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This seminar serves as an interdisciplinary forum on all aspects and periods of Irish culture. Seminar participants come from a wide variety of fields: history, literature, art history, film studies, political science, sociology, anthropology, music, and folklore. These scholars bring to any topic under discussion a diversity of background which is stimulating and informative for all present. The concern for Irish studies as a field of scholarly inquiry is reflected in the collegial sharing of information about resources and repositories for research in the field.

Mary McGlynn

Seamus O’Malley

Kate Reeve

Meeting Schedule

11/03/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM
The Linguistic Ecology of Irish, Sustainability, and the Utopian Impulse
Jonathan O'Neill, Villanova University


Professor O'Neill's talk is entitled "The Linguistic Ecology of Irish, Sustainability, and the Utopian Impulse." It explores the current discourse on ecological crisis and sustainability. The precarious nature of the Irish language has also been referred to metaphorically in terms of ecological crisis. Using a framework from ecolinguistics, this presentation will trace how the Irish language – as a cultural artifact – has been deployed historically in narratives of ecological discourse. The presentation will draw on several more contemporary aspects of the work of Tim Robinson, John Moriarty, Manchán Magan, and Katie Holten to explore the themes and tropes that cohere around the language in this context. Ecological sustainability has informed linguistic debate, but what might the historical tenacity of the Irish language offer to a discursive juncture inflected by catastrophe? Examining these themes raises interesting questions about what they signify in terms of linguistic sustainability and ecological discourse.

12/01/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM
Sally Rooney: Perspectives and Approaches
Ellen Scheible, Bridgewater State

Barry Devine, Heidelberg


Professors Scheible and Devine will discuss their forthcoming edited collection, "Sally Rooney: Perspectives and Approaches." This timely collection focuses on critical essays in the field of Irish literary studies and women's fiction, specifically contemporary work by Sally Rooney. In a time of rapid social and cultural change, Rooney’s novels carry intellectual and pedagogical currency in both the undergraduate classroom and the fields of Irish literary and critical studies. As a contemporary woman writer who produced fiction both before and after the current discourse on reproductive rights in Ireland, Rooney often presents as a beacon of radical inclusion or progressive change for young readers. Students identify with her subtle humor, sharp critiques of capitalism, and the sexual openness at the core of her provocative storylines and characters. Scheible and Devine will discuss their different approaches to Rooney's work and will offer a glimpse into the upcoming collection.

02/02/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM
The Emergence of the Global Irish-Speaking Population in the Nineteenth-Century: Implications and Impacts
Nicholas Wolf, New York University


The talk will discuss new attention by scholars to the realities of a significant Irish-speaking diaspora that had emerged by the second half of the nineteenth century, explored most often through its impact on literature composed in Irish. What evidence have scholars uncovered regarding the scope of this global community, how does this change our view of the development of an Irish-language culture in the Revival period, and what information can be gleaned from the latest Irish-language sources being made available to scholars? This talk will review these findings and the ways they suggest a concurrent global influence on this emerging Revival-era Irish-speaking culture, with a particular focus on new findings made available through the publication of online digitized editions of key Irish-language texts of the era including Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, An Claidheamh Soluis, and, most recently, An Gaodhal.

03/01/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM


04/05/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM
The Necromantics: Reanimation, the Historical Imagination, and Victorian British and Irish Literature
Renee Fox, University of California, Santa Cruz


The Necromantics examines the relationship between reanimated bodies and 19th-century theories of history in the work of Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, WB Yeats, Bram Stoker, and others, arguing that the literature of reanimation is an explicitly unhaunted gothic, one preoccupied with the powers of the present rather than the agency of the past. The talk will address the development and stakes of the project, situating it not only within the fields of Victorian Studies and Irish Studies but also within the emerging field of Monster Studies.

04/19/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:45 PM
The Body of the Law in Contemporary Irish Poetry
Adam Hanna, University College Cork