CFP: Contextualizing Ireland’s Same-Sex Marriage Referendum in Irish Literature (NeMLA)

NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus-sponsored Panel CFP: Contextualizing Ireland’s Same-Sex Marriage Referendum in Irish Literature

In 1993, the Republic of Ireland was among the last countries in the West to decriminalize homosexuality. However, social change has been rapid in recent decades, and some 22 years later, Ireland has just become the first jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. (Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been legal in Ireland since 2010.) In May of 2015, Irish voters were asked whether they agreed with the statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” The “Yes” vote prevailed, with only one out of Ireland’s 43 constituencies returning a “No” vote in the count.

This panel will open with a five-minute potted history and contextualization of the same-sex marriage campaign by the chair in order to situate the papers that follow.

The papers will ask how this monumental vote alters our readings of Irish culture. Has the institution of marriage been radicalized in Ireland for longer than might be imagined? Does our perception of key literary texts or historical events alter in light of the vote? With hindsight, are previously elided queer readings of marriage or union/Union in Irish culture suddenly more visible?

Please submit 250-word abstracts for 15-minute papers by September 30, 2015 to


Please direct abstracts to the NeMLA cfp link above rather than to the email address.

For more information about the NeMLA convention in Hartford CT in March 2016, see