|Abstract:||This paper focuses on the transnationality of identity in terms of how Irish diasporic memory is functioning in a post-September 11th context. Here a distinction is made between Irish identity in Ireland and Irish-American identity. Drawing on current cultural studies critiques, a further distinction is made; namely how the look of Irishness is functioning as a sign for white America (Negra: 2006).|
In this respect, The Irish Face In America is an interesting text in that it exploits both the conventions of ‘old’ and ‘new’ photography. This study draws out the significance of these strategies in terms of constructions of Irish-American diasporic cultural memory as it is being currently formulated in a specific location; namely, a post 9/11 US context. Transnationality, in this instance works in two directions because a post-Cease-Fire Irish context is necessary for this re-imagining of the Irish terrorist. Through this case study of The Irish Face In America, I argue that photography is being employed to reify notions of roots and identity (Ireland and the Irish) that serve to obfuscate the challenges of multiculturalism in contemporary North America. European identification is, thus, refashioned to appease anxieties about authenticity and memory, and to articulate concerns about migration and integration.