CWU News

Interim Dean of CAH publishes new book on the Irish Free State

CWU Interim Dean of CAH, Dr. Jason Knirck

Dr. Jason Knirck, the interim dean of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities, recently published a new book titled 'Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State.'

CWU’s Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) Dr. Jason Knirck proudly announced last month that his book, Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State, has been published.

The 264-page hardcover book from Manchester University Press analyzes the difficulties in normalizing opposition in the Irish Free State, focusing on the definition and implementation of democracy, particularly the role of constitutional opposition in a new state that had broken away from its former colonial master.  

In summing up the book, Knirck says it “studies the difficult onset of democracy in the Irish Free State, which had to contend with the legacies of colonialism, the various anti-democratic movements in Europe in the 1920s, a steep economic depression, and the practices and ideology of its own nationalist revolution.”

Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State book coverKnirck is a longtime CWU history professor and modern Irish historian who also teaches British and western European history. His research focuses on the Irish revolution of the 1910s and 1920s, analyzing the intersections of Irish political culture with topics such as gender, empire, democracy, and post-colonial state-building. His undergraduate courses on the Irish Revolution and Ireland and Empire also cover many of the same themes that animate his research.

The 2022 Distinguished Faculty Award winner began teaching at Central in 2004 and was named interim dean of CAH last fall. Knirck’s research centers on the Irish revolution and the foundation of the Irish Free State, focusing particularly on the political rhetoric of the period. Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State took him a number of years to complete, making the release all the more special.

“It was a long time coming but I am glad it is finally out,” he said. “I very much appreciate the support from CWU in providing travel funds, graduate student research assistants, and other types of help that were critical in enabling this book to be finished.”

On its website, Manchester University Press describes the book by saying it “captures the collision between 19th-century monolithic nationalist movements with the norms and expectations of multiparty parliamentary democracy, along with the Irish revolutionaries' attempts to create a postcolonial state involved resolving tension between these two ideas.”

The ensuing conflicts made it more difficult to established democracy and opposition in the Irish Free State.

Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State was released in February and is available for purchase online.

Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518