Haunted Hibernia: Conjuring the Contemporary Irish Gothic
Time and Venue: 28th -29th October (Friday and Saturday), Carlow College, St Patricks. Ireland
Plenary Speaker: Sorcha Ní (Senior Lecturer and founding member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University)
In the period following the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, Irish society and culture began to take on a distinctly Gothic hue. In popular discourse, the landscapes of recessionary Ireland were figured as uncanny, spaces, haunted by ‘ghost estates’ and ‘zombie banks’, and preyed upon by vampiric ‘vulture . At the same time, deeply disturbing aspects of Ireland’s history were further exposed in a plethora of government commissions documenting the shocking scale and extent of the abuses committed by the church and state, including: the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the ‘Ryan Report’), the 2013 Magdalen Commission Report (the ‘Quirke Report’), and (the more problematic) 2021 Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. These profoundly disturbing revelations regarding the country’s past have resonated, in a deeply troubling manner, with more recent societal crises, such as the ongoing issue of homelessness and child poverty, the inhumane treatment of individuals in direct provision, the fight for reproductive autonomy, and the rise of domestic violence in the wake of the ongoing Covid pandemic. Given the psychologically discomfiting and socially unsettling effect of these overlapping contexts and anxieties, it is unsurprising that the Gothic has proved an especially apposite prism for the artistic representation of Ireland’s post-Celtic-Tiger dispensation.
This conference seeks to explore the myriad ways that the Gothic has been deployed to interrogate the social, economic, and political transformations that have occurred in Ireland since the end of the Celtic Tiger, and to exhume the associated historical trauma engendered by these changes. It will also examine how the contemporary scene has generated and precipitated new variations and hybridizations of Gothic literature and media in Ireland. We welcome papers that engage with the Gothic in a wide variety of forms and media, fiction, poetry, drama, film, tv, visual art, music, digital media and storytelling, and the broader field of popular culture.
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
Gothic tropes and motifs (the monstrous, the spectral, the uncanny, the haunted house) in contemporary Irish artistic culture.
The Gothic and gender/sexuality: The Gothic as a lens through which we engage with the politicised female body and ownership/possession of the female body in 21st century Ireland.
The use of the Gothic as a mode of progressive social and political protest.
The Gothic and the representation of economic/financial crisis in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.
Contemporary artistic engagement with an older Irish Gothic tradition and/or the aesthetic evolution and re-invention of the Gothic in contemporary Irish art and literature
Narratives of Gothic imprisonment/entrapment in contemporary Ireland, both literal and structural.
The Gothic as a response to Ireland’s ongoing mental health crisis.
Representations of home and homelessness in the contemporary Irish Gothic.
Constructions of domesticity and the domestic space in the contemporary Irish Gothic.
Spectres of imperialism in contemporary Ireland
Eco Gothic and Eco horror in and Irish context
The Gothic in Contemporary Irish Children’s Literature
The Covid pandemic and the Gothic.
Proposals (300words) and a brief biography should be sent to Hauntedhibernia@gmail.com by 30th June 2022.
Conference Organisers: Eva Burke, Karmel , Jack Phelan, Simon Workman
Confirmed Plenary Speakers, Writers and Artists:
Dr Linnie Blake, who has published extensively on the ‘neoliberal gothic’, will be one of our keynote speakers. Dr Blake founded the Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her recent work includes ‘Burning Down the House: Get Out, Signifying, and the Female Gothic’ in Jordan Peele’s Get Out: Political Horror, and ‘The Gothic Text in the Age of Neo-Liberalism, 1990‒Present’ in The Cambridge History of the Gothic: Volume 3: The Gothic in the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries. You can check out some of her work here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000p6fq
Writer and podcaster Sophie White has garnered critical acclaim in recent years for her candid and thought-provoking writing on mental illness and the female body. She has published both fiction and non-fiction, and will release her fifth book, Where I End, in October 2022. She will join us for a reading and Q&A. Check out Sophie’s work here: http://www.sophiewhite.info/
has channelled her own experience as a child of an Irish mother and baby home into creative work that is unflinching, funny, and sad in equal measure. Her play Postscript, co-written with Michèle Forbes, and in which Noelle performs, was part of the Dublin Fringe Festival 2013 and was nominated for the New Writing Award and the Little Gem Award. It had a sold out run at the Abbey Theatre (Peacock) in June 2017. Noelle will act out a short excerpt from Postscript, followed by a Q&A. See a clip from Noelle’s appearance on the Late Show here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2mkZLZK8zU
Artist Vukašin Nedeljkovic came to Ireland as an asylum seeker and has experienced the Direct Provision system. His work seeks to shed light on this space. Having initiated the multidisciplinary project Asylum Archive, which provides a platform for displaced peoples to share their own experiences with institutional violence, trauma, and exile, he has emerged as a powerful voice for the disempowered in Irish society and beyond. Vukašin
will share some of his photographic work and discuss its politic, cultural, and artistic significance in contemporary Ireland. You can follow Vukašin’s work here: https://twitter.com/Asylumarchive?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor