AGM + April Talk

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, 28th April at 7:00 pm on Zoom. The AGM will be followed by our first meeting in a year at approximately 7:30 pm. The speaker will be Dr Andrew Newby and the subject of talk will be Home Rule and the letters of Joseph R. Fisher, who was the editor of the Northern Whig and latterly member of the boundary commission in the 1920s. He was a regular correspondent with Finnish nationalists in the early 1900s as Finland was trying to gain freedom from Russian imperial rule. The interesting thing about that is that, for the most part, it was Irish nationalists who looked to Finland as an example of relatively contended Home Rule (i.e. Ireland = Finland, Britain = Russia), while Fisher was more interested in an allegory that had Finland as Ulster, and Russia as “the rest of Ireland”.

The title of the talk is “It Would Lead To Sheer Anarchy”: Joseph R. Fisher, Finland and the Home Rule Question, c. 1899-1914.

Dr Andrew G Newby

The following is taken from his curriculum vitae at the University of Helsinki.

I returned to the University of Helsinki, as University Lecturer in Nordic Studies, in February 2020.

In addition to comparative and transnational studies of Nordic societies, my research interests lie in the history and society of Europe during the “Long Nineteenth Century”. Most recently I have been working on themes relating to famine – especially the Great Finnish Famine of the 1860s and its commemoration, poor relief, comparisons with other catastrophes (notably the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s), and the phenomenon of international aid (both from the donor and recipient perspective). More generally, I have been working on a wider project examining comparisons and contrasts in Irish and Finnish history – something that kept me particularly busy during 2016-17, when both countries commemorated significant centenaries.

Although I am Irish, I was educated in Scotland (St. Andrews, MA Hons 1996; Edinburgh, PhD, 2001) and my PhD investigated links between Irish and Scottish land reformers and labour activists in the 1880s-90s. I have held academic positions at the University of Edinburgh (lecturer), University of Aberdeen (senior lecturer), and have enjoyed three spells in Institutes of Advanced Study (Helsinki, 2010-12; Aarhus, 2017-18; Tampere, 2018-20). From 2012 to 2017 I was the Principal Investigator on the Academy of Finland project, “‘The Terrible Visitation’: Famine in Finland and Ireland, c. 1845-1868”, which compared elements of the history, and historiography, of the Great Famines in Ireland (1840s) and Finland (1860s).

The above is taken from his curriculum vitae at the University of Helsinki. The full c.v. can be viewed at

If you wish to take part in the meeting please contact Catherine Gartland at: