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Aoife O’Leary McNeice

Scouloudi Fellow (6 months)

Aoife is a final year PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis examines global networks of humanitarianism during the Great Irish famine, focusing in particular on networks within the global Catholic Church, the British Empire, and transatlantic Quaker activism. 


Aoife's research

She analyses ideologies and practices of giving, in addition to tracing the mechanics of giving, mapping different relief networks from donor to beneficent. Her work interrogates the limits and failures of these humanitarian efforts. She contrasts the ease with which money was raised during the Famine with the failure of humanitarian organisations to alleviate the sufferings of famine victims in any meaningful way. Her research is also concerned with where the Irish Famine sits within the broader historiography of global humanitarianism. She is supervised by Dr Renaud Morieux, and her doctoral studies are supported by the Cambridge Trust and the Robert Gardiner Memorial Fund.

Aoife received a BA joint honours in English and History from University College Cork in 2014. She completed a MSc in eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature at the University of Edinburgh in 2015. Before starting her PhD, she worked in various collections and digitisation roles in the Edinburgh University Library and the National Library of Scotland.

Her research interests include: global history; modern Irish history; travel writing; gender and sexuality; human rights and humanitarianism; and public history. 


‘Dynamics of Gender and the Experiences of the first Female University Students of Queen’s College Cork, 1879-1910’, Irish Studies Review. [Forthcoming]

‘Towards a History of Global Humanitarianism’ [review article], The Historical Journal, 2020, 1-12. 

‘Visions of the Future in Humanitarian Responses to the Great Irish Famine’, in Richard Butler ed., Dreams of the Future in Nineteenth Century Ireland (Liverpool University Press). [Forthcoming, expected December 2020/January 2021]

‘Pride and Prejudice: Silence and the Undertold Stories of International Law’, with Elizabeth Schweiger, in Renske Vos and Sofia Stolk eds., International Laws Selected Stories (Palgrave MacMillan). [Forthcoming]