CFP Villanova Irish Studies Center

Whose/Who’s Irish Now?:
Philadelphia Stories of Inclusion and Exclusion from Penn to the Present
The Inaugural Conference of the Irish Studies Center
Villanova University
15 October 2016

Centenaries have a way of reframing narratives. Recent stocktaking and celebrations of key moments in Irish history such as 1798 and 1916 have tended to eschew divisive stories of “us and them” in favor of exploring the possibilities of unity through diversity.

This one-day, interdisciplinary conference uses the case of Philadelphia, a long-standing central place in the larger Irish world, to probe the meanings and potential impacts of this drive towards inclusion. Once cast as the rise of “one people in two countries”, the story of “the” Irish in Philadelphia now contends with a multiplicity of voices within an increasingly global context.

We seek proposals on any dimension of Irish encounters with Philadelphia, from seventeenth-century foundations to the twenty-first century diaspora, and especially invite papers that examine previously under-studied Irish populations in the greater Philadelphia region. Topics might include but are not limited to:

• Gender and sexuality
• Overlapping Migrant Communities
• Imagining Philadelphia in Ireland
• Scots-Irish and Orange Migrations
• Undocumented Irish
• The Abbey Players and Philadelphia
• Diaspora Politics

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Kevin Kenny (Boston College), Dr. Maureen Murphy (Hofstra University), Dr. Bill Watson (Immaculata College), and Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst (Shepherd University)

The conference serves as the inaugural event of Villanova University’s Irish Studies Center, supported by the generosity of the Connelly Foundation. The Abbey Theatre will perform Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars at the Annenberg Center on Friday, October 14, co-sponsored by Villanova University. The performance and reception will serve as the opening event of the conference. The following day, Saturday the 15th, panels and roundtables will be held on the campus of Villanova University.

Proposals for roundtables and for individual conference papers or panels should be sent to Joseph Lennon or Craig Bailey ( or by 30 June 2016.