Speaker Series 2018

Sunday, May 20, 5:00pm – Tony Bucher on “Archie Bunker’s Chair – Media Images and Social Realities of Irish America from the 1960s and 1970s”

Tony Bucher, President

Powerful and largely unflattering images of the Irish American community were fixed in the news and popular culture in a particularly turbulent passage in American history from the late 1960s through the 1970s.  Certain Irish Americans came to represent the forces of reaction in American society at the very apex of a period of intense social activism and racial, inter-generational, and class conflict.

The critical view of Irish Americana finds expression in such venues as Salon, where cultural critic Andrew O’Hehir published an unfortunate St. Patrick’s Day 2014 op-ed entitled “How did my fellow Irish-Americans get so disgusting?”  Broader themes critical of the Irish American experience were expressed in Noel Ignatiev’s unsympathetic 1995 volume How the Irish Became White.

A survey of American political and cultural history of the 20th Century reveals a somewhat more complicated picture, with Irish Americans among the most instrumental figures on the ‘progressive’ side as well as amply represented in the cultural ferment of the era.  

This talk will attempt to reconcile these various views and images of Irish Americana with the broader experience of the Irish community in America in the 20th Century, with a view towards establishing a more balanced and sustainable perspective on Irish America as a whole.  

The talk will be held on Sunday, May 20, 5:00pm at the United Irish Cultural Center, 45th Avenue at Sloat Blvd., San Francisco.  

The ILHS presents a wide array of leading scholars and accomplished writers at our monthly Speaker Series events that typically take place the last Sunday of the month (September to April) at the United Irish Cultural Center, 45th Avenue and Sloat Blvd., San Francisco, unless otherwise noted.

Watch this space for Fall 2018 event information.