British Association for American Studies


Book Hour with Dr. Catherine V. Bateson, the author of Irish-American Civil War Songs: Identity, Loyalty, and Nationhood.


The Next U.S. Studies Online’s Book Hour will take place today, 13th February 2023 at 4pm GMT with Dr. Catherine Bateson, who will talk about her inspirational first monograph, Irish-Americans Civil War Songs: Identity, Loyalty, and Nationhood (Louisiana State University Press, 2022).

Dr. Bateson completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2018 and since then has gone not only to continue in academia as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Kent. Dr. Bateson’s first book is leading off her PhD research which had assessed the culture and sentiments of songs produced by and about the Irish who fought in and lived through the American Civil War (1861-1865). Currently, Dr. Bateson is working on a new project about the twenty-firth anniversary of the American Civil War. She is also Associate Editor of the ‘Irish in the American Civil War’ project and co-founder of the Stuff of War Society.

Dr. Bateson’s inspirational book explores how the Irish-born and Irish-descended soldiers and sailors were involved in every major engagement of the American Civil War. Throughout the conflict, they shared their wartime experiences through songs and song lyrics, leaving behind a vast trove of ballads in songbooks, letters, newspaper publications, wartime diaries, and other accounts. Dr. Bateson investigates the Irish American song lyrics within the context of broader wartime experiences and how these songs and lyrics offer an under-appreciated source of contemporary feelings and opinions about the war.

The U.S. Studies Online is dedicated to showcasing some of the most cutting-edge research by, and professional development support for, American Studies scholars at postgraduate level and at the early stages in their careers, it always wonderful to hear about the experiences these scholars have had throughout their academic careers and after. In an interview with Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities (SGSAH), Dr. Bateson said she ”always wanted to do a PhD, even from the earliest days of undergraduate study – I have a deep love of History and American Studies, and I knew I wanted to take that further through learning in academia.”[i] She also reminds us, especially those still in the middle or nearing the end of their research periods, how it important to

“remember why you wanted to do a doctorate – lots of things will come up over the three/four (or longer if you’re part-time) period and sometimes you can forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. Let the research guide you through things – it’s the most important part of the job, the joy of finding sources, critically assessing them, thinking thoughts, having permanent half-sentences notes of ideas written on the phone. Getting back to the research was always (and still is) my work comfort blanket. Also remember to go for walks and take a break – if you’re based in Scotland then head out into the hills and get away for a few days, it’s incredibly restorative.”[ii]

Powerful reminders, which are necessary for us all. Furthermore, along with talking about authoring Irish American Civil War Songs, Dr. Bateson will also speak with us about her book publishing experience and how to juggle that while also on precarious contracts with not much institutional support to help. In relation to her experience, Dr. Bateson will also speak about the importance of having a good press as your support, which is a necessary reminder to us all to remember our own worth – no one knows your research as well as you do, therefore, you are its best advocate. We very much look forward to speaking with Dr. Bateson later today!



The Book Hour is free to attend but registration is required in order for organizers to send you a secure Zoom link.

Registering is available until 1pm today.
You can reserve a spot for the Book Hour with Catherine Bateson

When registering, please ensure to leave a current email address in order to receive a secure Zoom link prior to the talk. After the talk, there will also be a Q&A open for all attendees.



End notes:

[i] “Interview with Catherine Bateson,” Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities (SGSAH) https://sgsahresearch.com/portfolio/catherine-bateson/

[ii] Ibid.



The U.S. Studies Online Book Hour is a regular book talk among scholars, postgraduates, early-career researchers, and the public about recently published work in wider sense of American Studies.

#USSOBookHour is an opportunity for scholars to share their most original voices and connect with young researchers and readers, and we are pleased to offer an honorarium for our invited speakers. Anyone is welcome to join the talk.

We invite scholars in American Studies to introduce their latest publications that generate heated debates, innovative ideas, meaningful conversations, and spark thought. Each talk lasts for about 30-40 minutes, followed by a Q&A session (or a roundtable discussion).

Get in touch with Aija Oksman, the Book Hour Organizer and Book Reviews Editor at usso@baas.ac.uk if you would like to co-host, to take part with your book, or ask questions about #USSOBookhour in general.