BA Ph.D

Contact Details

LECTURER
History
Room 413, Tower 1
Arts/Science Building
Central Campus
E: KEVIN.K.OSULLIVAN@nuigalway.ie
 
researcher
 

Biography

My main research and teaching interests are in international history, especially the areas of globalisation, humanitarianism, and NGOs. My first book, Ireland, Africa and the End of Empire: Small State Identity in the Cold War, 1955-75, was published by Manchester University Press in 2012, and re-issued in paperback in 2014. I am currently working on a new project, titled The NGO Moment: The Globalisation of Compassion, 1968-85, which examines how and why (and with what consequences) NGOs became the primary conduits for Western compassion towards the Global South. This book is currently under contract with Cambridge University Press. As part of that research, I have published several articles and essays and co-edited special issues of European Review of History (with Matthew Hilton, 2016) and Moving the Social: Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements (with Enrico Dal Lago, 2017) on the history of humanitarianism.

I completed my PhD at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2008, before moving to University College Dublin as an Irish Research Council post-doctoral fellow (2009-2011). Following this, I spent a year at the University of Birmingham as a Marie Curie Fellow, before taking up a permanent post at NUI Galway in 2012. Since then, I have been a visiting fellow at the European University Institute, Florence, and Carleton University, Ottawa (on two occasions) and also hold an honorary fellowship at the University of Birmingham. 

My research has been funded by grants from the Irish Research Council (IRC), the European Commission, and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), including the AHRC-funded ‘Non-State Humanitarianism: From Colonialism to Human Rights’ research network, and (in 2017) an IRC-supported project titled ‘Humanitarian History: Past Practice into Future Policy’, in collaboration with Trócaire. I am a founding member of the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History and the Transnational Ireland research network, and sit on the Royal Irish Academy's Standing Committee for International Affairs.

Research Interests

Core research interests:
International history; the history of decolonisation; humanitarianism, aid and development; NGOs; globalisation; contemporary Irish history in a global context.

Current research:
The NGO Moment: The Globalisation of Compassion, 1968-85 (under contract with Cambridge University Press).
This project examines the social, cultural & political phenomena that shaped the rapid expansion of the global NGO community, drawing on case studies from Britain, Canada and Ireland, as well as archives of governments and international organisations (EU, OECD, World Bank). Why did this period provide such fertile ground for the emergence of the humanitarian sector? What factors drove its expansion? And what can the NGO experience tell us about the history of globalisation and how the West encountered the post-colonial world?

Research Projects

  Project Start Date End Date
HUMANLY - Humanitarian History: Past Practice into Future Policy 01-JAN-17 30-SEP-17
Conference: A Peculiar society 01-MAR-15 28-FEB-17
Kevin O'Sullivan MF Project 01-OCT-14 31-MAY-18
NON STATE HUMANITARIANISM FROM COLONIALISM TO HUMAN RIGHTS KEVIN O SULLIVAN 01-NOV-12 31-JUL-14

Books

  Year Publication
(2012) Ireland, Africa and the end of empire: Small state identity in the Cold War, 1955-75.
Kevin O'Sullivan (2012) Ireland, Africa and the end of empire: Small state identity in the Cold War, 1955-75. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Details]

