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College of Arts and Humanities

Michael S. Silvestri

Michael S. Silvestri

Professor; Coordinator of the Undergraduate Program in History

Department of History
Office: 122 Hardin Hall
Phone: (864) 656-3153

Ph.D., Columbia University (1998)


British Empire, Ireland

Research Interests
European History; Britain and Ireland since 1750; Empire; Transnational history

A specialist in modern British and Irish history, Dr. Silvestri's research focuses on transnational networks of individuals and ideas across the British Empire. He is the author of two books, Ireland and India: Nationalism, Empire and Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Policing “Bengali Terrorism” in India and the World: Imperial Intelligence and Revolutionary Nationalism, 1905-1939 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He is a co-author of the textbook Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World (Routledge, 2014). His research has been funded by grants from the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His current book project (under contract with New York University Press) is titled “'A Country that has Served the World Well with Police': The Irish Policeman in the British Empire and Beyond.” It explores the Irish role in policing the British Empire in locales ranging from North America to the British Caribbean to Southeast Asia to Australasia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It examines how Irishmen constructed careers in imperial service, the position of the Irish within the racial hierarchies of the British Empire, the contribution of communities of Irish men and women to the culture and society of the Empire and how the Irish experience as imperial policemen compared to their role as policemen beyond the Empire’s borders. At Clemson he teaches courses on modern Britain, Ireland, the British Empire and historical methods.


Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

Policing “Bengali Terrorism” in India and the World: Imperial Intelligence and Revolutionary Nationalism, 1905-1939 (Britain and the World Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Paperback 2020).

Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World (Routledge, 2014. Second edition 2023.)

Ireland and India: Nationalism, Empire and Memory. (Cambridge Imperial and Postcolonial Studies Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

“British Imperial Intelligence and Anticolonial Revolutionaries during and after the Great War,” in Patrick Mannion and Fearghal McGarry, eds., The Irish Revolution: A Global History (New York University Press, 2022), pp. 239-61.

“Empire,” in Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, eds., Ireland in 1922: Independence, Partition and Civil War (Royal Irish Academy, 2021), pp. 20-25.

“‘These Dead Heroes Did Not Regret the Sacrifices They Made’: Ireland and the Russian Revolution, 1917-1923,” in The Wider Arc of Revolution: 1917 in Transnational Perspective (Slavica Press, 2019).

“‘Paddy Does Not Mind Who the Enemy Is’: The Royal Irish Constabulary and Imperial Policing,” in Michael De Nie, Timothy McMahon and Paul Townend, eds., Ireland in an Imperial World: Citizenship, Opportunism and Subversion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

“'A Fanatical Reverence for Gandhi': Nationalism and Police Militancy in Bengal during the Non-cooperation Movement.” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 45: 6 (2017), pp. 969-997

"'The South Needs Encouragement’: The Irish Republican Campaign in the American South and Southern Irish-American Identity, 1919-1920." Eire-Ireland 47:3&4 (Fall/Winter 2012), pp. 198-229.

“'The White God of the Hindus': John Nicholson as a British and Irish Imperial Hero,” in Robert Blythe and Keith Jeffery, eds., The British Empire and Its Contested Pasts (Dublin and Portland, OR: Irish Academic Press, 2009), pp.196-216.

“The Bomb, Bhadralok, Bhagavad Gita and Dan Breen: Terrorism in Bengal and Its Relation to the European Experience,” Terrorism and Political Violence 21:1 (Winter 2009), pp. 1-27.

“'315 Million of India with Ireland to the Last’: Irish and Indian Nationalists in North America,” in Tadhg Foley and Maureen O’Connor, eds., Ireland and India: Colonies, Culture, Empire (2006), pp. 244-55.

'The Thrill of ‘Simply Dressing Up’: The Indian Police, Disguise, and Intelligence Work in the British Raj.”  Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History (2001).

“The ‘Sinn Fein of India’: Irish Nationalism and the Policing of Revolutionary Terrorism in Bengal, 1905-1939,” Journal of British Studies (2000).

“‘An Irishman is Specially Suited to be a Policeman’: Sir Charles Tegart and Revolutionary Terrorism in Bengal,” History-Ireland (Winter 2000).

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