The International Network of Irish Famine Studies

The International Network of Famine Studies (INIFS) was a collaboration between scholars based in the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, Finland, the US, Canada, and Brazil. Its purpose was to study the Great Irish Famine (1845-52) from a variety of disciplines and national perspectives and to develop collaborative research projects which advance our knowledge of this formative event in the history of Ireland and the Irish diaspora. The International Network of Irish Famine Studies was funded jointly by the Netherlands Society for Scientific Research (NWO), Radboud University, Maynooth University, Queen's University Belfast, and the University of Helsinki.


Duration: 01-11-2014 to 01-11-2017

Logo NWO


Members: An overview of the members of INIFS can be found in this pdf (pdf, 87 kB).

Consortium INIFS


Project summary

Although Irish Famine Studies has become a variegated discipline, in the past the isolation of most Famine researchers within their institutions often prevented them from reaching out beyond the boundaries of their expertise. The International Network of Irish Famine Studies brought together scholars conducting groundbreaking, ongoing research on the Great Irish Famine. As such it intended to stimulate the development of interdisciplinary work on:

  • comparative analyses of the media through which the legacy of the Famine was transmitted
  • an investigation of the imperial power structures that shaped the progression and representations of the Famine
  • an examination of the evolution of transatlantic and transpacific diasporas of Famine emigrants
  • and parallel studies of the Great Hunger and famines taking place in other temporal and geographical contexts but under analogous conditions.

Through the organization of core group meetings and conferences, the network created a platform where Famine scholars presented their research and worked on joint publications which approached the Great Hunger from interdisciplinary viewpoints and generated more generally applicable insights into the socio-cultural and economic contexts in which famines occur. Additionally, the network established an internet forum where resources were published, thereby realizing an archive of reliable information.


  • Belfast meeting (2017) Queen's University Belfast hosted a conference on The Great Famine and Social Class: Conflicts, Responsibilities and Representations (20-21 April 2017).
  • Maynooth conference (2016) Between 14-16 March 2016 Maynooth University hosted the conference The Great Famine and its Impacts: Visual and Material Culture. The conference was organised jointly by Maynooth University and INIFS and was funded by NWO and Maynooth University.
  • Helsinki meeting (2015) Between 6-8 December 2015, Andrew Newby of the University of Helsinki hosted the second meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies. The programme for the meeting included a seminar on "Nineteenth-Century European Famines in Context”.
  • Nijmegen meeting (2015) The "Famine Migration and Diaspora" expert meeting took place at Radboud University Nijmegen on 23 and 24 April 2015.


A comprehensive list of important literature in the field of the Great Irish Famine can be found here (pdf, 509 kB). The list includes contemporary accounts of the Famine, secondary sources and Famine fiction, 1846-1921.