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Geographies of Contact

Caroline Lehni
Fanny Moghaddassi
Hélène Ibata
et al.

IV. Transposing Legal and Political Principles

Irish Nationalist MPs and the Egyptian Revolt of 1881-1882: An Example of Cross-Imperial Solidarity?

Pauline Collombier-Lakeman

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For Irish nationalist MPs, who represented the dominant trend in Irish nationalism in the 19th century, Irish political autonomy (Home Rule) was the priority. And yet, historians acknowledge that a number of them had an undeniable interest in imperial questions and matters.1 That implied that they had to come to terms with Ireland’s resolutely ambivalent status at the time: treated by Britain like a colony, Ireland was at the same time a participant in the expansion of the British empire with a number of Irish people working as civil servants, soldiers or missionaries.

The peculiar situation of the Irish within the United Kingdom and also the empire sheds a new light on the concept of contact, or rather “contact zone”, as defined by Mary-Louise Pratt in her book Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Pratt considers contact to imply “copresence, interaction, interlocking understanding and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power” and defines a “c...


Pauline Collombier-Lakeman was awarded her PhD on the topic of “Le discours des leaders du nationalism constitutionnel irlandais sur l’autonomie de l’Irlande: utopies politiques et mythes identitaires” from the University Paris 3—Sorbonne Nouvelle in 2007. She currently teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of the British Isles and English language at the university of Strasbourg, where she was appointed Maître de Conférences (lecturer) in 2009. Her current research work is focused on Irish parliamentary nationalism and on the relationship between Ireland and the British Empire. Recent publications include a contribution to G. Doherty (ed.), The Home Rule Crisis 1912-14, Cork, Mercier Press, 2014 and a book co-written with Prof. Peter Gray: La Grande Famine en Irlande, 1845-1851, Paris, Fahrenheit, 2015.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2017

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