Patrick Kelleher, history graduate student

Ph.D. student (ABD), U.S.
American Immigration and Ethnicity, the Irish in America, the Civil War, Diaspora, American Political History, Military History


B.A., History, magna cum laude, Xavier University, 2005
M.A., History, The Catholic University of America, 2018

Click here for curriculum vitae




Dissertation title: “'The Irish-American Army': Fenian Soldiers, the Civil War, and the Forging of Diasporic Nationalism”
Director: Dr. Timothy Meagher


My dissertation considers Irish-American nationalism in the Civil War era, focusing on the ways in which Union army military service impacted soldiers who joined the Fenian Brotherhood. Through the examination of federal records and Fenian papers, I seek to provide the first social history of American Fenians. Exploring themes of Famine migration, masculinity, and political participation, my dissertation views these Irish-American nationalists through the lens of their experiences of combat in order to uncover their identities and understand their motivations. To test the difference between republican and imperial military service, I will juxtapose American Fenians with their counterparts in the British army, adding a comparative dimension to this transnational movement.


Novice Teacher of the Year, Archdiocese of Washington, the Catholic High School Principals’ Association, and Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 2017

Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, Department of History, The Catholic University of America, 2015

Conference paper, “Seeds of Fenian Identity: Nativity, Military Service, and the Cultivation of Social Capital in the American Civil War Era,” American Conference for Irish Studies, Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, 2014

Distinguished Military Graduate, U.S. Army ROTC, 2005