Mark Doyle

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20072008 Forum on Origins

Mark Doyle

Lecturer, Boston College


Fighting Like the Devil for the Sake of God: Protestants, Catholics, and the Origins of Violence in Belfast, 1850-65

This project traces the origins of a tradition of communal violence in mid-Victorian Belfast. Although Belfast had seen violence between working-class Protestants and Catholics before this period, the repeated and prolonged clashes of the 1850s and 1860s marked the emergence of an endemic, deeply engrained tradition of violence that powerfully shaped both groups' emerging communal identities. By examining the evolution of these distinctive patterns of violence - particularly their transformation from ritualized, rural-style battles into convulsive, deadly urban riots - Dr. Doyle illuminates the complex forces driving communal polarization and priming Belfast's rival communities for the titanic political struggles of the late-nineteenth century.