Conor Donnan

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Ph.D. Candidate

Conor Joseph Donnan is a doctoral student in the History Department at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Professor Walter Licht. He received his B.A. in History from Ulster University in Ireland. Afterward, Conor moved to the United States where he obtained a Master’s degree in Historical Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Conor’s current research at Penn focuses on labor and immigration in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. His dissertation reconstructs the interactions of Irish Catholics and Native Americans against the backdrop of American imperial expansion, industrialization, and questions of citizenship in the trans-Mississippi West from 1841 to 1924. He is currently a graduate fellow at the Perry World House and the Collegium Institute in Philadelphia. He is an active public historian and a board member of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum. In this capacity, he has developed a historical video game, appeared as a guest speaker on the U.S. National Parks Service’s Heritage Area podcast, and appeared on a documentary about railroad history for LifeFM radio. 

Advisor: Walter Licht

Committee Members: Kathy Peiss, Adolph Reed, and Eiichiro Azuma.

Dissertation Readers:  David Emmons and David Treuer.


M.A., Historical Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2016)

B.A., History and Area Studies, University of Ulster (2014)

Research Interests

Modern U.S History; The American West; Labor History; History of Capitalism; Immigration; Imperialism; Irish Diaspora; Social History; Cultural History. 

CV (file)