John Regan

+44 (0) 1382 3 84511
Lecturer in History



Before joining the University of Dundee as a lecturer in 2002, I held research fellowships at the Universities of Oxford and Exeter where I also taught.

My teaching focuses on Ireland and Britain from the nineteenth century. I offer two Honours modules: 'Questions of Ulster 1590 to 2004', 'Revolution in Ireland and counter-revolution in Ireland 1912-1936'.

My current research reflects on the impact of the war in Northern Ireland (1969-1997) on the way historians view modern Irish history. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the Irish revolutionary period (c.1912-23). As you can see from my module titles, debates surrounding these issues inform my teaching.

History at Dundee is about challenging the past and historians, first among them your tutor! For me, History is a lot about asking questions, debating and argument. Undergraduate historians learn many things but among the most important is how to construct logical well-thought arguments. This skill can be applied in any aspect of life.

Research is integral to our teaching at Dundee. I spend one to three months every year working in archives in Dublin, Belfast and London. Documents and sources I find are used in seminars ensuring students are taught from the cutting edge of historical understanding.




  • Questions of Ulster 1590 to 2004
  • Revolution and counter-revolution in Ireland 1912-36



Currently, I am looking at the influence of the war in Northern Ireland on the writing of twentieth-century history. Central to this study is the way historians have handled the concept of political legitimacy in relation to the state and the use of violence.

Suggested areas for postgraduate supervision

I would be interested to hear from research students wishing to work on the following broad areas:

  • Radical-republican and official state versions of modern Irish history
  • Twentieth-century Irish politics
  • The Irish Revolutionary period
  • Provisional IRA
  • Historiography
  • Commemoration in Ireland
  • Public History in Ireland

AHRC funded studentships are available in my research area - more details

Research Problems

I think the impact that the war in Ireland (1968-97) had on historiography is one of the bigger questions confronting modern Irish historians at the moment. I am particularly interested in supervising research students who would help me work on this historical problem.

Has, for example, the Provisional IRA's campaign influenced our interpretation of republicanism in the revolutionary period 1912-23?

Have interested parties (governments, political parties, and paramilitaries) used history in the recent war to justify their positions?

How has historical commemoration been influenced by the conflict?

Is there a radical history of twentieth-century Ireland?

If so what does it say and how does it compare with scholarly and official state interpretations?

The ending of the recent conflict has facilitated a new and more open discussion of recent history among a younger generation of Irish historians. At Dundee we want to see this translated into innovative postgraduate research possibilities.




  • The Irish Counter-Revolution 1921-36: treatyite politics and settlement in Independent Ireland (Dublin and New York, 1999).
  • Ireland: the politics of Independence 1922-49 (Basingstoke and New York 2000).


  • Review of Peter Hart's The IRA at war 1916-23 (Oxford, 2003) Reviews in history
  • 'The politics of utopia: executive autonomy, party politics and the new administration 1922-7', in John M. Regan and M. J. Cronin (eds.), Ireland: the politics of Independence 1922-49, (Basingstoke and New York, 2000).
  • 'The politics of reaction: the dynamics of treatyite government and policy 1922-33', Irish Historical Studies, 30 (1997).
  • 'The politics of reaction: the dynamics of treatyite government and policy 1922-33', Irish Historical Studies, 30 (1997).
  • 'Michael Collins: the legacy and the intestacy', in Dermot Keogh and Gabriel Doherty (eds.), Michael Collins and the making of the Irish State, (Cork and Dublin, 1998).