Dr Eugene Costello
School of The Human Environment
Dr Eugene Costello is an archaeologist and historian interested in marginalised peoples and places, particularly rural areas of north-west Europe. Having earned a BA at UCC and an MA at University of Sheffield, he completed a PhD in 2016 at NUI Galway funded by Irish Research Council and Hardiman scholarships. Since then, he has held a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at University of Notre Dame and a postdoctoral fellowship in environmental humanities at Stockholm University. He has taught at both Galway and Stockholm, and continues this at UCC. He has published widely, including the book Transhumance and the Making of Ireland’s Uplands, 1550-1900.
As NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Humanities, Dr Costello is using archaeological, historical and environmental evidence to develop a radical periphery-centred perspective on the emergence of capitalism in late medieval and early modern Europe. Focusing on ‘marginal’ upland communities in Ireland and Sweden, he asks how farmers adapted to growing market demands for meat and dairy and determine their role, as food suppliers, in the development of commercial urban centres. This project will help the humanities to start contributing to the debate on rural sustainability by highlighting the agency of rural people and also the long-term consequences of commercial livestock production for community and landscape alike.
Dr Costello is based in the Department of Archaeology, which has a strong track record in landscape research and maintains links with rural geographers and early modern historians around UCC, especially concerning the south west where his Irish case study is located. At the same time, Costello is forging new international links for UCC in Sweden, particularly Stockholm and Uppsala.