Dr. Breda Gray

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B.Soc.Sc(Hons), MSW, MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Women’s Studies, Department of Sociology, University of Limerick

Biographical Information

I joined Women’s Studies and the Department of Sociology at UL in 2002. Prior to that, I worked as Research Director and as Research Fellow at the Irish Centre for Migration Studies at University College Cork and as Lecturer in Sociology at University College Cork.  Previous academic teaching was on a part-time basis while pursuing my PhD research at Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire, and Edge Hill College.


PhD         Sociology, Lancaster University, England
MA          Lancaster University, England
MSW          University of British Columbia, Canada
B.Soc.Sc (Hons.)    University College Dublin, Ireland

My research interests are in three areas: gender, migration, multiculturalism and religion; the gendered implications of changing boundaries between work and life in the post-industrial economy; memory and life narratives.


Principal Investigator (with Dr Luigina Ciolfi) for PRTLI4 funded project 'Nomadic Work/Life in the "Knowledge Economy"' (2007-2010)

Principal Investigator 'The Catholic Church, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the "new" Ireland', IRCHSS Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative Seed Funding (2006-8); College of Humanities, UL Seed Funding (2007-8)

Investigator on the Higher Education Authority (HEA) North-South Programme, Narratives of Migration and Return, led by NUI Cork and Centre for Migration Studies Omagh, and Queen's University Belfast (2002-2005)

Principal Investigator for HEA – PRTLI1 funded research project Breaking the Silence – staying at home in an emigrant society – strand within the Documents of Ireland project at the National University of Ireland, Cork. http://migration.ucc.ie/oralarchive (1999-2002)

Principal Investigator on collaborative research project Travellers' Tales: remembering 1950s Ireland with Pavee Point Travellers' Education Centre Dublin, Ireland Funds (2001-2003)

Principal Investigator on Immigrant Lives: Life narratives of new immigrants to Ireland. Ireland Funds (2000-2002)

Scientist in Charge – Post-Doctoral Marie Curie Fellowship project on Young women, migration and exclusion in Ireland (2000-2002)

Irish academic advisor and co-researcher on the Irish/US element of the Transnational Community Project, Wellesley College and Harvard University (2000).

Post-Graduate Research Awards

- Economic and Social Research Council Award (1994-6)
- Lancaster University, Faculty of Social Science Post-Graduate Award (1993-4)
- Rotary Foundation International Fellow Award (1984-85)

Other Research Related Activities

Research Advisory Boards
Member of Advisory Board: HEA PRTLI1 Research Project: Women in Paid Employment in Munster 1936-60, University College Cork (1999-2002)

Member of Advisory Board: HEA PRTLI1 Research Project: The Irish Women’s Movement, University College Cork (1999-2002).

Steering group member for collaborative project between University of Hull and University of York -Alcohol and Disadvantage amongst the Irish in England, 1991-1993

Editorial work
Editorial board membership:Migration Letters. An International Journal of Migration Studies;  Irish Feminist Review;  Translocations. Irish Race, Migration and Social Transformation Review.

 Teaching Interests

My teaching interests are in three main areas: feminism, diaspora and multiculturalism; feminist, sociological and queer theory; qualitative research methods.

Current Teaching

I currently teach the MA module ‘Feminism(s), Diaspora and Multiculturalism’ and co-ordinate the MA module on ‘Research Methodologies’. I also teach an undergraduate module on ‘Theories of Multiculturalism’ and co-teach a module on ‘Feminist Perspectives. An Introduction’. In previous years at UL I have taught the MA module ‘Philosophical Approaches to Gender’ and undergraduate module ‘Sociological Theory’. In 2006 I was recipient of a commendation from the University of Limerick Dean of Teaching and Learning for perfect score on teaching effectiveness in small group teaching

Areas of PHD Supervision

I have or am supervising PhDs on the topics of: `Young women and social change in Ireland`; `Irish Migration -Ireland/USA, 1983-2003`; `"Working Mothers" in Ireland` `Masculinities and Social Change in Ireland in the Twentieth Century`; `The Construction of Political Subjectivities: Women Politicians in Ireland`. I welcome applications for research in any of my research or teaching areas.


