CFP: Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory, Radboud University, Nijmegan, March 31-April 2, 2015

Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory
Transitions and Transformations
Radboud University Nijmegen, 31 March-2 April 2015

Confirmed keynote speakers
Guy Beiner (Ben-Gurian University of the Negev)
Graham Dawson (University of Brighton)
Emilie Pine (University College Dublin)

Confirmed plenary panelists:
David Fitzpatrick (Trinity College Dublin)
Oona Frawley (NUI Maynooth)
Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast)
Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin)

Organisers:
Marguérite Corporaal
Ruud van den Beuken
Christopher Cusack
Lindsay Janssen

In recent years scholarly interest in Irish memory has continued to grow exponentially, motivated by the legacies of the Troubles and institutional abuse and, more recently, the Decade of Centenaries. Emilie Pine’s The Politics of Irish Memory (2011), Oona Frawley’s four-volume Memory Ireland series, Emily Mark FitzGerald’s pioneering research on Famine monuments and the Irish Memory Studies Research Network, established at University College Dublin, are just a few examples illustrating the mnemonic trend in research on Irish and Irish diaspora societies.

Several recent projects bear witness to the pivotal role that academics specialized in Irish history, literature or culture play in the translation and dissemination of Ireland’s past to the general public: the present collaboration between the National Museums Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Ulster in the establishment of the First World War Coordinating Centre, Living Legacies; the collaboration between the Institute for Irish-British Studies (UCD) and the Ulster Museum in hosting a conference to complement the exhibition Art of the Troubles (2014); and the contributions by historians Mary Daly and Emmett O’Connor to the six-part documentary series Citizens Lockout, 1913-2013 that was broadcasted on RTÉ Radio 1 (2013).

The prominence of discourses and politics of memory in Irish studies today calls for a self-examination of the (interdisciplinary) theoretical tenets and methodologies we use to investigate Ireland’s pasts and heritages. In what ways have the concepts and tools developed by memory studies at large enhanced our understanding of Irish cultural recollections, instigating novel perspectives and approaches? To what extent does the research conducted by Irish studies scholars contribute new and challenging insights on the dynamics of cultural remembrance from which memory studies in general may benefit? In what respects can an investigation of Irish cultural legacies illuminate our understanding of processes of identity formation, heritage policies, canonisation, musealisation and the transgenerational and transcultural inflections of the past? Furthermore, are there notable distinctions in the mediation of Irish memories through the various media?

Organised by the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) and the Radboud University English Department, and funded by the European Research Council, this conference aims to stimulate an interdisciplinary discussion of the aforementioned issues. We welcome panel and 20-minute paper proposals that examine the cross-fertilisation between memory theories, policies and politics on the one hand and Irish studies on the other from a wide range of fields and vantage points. Possible topics include but are by no means restricted to the following:

  • The new perspectives on Ireland’s past that can be generated from an engagement with memory practices and theories.
  • The ways in which Irish memory studies help to further our insights into the workings of memory and the canonisation of pasts.
  • The ways in which Irish memory studies may sharpen our awareness of how memories may change through temporal mediation; for example, in transmission across generations, or in the construction of histories.
  • The ways in which current research in Irish studies may broaden our knowledge about the ways in which ‘travelling’ memories may transform; for example, after migration, in diaspora cultures, or through (re-)integration in museum collections
  • How current Irish memory research may generate a more widely applicable understanding of the role played by specific genres (drama, historiography, poetry, etc.) or media (visual art, film, journalism) of remembrance in its transmission.
  • Current trends in Irish heritage politics and the ways in which these are impacted by the academia.

The organizers invite the submission of abstracts up to 350 words. Papers should be in
English and should not exceed 20 minutes.

Abstracts can be sent to famine@let.ru.nl, before 6 October 2014. Please also include a 100-word biography. For further queries, please contact the organisers at famine@let.ru.nl.