Voting for the 2021 Executive Board positions is now open. Please review the candidate statements below.
Vice President Nominees
I am Professor of History at the College of Charleston. My research focuses on the history of reproduction, especially abortion, as well as feminist health activism in Ireland, past and present. I have written on women’s roles in popular Catholicism, motherhood, fertility control, and more. My teaching and service, like my research, interrogate power and privilege and underscore the importance of the marginalized. I am running for Vice President of ACIS to bring greater attention to these themes in the organization and in the field of Irish Studies.
My previous experience as Director of our Women’s Studies Program and on the Executive of the Women’s History Association of Ireland has prepared me to assume a leadership role in ACIS. As one of the members of ACIS several years ago who helped to create a diversity statement and the GWSS committee for the Executive, as Vice President I would work to continue and expand this important diversity work and in particular to bring new voices and perspectives to ACIS. I also would seek to build on ACIS’s existing transnational connections and partnerships and help to create new ones.
After earning my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, I am currently an Associate Professor at Creighton University with appointments in the Department of English and in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, where I teach nineteenth-century British and Irish Literature. This dual role has helped to reshape the horizons of what I think Irish Studies can do, especially at small liberal arts colleges without dedicated Irish Studies programs. As Kirsten Ostherr has argued, “we need a collaborative response that transcends disciplinary boundaries and offers novel approaches to vexing problems.” I believe Irish Studies is wonderfully suited for just such a collaborative and novel response; moreover, ACIS can provide such innovative opportunities for our various institutions, our field, and broader public engagement. My research has focused on re-situating literature by Irish women in more expansive geographic, social, and political frameworks; as Literature Representative, Midwest Regional Representative, and while organizing the 2019 Midwest Regional Conference, I have sought to expand our inclusion of contingent and non-tenure track faculty, graduate students, and early-career scholars because we know they must be an integral part of our future. Looking forward, I hope to build outward in a collaborative approach to further enhance the exciting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature of Irish Studies.
History Representative Nominees
Troy Davis is Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He is the author of one book, Dublin’s American Policy: Irish-American Diplomatic Relations, 1945-1952, and dozens of articles, book chapters, and conference papers on U.S.-Irish diplomatic history and Irish political history. He is currently writing a book on Minister Plenipotentiary Timothy A. Smiddy and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Irish Free State. He has presented his scholarship on that topic at the Irish Embassy in Washington as part of the Embassy’s celebration of the ninetieth anniversary of Smiddy’s appointment as Minister to the U.S. Troy first became involved with ACIS in the late 1980s while a graduate student at Marquette University. He presented his first paper at an annual meeting of the organization in 1994 and has since been a frequent presenter at ACIS national and regional conferences. He has served the organization by chairing panels and acting as a judge on the selection committee for the Adele Dalsimer Prize for Distinguished Dissertation.
Kenneth Shonk is an Associate Professor of World History and Social Studies Education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is director of the university’s Secondary Teacher Education Preparation program. A native of southern California and former high school teacher, Kenneth earned his doctorate in Irish history from Marquette University in 2010. Research interests include: gender and republicanism in the 1920s and 1930s; Ireland’s place in global decolonization in the mid-20th century; and alternative music in Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s. Recent publications Ireland’s New Traditionalists–Fianna Fáil republicanism and gender, 1926-1938 (Cork University Press, 2021) and Historical Theory and Methods through Popular Music, 1970-2000 (Palgrave, 2017, with Daniel R. McClure). Past and future work has been included in New Hibernia Review, History Ireland, and the Radical History Review. Kenneth is also past president of the Midwest ACIS (2013-2015).
Literature Representative Nominees
Bridget English is a Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-convenes the Irish Studies Scholarly Seminar at the Newberry Library. She holds a PhD in English from Maynooth University. Her monograph Laying Out the Bones: Death and Dying in the Modern Irish Novel was published by Syracuse U.P. in 2017. Her research interests lie in theories of the novel, Irish literature and culture, modernism, and medical humanities. She is working on a book project titled, “Self-Destructive Modernisms: Suicide, Medicine, and Failure in the Modernist Novel.”
As a long-standing member of ACIS, Bridget would welcome the opportunity to act as Literature Representative and would use the position to further cultivate ties between Irish studies scholars in Ireland, America, and further afield. She is also interested in widening the breadth of Irish studies to better incorporate the work of scholars (particularly ECRs and those in precarious positions) working on Irish literature pre-1900, and to foster a more comparative approach, one that puts Irish literature in dialogue with the literatures of other post-colonial cultures and marginalized groups, and increases the interdisciplinarity of the field to incorporate under-represented disciplines like music, art, and medicine.
Jennifer M. Jeffers
Jennifer M. Jeffers is a Professor of English Literature at Cleveland State University where she specializes in 20th and 21st Century Irish and British Literature, Film, and Gender Studies. She has published widely in Irish and British Literature. Her books include The Irish Novel at the End of the Twentieth Century: Gender, Bodies, and Power; Uncharted Space: The End of Narrative; Britain Colonized: Hollywood’s Appropriation of British Literature and Beckett’s Masculinity. She is the international book series Editor for “New Interpretations of Samuel Beckett in the Twenty-First Century” with Palgrave Macmillan. Professor Jeffers is currently writing Derry Girls: The Life of Frances Molloy, a biography of the Northern Irish writer who died in 1991 at the age of forty-four.
Arts Representative Nominees
Enda Duffy is Professor of English, UC Santa Barbara, where from 2016-20 he was the Dept. Chair. From Co. Roscommon, he attended St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and Harvard, where he earned his PhD. He is the author of The Subaltern Ulysses (Minnesota), The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism (Duke)—which won the Modernist Studies Book Prize as the best book on modernism, 2010—has co-edited Joyce, Benjamin and Magical Urbanism (2011), Katherine Mansfield and Bliss (Edinburgh, 2018), and has written many articles on Joyce, Irish writing, post-colonial cultures, and critical theory. He cofounded COMMA, the Center on Modernism, Materialism and Aesthetics, at UCSB, and is the winner of a Whiting Fellowship and of a Hennessy Fiction Award. He is now completing a new, different history of Irish literature, centered on the experience of emi/immigration.
As Arts Representative he will foster practical ways in which Irish and Irish-diasporan artists in media from painting to film, can work more productively with the literature and history specialists of ACIS. He will work with the Irish Dept. of Foreign Affairs and the Arts Council to foster the global reach of Irish culture and critique. He will champion new voices, perspectives and projects at the contested borderlands of gender, race and class. He aims to foster new, lively conjunctions of art-making and criticism that make Irish art global. Irish visual art is at an exciting moment, and the ACIS can foster ways it deals with Global Irishness.
Kay Martinovich is a professional theater director based in Chicago. She was previously Associate Artistic Director at Irish Rep in Chicago where she directed the American premiere of By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr, among other area premieres. She is a proud member of the stage director’s union SDC. Kay is Associate Professor of Acting and Head of Performance at Northern Illinois University. Her NIU directing credits include last fall’s Girls and Dolls by Northern Irish playwright Lisa McGee and A Skull in Connemara by Martin McDonagh. Kay holds a PhD in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis writing her dissertation on “ghosting” in contemporary Irish and Northern Irish drama. She holds an MPhil in Irish Theatre Studies from Trinity College/Dublin, and received her BFA in Directing from The Catholic University of America/Washington, DC. Kay has contributed essays and book reviews to New Hibernia Review and presented papers at conferences including ACIS at national and regional meetings; Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium at Villanova; and Irish Theatrical Diaspora Conference Annual Meeting at Guthrie Theatre. Kay is an advocate for Irish culture, theater, and art, and would be honored to serve as Arts Representative on the ACIS Executive Committee.
Social Science Representative Nominees
Bridget Keown is a lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is leading the interdisciplinary Gender and Science program. She received her PhD in History from Northeastern University and her Master’s degree in Imperial and Commonwealth History from King’s College London. Bridget’s research focuses on gender and trauma, specifically on Irish and British women’s experiences of trauma during the First World War and Anglo-Irish War. She is currently researching the history of kinship among gay and lesbian groups during the AIDS outbreak in the United States and Ireland. Within ACIS, Bridget was a recipient of the Emmet Larkin Fellowship, and is currently serving as the ACIS Graduate Student Representative.
Megan Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Assistant Provost of Academic Assessment ad interim at Boston University. She just completed a seven-year term as Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development and the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning. She is the author of Women in Northern Ireland: Cultural Studies and Material Conditions, (University Press of Florida, 1999), Irish Women and Cinema: 1980-1990, (NOVA Southeastern University. Vol.1, Issue No. 3 Working Papers in Irish Studies, 2001), and Clarissa’s Disappointment and Resources for Families, Teachers and Counselors of Children of Incarcerated Parents, (Shining Hall, an imprint of Twelve Winters Press, 2017), recipient of the Underwood Award for Children’s Literature. She is co-editor, with Denise Johnston, of Parental Incarceration: Personal Accounts and Developmental Impact, (Routledge Press, 2016). Sullivan has written for dozens of journals, including New Hibernia Review, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, The Irish Review, Eire-Ireland and Feminist Review.
Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Representative
Molly Ferguson is an Associate Professor of English at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she teaches Postcolonial literatures and Women’s & Gender Studies. She has published articles on Irish literature & film, and on teaching, in journals including Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, New Hibernia Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Nordic Irish Studies, LIT, and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. She is a past president of the Midwest American Conference for Irish Studies. She is currently working on a book about contemporary feminist reinterpretations of folklore by Irish women writers, titled Disobedient Daughters: Feminist Folklore Adaptations in Contemporary Irish Writing.
