The Irish in North America; revolutionary and conservative movements; state security and civil liberty; religion and nationalism; Ireland, race and empires.
Born in Islandmagee, County Antrim, Ireland, in a farmer's cottage without electricity or running water (and thus establishing himself as a true Celt), David Wilson moved with his family to England, where he resisted education in a variety of schools before being fired as a bus conductor, living in a commune in Cardiff, and hitchhiking in western Europe. Going to the University of York, dropping out, and going again, he eventually received his BA and emigrated to Canada, completing his MA and PhD at Queen's University. After sessional appointments at St. Lawrence University, Queen's University and St. Thomas University, he joined the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast. Unable to land a permanent job, and unwilling to spend the rest of his life lurching from one sessional appointment to another, he returned to Canada, where he prepared and presented radio documentaries with CBC's Ideas series. While doing that, he applied for a position in the University of Toronto's History Department, and taught there for three years before moving to the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael's College. In 2013, much to his surprise, he was invited to become the General Editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and has been working there ever since.