Nana Hengelhaupt

Nana Hengelhaupt is focussing on the impact of the European Enlightenment on the colonial mentality in Ireland. Due to the English colonial rule over Ireland, Ireland itself has to be regarded in its particularity as an inner- European colony. As a consequence, the English perception of the allegedly backward and uncivilized Irish constituted a predominant perspective throughout the 18th century. Particularly if the Enlightenment was characterized in terms of cultural progress, cosmopolitism and anti-clerical secularisation, Ireland was easily identified as an uncivilized, priest-ridden and “benighted” periphery. Nevertheless, recent surveys illustrate the considerable trade and diffusion of enlightened works and ideas in eighteenth century Ireland. Huguenot publishers evidently played a key role, but also English and Irish writers such as William Molyneux, John Toland, George Berkeley and Thomas Paine provided a significant Irish audience with enlightened ideas that could implicitly challenge the capacity of the British constitution to treat Irish people as equal subjects.