Women and the Irish Diaspora, London and New York: Routledge, 2004 (ISBN: 0-415-26001-9 hbbk; 0-415-26002-7 pbk)

"Difference" Dilemmas for Management Occasional Paper/Monograph, Gender Research Unit Series, Social and Economic Studies Department, University of Bradford, 1995, pp. 1-23 (ISBN: 0-185143125-X)

Refereed Journal Articles

`Redefining the nation through economic growth and migration: changing rationalities of governance in the Republic of Ireland` Mobilities, 1(3), 2006, pp. 353-72,

`Migrant Integration Policy: A Nationalist Fantasy of Management and Control?` Translocations: The Irish Migration, Race and Social Transformation Review, 1(1) 2006, http://www.imrstr.dcu.ie

`Curious hybridities: Transnational negotiations of migrancy through generation`, Irish Studies Review, 14(2), 2006, pp. 207-224.

`Remembering a `multicultural` future through a history of emigration: Towards a feminist politics of solidarity across difference`, Women`s Studies International Forum, 27(4), 2004, pp. 413-29

`Whitely Scripts`: Irish women`s racialised belongings in London`, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 5(2), 2002, pp. 257-74

`The Irish diaspora – refiguring `home` and `away`, Irish Journal of Sociology, 11 (2), 2002, pp. 123-44

`Breaking the Silence` – Questions of staying and going in 1950s Ireland`, Irish Journal of Psychology, (Special issue on Diaspora), 23 (3-4), 2002, pp. 158-83

`Contemporary Ireland and a Global "Irish Empire" of Memory and Imagination`, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, 7(1), 2000, pp. 111-26

`Gendering the Irish Diaspora`, Women`s Studies International Forum, 23 (2), 2000, pp. 1-19

`Longings and belongings – gendered spatialities of Irishness`, Irish Studies Review, 7:2, 1999, pp. 193-210.
`Modes of national belonging, emigration and Irish national identity`, Auto/Biography, 1997 1,2+3, pp. 145-156

` "Home" - a moving experience for Irish women`, m/f, 1(1), 1997, pp. 6-10
`Irishness - A Global and Gendered Identity?`, Irish Studies Review, 16, 1996, pp. 24-30

`Irish Women In London: National or Hybrid Diasporic Identities`, National Women`s Studies Association Journal, 8 (1), 1996, pp. 85-109

`Accounts of Displacement: Migrant Irish Women in London`, Youth and Policy, 52 (Spring) 1996, pp. 22-29

Book Chapters

`Breaking the Silence: emigration, gender and the making of Irish cultural memory` in Liam Harte (ed.) Modern Irish Autobiography: Self, Nation and Society, Basingstoke: Palgrave. 2007, pp. 111-31

`Preface` M. Cinta Ramblado-Minero and Auxiliadora Perez-Vides, (ed) Unmarried Mothers` in Twentieth-century Ireland: Cultural Reflections, Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2006 pp. v-vii

`"Too close for comfort": Remembering the forgotten diaspora of Irish women in England` in Waltraud Kokot, Khachig Tololyan and Carolin Alfonso (ed.) Diaspora, Identity and Religion: New Directions in Theory and Research, New York: Routledge. 2004 pp. 33-52

`Global Modernities and the gendered epic of the Irish Empire` in Sara Ahmed, Claudia Castaneda, Anne-Marie Fortier and Mimi Sheller (ed.) Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration, Oxford: Berg 2003, pp. 157-78

`The 1980s Irish emigrant and "multicultural" London: From "ethnicity" to "diaspora" ` in Andy Bielenberg (ed.) The Irish Diaspora, Harlow: Longman, 2000 pp. 65-88

`Biographical summary on Anne McClintock` Routledge Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories, (ed.) Lorraine Code, London: Routledge, 1999, pp. 344-6

