CLEMSON — Prolific Irish writer and outspoken Brexit critic Fintan O’Toole will visit Clemson University on Monday, April 8, to discuss Britain’s historic rupture with the European Union.
“Brexit and Its History” will be presented at 4 p.m. on Monday April 8, in Hardin Hall, Room 232. The discussion is free and open to the public.
O’Toole’s new book on Brexit, “Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain,” shares the same main title with the 2016 book “Heroic Failure and the British,” written by Clemson history professor Stephanie Barczewski.
In Monday’s event, O’Toole meets publicly with Barczewski — who has deeply influenced his understanding of Brexit, the biggest crisis in the British Isles/Atlantic Archipelago in decades.
Lee Morrissey, founder of the Humanities Hub, the sponsor of the event, said, “The mission of the Humanities Hub is to reach out and connect Clemson humanities to broad audiences, and this conversation is connecting at its finest: Barczewski and O’Toole’s work show how history informs the present, how historians inform journalists and how Brexit is a transatlantic issue. This should be a terrific conversation.”
What it’s about
In 2016, voters in the United Kingdom decided by a narrow margin that Britain should leave the European Union. With 30 million people showing up at the polls (a turnout of 71.8 percent), the vote to leave the European Union garnered 51.9 percent versus 48.1 percent voting to remain.
Supporters and opponents of leaving the EU disagree fiercely on whether Britain will emerge as a stronger or weaker nation following Brexit.
Barczewski’s “Heroic Failure and the British” argues that glorious disaster and valiant defeat have been essential aspects of the British national character for the past two centuries, helping to gloss over the nation’s history of imperial expansion.
O’Toole’s “Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain” has been called by The Guardian, “an excoriating cultural analysis of the political ideas behind Brexit.” In his columns and this book, O’Toole has cited Barczewski’s work as he has tried to understand the British Brexit crisis.
Fintan O’Toole is one of the most respected columnists and literary journalists working in the English language. He writes for the Irish Times and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. His many books focus on modern Ireland and Irish history, but he has also penned books on subjects as diverse as Shakespeare and American colonial history. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer on Irish Letters at Princeton University.
Stephanie Barczewski, a professor at Clemson since 1996, is a specialist in modern British history. Her previous books include “Country Houses and the British Empire, 1700-1940,” “Antarctic Destinies: Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism,” and “Titanic: A Night Remembered.” She currently is working on a book titled “Brexit and British Memory of World War II.”
The Humanities Hub
This free, public event was made possible through the Humanities Hub in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. The Humanities Hub was created in 2016 with the aim of advancing outreach, scholarship and teaching of the humanities at Clemson University.
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