2010).
  • ‘ “Exploited with fury on a thousand platforms”: women, unionism and the Ne Temere decree in Ireland, 1908-1913’, in Joan and Richard Allen (ed.), Faith of our Fathers. Six Centuries of Popular Belief in England, Ireland and Wales(Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), pp. 157-75.
  • 'Domesticity and Irishness abroad: Irish women’s associational life in the north east, 1880-1914', in Shane Alcobia-Murphy (ed.), What rough beasts? Irish and Scottish Studies in the new millennium (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), pp. 102-120.
  • (with David Renton), ‘Immigrant politics and north-east identity, 1907-1973’, in Adrian Green and A.F. Pollard (ed.), Regional identities in north-east England, 1300-2000 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007), pp. 161-179.

Contact details

Email: jim.macpherson@ucd.ie

UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies
University College Dublin
Dublin 4