`The Politics of Irish Identity: Feminism, Nationhood and Colonialism` in Ruth Roach Pierson and Nupur (ed.), Nation, Empire, Colony: Critical Categories of Gender and Race Analysis, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.1998, pp. 121-138 (with Louise Ryan)

`(Dis)locating woman and women in representations of Irish national identity` in Anne Byrne and Madeleine Leonard (eds.) Women and Irish Society. A Sociological Reader, Belfast: Beyond the Pale, 1997, pp. 517-534 (with Louise Ryan)

`(Dis)locating Irishness in the 1990s: The views of Irish women at home and abroad` in Jim Mac Laughlin (ed.), Location and Dislocation in Irish Society: Multidisciplinary Essays on emigration and Irish Identities, Cork: Cork University Press, 1997, pp. 179-208.

`The Home of Our Mothers and Our Birthright for Ages?` in Mary Maynard and June Purvis (ed.), New Frontiers in Women`s Studies: Knowledge, Identity and Nationalism, London: Taylor & Francis 1996, pp. 164-187

`Gendered Constructions of Irishness: Stagnation or Change in Irish Society since Independence` in Suzanne Stern-Gillet et al (ed.) Culture and Identity: Selected Aspects and Approaches, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Slaskiego, 1996, pp. 174-195 (with Louise Ryan)

`Irish Women in Higher Education in England: From Invisibility to Recognition` in Louise Morley and Val Walshe (ed.) Breaking Boundaries: Women in Higher Education, London: Taylor & Francis, 1996, pp. 113-127 (with Louise Ryan)

`Women in Higher Education` in Sue Davies, Cathy Lubelska and Josey Quinn (ed.), Changing the Subject: Women in Higher Education, London: Taylor & Francis, 1994, pp. 75-88

`Women only management training - a past and present` in Morgan Tanton (ed.) Women in Management: A Developing Presence, London: Routledge. 1994, pp. 202-228

Other Publications Including Conference Collections and E-publications

‘Social support structures for migrants – Rapporteur’s Report’ in Irish Presidency Conference Papers, Reconciling Mobility and Social Inclusion – the role of employment and social policy, Dublin: Department of Social and Family Affairs, 2005, pp. 168-173.

‘Irish Ethnicities Abroad and at Home’, British Association for Irish Studies Newsletter, No. 26, April, 2001, 8-11

‘Steering a course somewhere between hegemonic discourses of Irishness’, in Ronit Lentin (ed). The Expanding Nation: Towards a Multi-Ethnic Ireland, Conference Proceedings, Trinity College Dublin. 1999, pp. 66-73

‘Irish Women – A Contradictory Category’ in Ciaran McCullagh (ed.) Sociology: A Course Reader, Centre for Adult and Continuing Education, NUI Cork, 1999, pp. 43-52.
ePublications- see http://migration.ucc.ie/oralarchive - teaching and research resource

Conference Presentations Since 2000

Plenary Lectures/Invited Seminars/Lectures

‘Emigration, enquiry and emotion: Reflections on researching recent Irish migration’, Fifth M.Sc. in Irish Migration Studies Annual Public Lecture, Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh and Queen’s University Belfast, January 28, 2006

‘Women, family, migration and late-twentieth-century Irish modernity’, Sociology Seminar Series, National University of Ireland Maynooth, February 28, 2005
‘Gender, emigration and the making of Irish cultural memory’, Women on Ireland Network Annual Conference on Gender and Memory, University of Limerick, June 9-10, 2005

‘The dynamics of community and belonging for migrant Irish women in 1990s London’, Symposium on the health and risk behaviour of the Irish at home and away, Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University, October 29-30, 2004
‘Maternity, nation and migration in twentieth century Ireland – Introductory Remarks’, ‘Unmarried Mothers’ in Twentieth-century Ireland: Cultural Reflections, University of Limerick, June 24-25 2004

Rapporteur ‘Integration: social support structures for migrants’, at EU Presidency Conference on Reconciling Mobility and Social Inclusion – the Role of Employment and Social Policy, Bundoran, April 1-2, 2004

‘Mobility, diaspora and globalisation – re-siting feminist politics’ – Keynote Paper, Women’s Studies Network (Ireland and UK) Annual Conference, University College Dublin, July 8 –11th, 2004

‘The politics of emigration in 1950s Ireland’, Fr. Taffe Emigration Summer School, Castlebar, 19-20 September 2003

‘Memory, Diaspora and Identity’, Re-imagining Ireland International Conference, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. 16 May 2003.

