Fifteen years on : an examination of the Irish Famine curricula in New York and New Jersey.

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Letters


Since the early 1980s Holocaust education and genocide studies programs at the primary, secondary and post-secondary educational levels have become commonplace and an accepted element of public school curriculum. As these programs and their curricula gained acceptance within public education, efforts to increase awareness of genocidal events outside and beyond the European Holocaust as well as increased attention paid to ethnic studies programs have also gained traction in public schooling. These efforts manifested themselves in the mid to late 1990s to include the Great Irish Famine (1845 - 1852) as a sub-study of greater Holocaust/genocide studies in both the states of New Jersey and New York. More than ten years after the formal adoption of the official state-sponsored Great Irish Famine curricula, their impact, influence and utilization remain unclear. This paper examines the history behind the creation of both New Jersey and New York Famine Curricula, compares and contrasts the two documents, examines their use in both states' public schools, and suggests potential revisions to each Famine curriculum.