Edited Books

  Year Publication
(2017) Transnational Humanitarian Action: Atlantic and Global Voluntary Activities from Abolitionism to the NGOs, 1800-2000 – special issue of Moving the Social: Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements.
O'Sullivan, K; Dal Lago, E (Ed.). (2017) Transnational Humanitarian Action: Atlantic and Global Voluntary Activities from Abolitionism to the NGOs, 1800-2000 – special issue of Moving the Social: Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements. Bochum: Ruhr Universitat Bochum. [Details]
(2016) Humanitarianisms in Context: Histories of Non-State Actors, from the Local to the Global - special issue of European Review of History.
O'Sullivan, K; Hilton, M (Ed.). (2016) Humanitarianisms in Context: Histories of Non-State Actors, from the Local to the Global - special issue of European Review of History. Basingstoke: Taylor & Francis. [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
(2018) 'Humanitarian Encounters: Biafra, NGOs and Imaginings of the Third World in Britain and IReland, 1967-1970'
O'Sullivan, K. (2018) 'Humanitarian Encounters: Biafra, NGOs and Imaginings of the Third World in Britain and IReland, 1967-1970' In: Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide: The Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970. Abingdon: Routledge. [Details]
(2016) 'Biafra's legacy: NGO humanitarianism and the Nigerian civil war'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2016) 'Biafra's legacy: NGO humanitarianism and the Nigerian civil war' In: Learning from the Past to Shape the Future: Lessons from the History of Humanitarian Action in Africa. London: Overseas Development Institute. [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2014) 'A global nervous system: The rise and rise of European humanitarian NGOs'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2014) 'A global nervous system: The rise and rise of European humanitarian NGOs' In: International organizations and development, 1945-1990. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2013) 'EC membership, development aid and Irish foreign policy'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2013) 'EC membership, development aid and Irish foreign policy' In: Saints and sinners: official development aid and its dynamics in a historical and comparative perspective. Oslo: Oslo University Press. [Details]
(2005) 'The cause of nationality is sacred in ... Africa as in Ireland: Ireland and sub-Saharan Africa at the United Nations, 1960-75'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2005) 'The cause of nationality is sacred in ... Africa as in Ireland: Ireland and sub-Saharan Africa at the United Nations, 1960-75' In: Obligations and responsibilities: Ireland at the United Nations, 1955-2005. Dublin: IPA. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2019) 'Past Practice into Future Policy: A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector'
O'Sullivan, K; Ní Chéilleachair, R (2019) 'Past Practice into Future Policy: A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector'. Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, 1 (2):51-55 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2018) 'HISTORY AND HUMANITARIANISM: A CONVERSATION'
Hilton, M;Baughan, E;Davey, E;Everill, B;O'Sullivan, K;Sasson, T (2018) 'HISTORY AND HUMANITARIANISM: A CONVERSATION'. Past & Present, :1-38 [DOI] [Details]
(2018) 'Humanitarian Encounters Biafra, NGOs and Imaginings of the Third World in Britain and Ireland, 1967-1970'
O'Sullivan, K (2018) 'Humanitarian Encounters Biafra, NGOs and Imaginings of the Third World in Britain and Ireland, 1967-1970'. Postcolonial Conflict And The Question Of Genocide: The Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970, :259-277 [Details]
(2017) 'Towards a new history of humanitarianism'
O'Sullivan, K; Dal Lago, E (2017) 'Towards a new history of humanitarianism'. Moving the Social: Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements, 57 :5-20 [DOI] [Details]
(2016) 'Humanitarianisms in context'
O'Sullivan, K,Hilton, M,Fiori, J (2016) 'Humanitarianisms in context'. European Review Of History-Revue Europeenne D Histoire, 23 :1-15 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2015) 'Between Internationalism and Empire: Ireland, the 'Like-Minded' Group, and the Search for a New International Order, 1974-82'
O'Sullivan, K (2015) 'Between Internationalism and Empire: Ireland, the 'Like-Minded' Group, and the Search for a New International Order, 1974-82'. International History Review, 37 :1083-1101 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2015) 'The Search for Justice: NGOs in Britain and Ireland and the New International Economic Order, 1968-82'
O'Sullivan, K (2015) 'The Search for Justice: NGOs in Britain and Ireland and the New International Economic Order, 1968-82'. Humanity-An International Journal Of Human Rights Humanitarianism And Development, 6 :173-187 [DOI] [Details]
(2014) 'A Global Nervous System: The Rise and Rise of European Humanitarian NGOs, 1945-1985'
O'Sullivan, K (2014) 'A Global Nervous System: The Rise and Rise of European Humanitarian NGOs, 1945-1985'. International Organizations And Development, 1945-1990, :196-219 [Details]
(2014) 'Humanitarian encounters: Biafra, NGOs and imaginings of the Third World in Britain and Ireland, 1967-70'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2014) 'Humanitarian encounters: Biafra, NGOs and imaginings of the Third World in Britain and Ireland, 1967-70'. Journal Of Genocide Research, 16 (2-3):299-315 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2013) ''Ah, Ireland, the caring nation': foreign aid and Irish state identity in the long 1970s'
O'Sullivan, K (2013) ''Ah, Ireland, the caring nation': foreign aid and Irish state identity in the long 1970s'. Irish Historical Studies, 38 :476-491 [Details]
(2013) ''Ah, Ireland, the caring nation': foreign aid and Irish state identity in the long 1970s'
O'Sullivan, K (2013) ''Ah, Ireland, the caring nation': foreign aid and Irish state identity in the long 1970s'. Irish Historical Studies, 38 :476-491 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2011) 'History and the development aid debate in the Republic of Ireland'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2011) 'History and the development aid debate in the Republic of Ireland'. Policy And Practice: A Development Education Review, 12 :110-123 [Details]
(2007) 'Biafra to Lomé: The evolution of Irish government policy on official development assistance, 1969-75'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2007) 'Biafra to Lomé: The evolution of Irish government policy on official development assistance, 1969-75'. Irish Studies In International Affairs, 18 :91-107 [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
(2017) 'Back to Biafra'
O'Sullivan, K (2017) 'Back to Biafra' History Ireland, 25 (3) :16-17. [Details]
(2010) 'Across the gaping earth blasted by hatred: Concern in Bangladesh'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2010) 'Across the gaping earth blasted by hatred: Concern in Bangladesh' History Ireland, 18 (4) :46-49. [Details]
(2006) 'The wind of change: Decolonisation in British West Africa'
Kevin O'Sullivan (2006) 'The wind of change: Decolonisation in British West Africa' History Ireland, 14 (4) :40-45. [Details]