Having traveled a circuitous path to Irish Studies and ACIS, Amy Heath-Carpentier would be honored to represent women, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS) scholars and initiatives. Amy has attended and presented at ACIS conferences since 2016, including the 2018 meeting at University College Cork. WGSS research in Irish studies is diverse—across disciplines and inter/transdisciplinary projects. If elected, she hopes to increase 1) opportunities for generative dialogue amongst ACIS WGSS scholars and 2) the visibility of WGSS scholarship within ACIS and beyond.
A sociologist of religion, Amy is an early career scholar/mid-career academic whose research traverses gender, religion and conflict in the revolutionary period. She values cross-disciplinary collaboration, as evidenced by both ongoing projects with the ACIS political scientist, Timothy White, as well as over a decade of team teaching a year-long, first year seminar on Modern Irish Literature at Washington University in St. Louis with Dirk Killen, Erin Finneran, Guinn Batten, Ian Clark, and Daniel Shea. With over eighteen years of experience teaching and advising WGSS students, she is currently a lecturer in the Global Studies program at Washington University in St. Louis and the Founder/Director of the Government and Public Policy Work Group through the Career Center.
Irish Language Representative
Síobhra Aiken recently completed her PhD at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, and now lectures at Roinn na Gaeilge, Queen’s University, Belfast. A former Fulbright Scholar, her publications include The Men Will Talk to Me: Ernie O’Malley’s Interviews with the Northern Divisions (Merrion Press, 2018), An Chuid Eile Díom Féin: Aistí le Máirtín Ó Direáin (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2018), and articles on Irish-language literature, the Gaelic Revival and Irish Revolution. Her monograph, Spiritual Wounds: Trauma, Testimony and the Irish Civil War, is forthcoming from Irish Academic Press.
Bhain Síobhra Aiken PhD amach le deireanaí in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Tá sí ina léachtóir anois i Roinn na Gaeilge, Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste. Bhí sí ina comheagarthóir ar The Men Will Talk to Me: Ernie O’Malley’s Interviews with the Northern Divisions (Merrion Press, 2018), ina heagarthóir ar An Chuid Eile Díom Féin: Aistí le Máirtín Ó Direáin (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2018) agus tá roinnt aistí foilsithe aici ar litríocht na Gaeilge, ar Athbheochan na Gaeilge agus ar Réabhlóid na hÉireann. Tá monagraf léi, Spiritual Wounds: Trauma, Testimony and the Irish Civil War, le foilsiú go luath ag Irish Academic Press.
Graduate Student Representative
Gráinne Daly is an Irish Research Council funded PhD candidate in University College Dublin. She teaches Creative Writing at UCD and is a volunteer learning assistant in the Museum of Literature Ireland. A multi-genre writer, Gráinne’s work has been published in numerous publications. She is the 2019 winner of the UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award. Sport in creative literature is her primary research interest and her doctoral research includes an examination of sport and remembrance culture in Irish literature. As her doctoral creative practice, Gráinne is writing a novel that explores Gaelic games and Irish fan culture. She is a member of the Sport Literature Association and the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).
Caroline Heafey is a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts in the English department. Having earned her M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies from New York University, her thesis focused on the prison writings of Dorothy Macardle. In November 2019, Tramp Press published Macardle’s novel Dark Enchantment with Heafey’s introduction. Her research interests include Irish modernism, Irish women writers, transnational modernism, sound studies and radio studies, and trauma studies. She has been published in Critical Inquiries into Irish Studies and Irish University Review. She is presently preparing for her area exams and dissertation prospectus, which focuses on Irish women writing during “The Emergency” and broadcasting.
Heafey especially enjoys fostering connections among colleagues and nurturing collegial academic communities. Having attended and presented at numerous ACIS regional and national conferences, she is especially grateful to the ACIS community for welcoming her as a junior scholar when she was an M.A. student. The ACIS intellectual community has been integral for Heafey in building confidence about sharing her research. As the Graduate Student Representative, she would be eager to liaise with the Executive Committee and organize mentoring networks to foster ACIS graduate student success.
Mollie Kervick, a PhD candidate in English at the University of Connecticut, researches and writes on the intersections of care, Irish fiction, and the legal humanities. Her dissertation, “Networks of Nurture in Celtic Tiger Fiction by Irish Women,” considers how Irish constitutional law shapes community networks of care in Irish texts. Her scholarship has been published in a leading journal of Irish Studies, New Hibernia Review, as well as in Feminist Encounters, and she recently contributed an entry on “Claire Keegan” to the Dictionary of Literary Biography. In 2019, Mollie was awarded a Wood/Raith Living Trust fellowship which she used to fund her archival research in the Attic Press/Róisín Conroy Collection at University College Cork. There, she studied care networks in late-20th century Irish women’s activist communities. In addition to her scholarship, Mollie has been the president of UConn’s Irish Studies Alliance since 2017 and was the lead organizer for the “Emerging Voices in Irish Studies Conference” hosted by UConn in March 2017.