Hannaleigh Jennings, “The Great Potato Revolution”


There is no argument that potatoes as a food are world-renowned. But it comes as a surprise to many that potatoes are not indigenous to Europe, they are from the Americas. They were considered a holy grail of nutrition, quickly adopted by Europeans as they brought them across the Atlantic. Potatoes were a hit, especially in areas with suitable soil and demand, such as Ireland. Potatoes surely changed Irish diets, but what else was changed with the adoption of this new crop? It is quite clear that the Irish came to rely on potatoes, but scholars have not yet determined how potatoes changed Ireland in terms of land, law, and society. The interest of this research is to find how potatoes have otherwise impacted Irish land and people.


My name is Hannaleigh Jennings, and I am a fourth year undergraduate student at UW-Milwaukee. I am majoring in History with a certificate in Celtic Studies, as well as a member of the Honors College. I am involved in Phi Theta Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Honors College Equity Team. I will be graduating this spring, and look forward to bringing the skill set I have developed in the last four years to the greater Milwaukee community.


“The Great Potato Revolution”

One thought on ““The Great Potato Revolution”

  • May 18, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Hannaleigh, This is a wonderful project. Everyone’s heard of the Great Potato Famine, and you turned that on its head. I like the way you’ve used that association to generate new research questions and bring attention to environmental, social, and legal transformations while arguing for a reframing of Ireland’s relationship with this storied vegetable as one of revolution and not simply privation. Lots of great research instincts embedded in this work! ~ Nan Kim (History Department)


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