Book Review

  Year Publication
(2019) Youth and Popular Culture in 1950s Ireland.
O'Sullivan, K (2019) Youth and Popular Culture in 1950s Ireland. Book Review [DOI] [Details]
(2017) Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940.
O'Sullivan, K (2017) Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940. OXFORD: Book Review [Details]
(2017) Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940.
O'Sullivan, K (2017) Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940. Book Review [Details]
(2017) Britannia's Embrace: Modern Humanitarianism and the Imperial Origins of Refugee Relief.
O'Sullivan, K (2017) Britannia's Embrace: Modern Humanitarianism and the Imperial Origins of Refugee Relief. Book Review [DOI] [Details]
(2016) Calculating Compassion: Humanity and Relief in War, Britain 1870-1914.
O'Sullivan, K (2016) Calculating Compassion: Humanity and Relief in War, Britain 1870-1914. Book Review [DOI] [Details]
(2013) Review of Daniel P. L. Chong, Freedom from poverty: NGOs and human rights praxis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).
Kevin O'Sullivan (2013) Review of Daniel P. L. Chong, Freedom from poverty: NGOs and human rights praxis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). Book Review [DOI] [Details]

Review Articles

  Year Publication
(2017) Prosopographies, transnational lives, and multiple identities in global humanitarianism.
O'Sullivan, K; Dal Lago, E (2017) Prosopographies, transnational lives, and multiple identities in global humanitarianism. Review Articles [DOI] [Details]
(2010) Irish diplomatic history in the twenty-first century: After the gold rush.
Kevin O'Sullivan (2010) Irish diplomatic history in the twenty-first century: After the gold rush. Review Articles [DOI] [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2018 Visiting Research Fellowship Carleton University, Ottawa
2017 Visiting Research Fellowship European University Institute, Florence
2014 Visiting Research Fellowship, Carleton University (Ottawa) Carleton University, Ottawa
2013 PI, 'Sources and Uses of Humanitarian History' Irish Research Council, 'New Foundations' Programme
2013 Co-investigator, International Research Network: 'Non-State Humanitarianism: From Colonialism to Human Rights' British Arts and Humanities Research Council
2011 IRCHSS CARA Postdoctoral Mobility Fellowship Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
2011 Honorary Research Fellowship, University of Birmingham University of Birmingham
2009 IRCHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
2005 IRCHSS Postgraduate scholarship Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
Voluntary Action History Society Member 01-JUN-12 /
Irish Association of Professional Historians Member 01-JUN-14 / 01-SEP-17
Voluntary Action History Society Member 01-DEC-11 /

Committees

  Committee Function From / To
RIA Standing Committee for International Affairs Committee member 01-JAN-19 /
Irish Committee for Historical Sciences Member 01-SEP-15 /
Civil Society Study Group, Development Studies Association Ireland Co-convenor 27-NOV-14 /
Voluntary Action History Society, Executive committee Executive committee member 01-MAY-12 /
School of Humanities Research Committee Member 01-SEP-13 /
Irish Association for Professional Historians Committee Member (NUI Galway representative) 01-SEP-14 /
International reference group for www.humanitarianhistory.org Member of reference group 20-NOV-12 /

Employment

  Employer Position From / To
University of Birmingham Honorary Research Fellow (Visiting Fellow, 2011-2012) 01-OCT-11 / 30-SEP-14
University College Dublin Postdoctoral Research Fellow 01-OCT-09 / 31-AUG-12
Irish Aid / Higher Education Authority Secondment 01-FEB-11 / 30-SEP-11

Education

  Year Institution Qualification Subject
2017 National University of Ireland, Galway Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Education
2008 Trinity College Dublin PhD History
2004 Trinity College Dublin Bachelor of Arts History and Political Science

Teaching Interests

Areas of specialisation
Global history; international history; history of decolonisation; humanitarianism, aid and development; Ireland and the wider world; history of NGOs.

Areas of interest
Africa since 1870; twentieth century Ireland; globalisation; human rights; Britain since 1945; France since 1945.

Modules Currently Taught (2019-20):
Undergraduate:
  • HI1103: Europe and Ireland, 1798-1918 (lectures; first year - with Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley).
  • GLS1100: Introduction to Global History (lectures; first year - with Prof Enrico Dal Lago).
  • HI2125: Global History, 1780-1945 (lectures; second year - with Prof Enrico Dal Lago).

Taught Postgraduate:
  • HI6100: NGOs and the Making of the Twentieth Century World

Current Postgraduate Students (Research)

  Student Degree Type Type
David Kilgannon Doctorate - Ph.D.(Arts) Co-supervisor (1)