‘Feminism, Multiculturalism and Politics’, Feminist Knowledge and Politics Symposium – responses to Sandra Harding, University College Cork, April 4-5, 2003

‘Making connections between then and now – accounting for staying in the 1950s’, Emigration Advice Network (EAN) Annual Conference, Dublin, 13 February 2003.

‘Narratives of staying “at home” in 1950s Ireland’, Wiles Trust Colloquium, Queen’s University Belfast, September 5, 2002

‘Women’s narratives of staying and migrating in 1950s and 1980s Ireland’, Irish Women’s History Network Annual Conference, St Patrick’s College, Dublin. September 7, 2002

‘Changing gendered constructions of the ‘staying’ subject in contexts of high out migration in 1950s and 1980s Ireland’, National Women’s History Conference, St Patrick’s College, Dublin, September 8, 2002

Conference Papers

‘Diaspora, migration and feminist politics of solidarity: An Irish case study’, Gendering Citizenship and Globalisation Conference, University of Huelva, Spain, May 9-11, 2005

‘Pro-immigrant policy, neo-liberalism and ‘interculturalism’ in the Republic of Ireland: divergent or convergent ethical regimes?, International Sociological Association Conference: From emigration to immigration countries in Europe: new patterns, Cerisy, Normandy, France, June 2-6, 2005

‘Class, “race” and gender in negotiations of belonging for 1980s Irish women migrants to England’, Irish Spaces. Homeland, Asylum, Empire, Diaspora: 13th Irish Australian Studies Conference, University of Melbourne, September 28-October 1, 2004

‘Domestic Violence in Ireland and Globally – an overview’, Public Seminar on Domestic Violence – Local Issues and Responses, University of Limerick December 9 2004

‘Gender, memory and the self’, Women’s Studies at UL Day School on Gender, memory and oral history/ narratives of the self, University of Limerick, April 16 2004
‘Migration, memory practices and multiculturalism in the Republic of Ireland’ ACUME European Network Conference on Cultural Memory in Peripheral European Countries, University of Malta, 7 –9 May, 2004

‘Class, generation, race and gender in negotiations of belonging for 1980s Irish women migrants to England’, Joint Conference of the American Conference for Irish Studies; British Association of Irish Studies and European Association for Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, July 13-16th 2004

‘Empathy and the politics of multiculturalism’, International Sociological Association Conference: Racisms, Sexisms and Contemporary Politics of Belonging, London, August 25-27, 2004

‘Gender, multiculturalism and public uses of memory’, Women’s Movement. Migrant Women transforming Ireland Conference, Trinity College Dublin, March 20-21, 2003

‘Mapping the fields of the social, cultural and global in feminism’, Feminist Transitions: Social, Cultural and Global, University of Limerick May 16, 2003

‘Migration, gender and life narrative’, ‘Who’s telling tales? Oral History in Ireland today. Conference, University College Cork, April 12, 2002

‘Witnessing Emigration - Memory and Life Narratives of staying ‘at home’, Migration and Transculturation Conference, Institute of Romance Studies, University of London, May 31– June 2, 2001

‘Globalisation, mobility and Irish belonging at the millennium’, Irish Geography Annual Conference, National University of Ireland, Cork, April 13, 2001

‘Collecting life-narratives for on-line and library based multi-media archives’, British Association of Irish Studies Conference, Researching the Irish Diaspora, University of North London, March 21-23, 2001

‘Diaspora’ – a mode of interrogating Irish identity and belonging?’ Locality, Identity, Diaspora Conference, Institute of Social/Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg, 2000



Office Hours

Tuesdays 15:00 - 17:00