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Announcement: 2018 Book and Dissertation Prize Recipients

On behalf of our organization, ACIS Vice President Kate Costello-Sullivan and the chairs of each of the ACIS prize committees are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s book and dissertation prizes. The authors were honored at the General Business Meeting at the ACIS National Meeting at University College Cork, June 2018. Information on these prizes and on this year’s awards committees can be found on the ACIS website.

The 2018 awardees for books published in 2017 are:

Rhodes Prize for Literature and Language

Link to Publisher's Homepage for Patrick O'Malley's Liffey & Lethe Patrick R. O’Malley
Georgetown University
Liffey and Lethe: Paramnesiac History in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Ireland
Oxford University Press, 2017
Read the Prize Committee's Citation
Patrick O’Malley’s Liffey and Lethe: Paramnesiac History in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Ireland is a conceptually sophisticated and nuanced account of how history and memory functioned in nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish culture. The first pages of the introduction highlights O’Malley’s skill as a critical reader, elucidating the temporal and national complexities of Stoker’s criminally underrated A Snake’s Pass. What separates this intelligent and insightful study is the fact that, rather than offering fundamentally new readings of classic texts, O’Malley deepens and complicates existing readings without radically overturning them. There are valuable and thought-provoking considerations of the political implications of the ways in which fiction represents temporality, which in turn influences and shapes memory, even proleptic nostalgia for a romantic, but vanished, Ireland to be remembered in the ascendancy-ruled future. The potency of the analysis of history, memory, myth, fantasy, erasure, and violence in both the context of the period covered by the study, and in every decade since in Ireland, cannot be overstated.

 

Duais Leabhar Taighde na Bliana/ACIS Irish Language Research Book Award

Link to Publisher's Page for Gearóidín Uí Laighléis's Gallan an Ghúim Gearóidín Uí Laighléis
Dublin City University
Gallán an Ghúim: Caidreamh an Stáit le Scríbhneoirí na Gaeilge Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Seosamh Mac Grianna, agus Seán Tóibín
Coiscéim, 2017
Read the Prize Committee's Citation
Leagan Gaeilge
B’é an saothar a roghnaigh an coiste moltóireachta ná Gallán an Ghúim le Gearóidín Uí Laighléis, foilsithe ag Coiscéim. Ollamh Cúnta is ea an Dochtúir Uí Laighléis i Scoil na Gaeilge, Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus eascraíonn an leabhar seo as tráchtas dochtúireachta a scríobh sí d’Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste, i 2012.
Pléann an leabhar le ceist chigilteach i saol na litríochta Gaeilge faoi choimirce Stát na hÉireann ó na fichidí amach. Bhunaigh Earnán de Blaghd “An Gúm” i 1925 mar chuid den Roinn Oideachais, chun litríocht a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge do phobal na tíre. Meascán d’aistriúcháin agus de shaothair nuascríofa a bhí i gceist, agus beagnach ón tús d’fhás teannas idir na scríbhneoirí/aistritheoirí agus an foras ó thaobh ábhar agus íocaíocht. Bhí an teannas seo soiléir i gcás Mháirtín Uí Chadhain agus Seosamh Mhic Grianna, agus cuireadh an lasair sa bharrach i gceart nuair a dhiúltaigh an Gúm úrscéal an Ghriannaigh An Druma Mór a fhoilsiú in aon chor mar gheall ar líomhaintí clúmhillte.
Scagann an Dr. Uí Laighléis scéim an Gúm óna thús síos go dtí na seascaidí i bhfianaise an mhéid a thit amach idir an foras agus na scríbhneoirí thuasluaite, maille leis an scríbhneoir Muimhneach Seán Tóibín chun tíreolas an leabhar a leathnú amach.
Baineann an leabhar seo ní hamháin leis an gcaidreamh idir na scríbhneoirí agus An Gúm, ach le fealsúnacht na foilsitheoireachta stáit agus cur chuige an aistrithe. Mar sin, cé go dtugtar caibidil an duine do na scríbhneoirí, tugtar caibidil do chúlra an aistrithe in Éirinn freisin, caibidil eile do bhunú agus cur chuige An Ghúim, agus caibidil do chur chuige pearsanta na scríbhneoirí, maille le samplaí. Deirtear go minic gur cleachtas cruthaithe é an t-aistriúchán, agus cruthaíonn an chaibidil dheiridh gur fíor sin, agus muid ag breathnú ar aistriúcháin na scríbhneoirí taobh ar tahobh leis na bunleagain.
Ach tá bun-teachtaireacht ag Uí Laighléis a théann thar an méid thuas – ta sí go láidir den tuairim gur caitheadh go dona leis an nGúm mar gheall ar líomhaintí cinsireachta agus maorlathais a cuireadh ina leith ag scríbhneoirí áirithe, an Cadhnach agus an Griannach ina measc. Cruthaíonn Uí Laighléis, ámh, gur eascair na deacrachtaí chomh mór céanna as cleachtais na scríbhneoirí agus ar eascair siad as aon áit eile. Ní hé, mar shampla, gur “aistrigh” Ó Cadhain an t-úrscéal Sally Kavanagh in aon chor, ach d’athscríobh sé é, rud a chuir olc ar eagarthóirí an Ghúim. Ba léir leis gur mhór ag An Gúm An Druma Mór a fhoilsiú, ach mheabhraigh méid suntasach daoine do riarthóirí an fhorais gur bunaíodh an leabhar ar eachtra a tharla i bhfírinne, agus go bhféadfaí cás clúmhillte teacht as dá bhfoilseodh siad é. Mar bharr ar sin, bhog Mac Grianna gach cúpla mí agus ba dheacair dá réir sin fanacht i dteagmháil leis. D’aontaigh na moltóirí go ndearnadh éagóir ar an nGúm, le moltóir amháin ag rá “nach bhfuil cothrom na féinne i dtuairimí atá le fáil go forleathan faoin nGúm,” agus gur céim mhór chun tosaigh in athshlánú an fhorais atá sa leabhar seo.
Mhol na moltóirí scoláireacht an leabhair freisin, le beirt de na moltóirí ag tabhairt suntais speisialta don taighde a rinneadh, go háirithe i gcartlanna timpeall na tíre, chomh maith le hábhar a bailíodh go speisialta.
Tréaslaíonn na moltóirí le Gearóidín Uí Laighléis agus lena foilsitheoir Coiscéim as leabhar oilte téagartha a chur ar fáil, agus molann í as scéal tábhachtach i stair litríocht na Gaeilge a insint dúinn. Comhghairdeas!
English Version
The winner of the “Leabhar Taighde na Bliana 2017” category is Gearóidín Uí Laighléis for her book Gallán an Ghúim, published by Coiscéim. Dr. Uí Laighléis is an assistant professor in Scoil na Gaeilge, Dublin City University, and this book has its roots in the doctoral dissertation that she wrote for Queen’s University in 2012.
The book deals with the controversial matter of state-sponsored Irish-language literature, both original and translated, since the 1920s on. Ernest Blythe founded “An Gúm” in 1925 as a subset of the Department of Education, so that Irish language literature would be provided for the Irish population. The plan dealt with translations and newly-written material, and almost from the beginning there was tension between the writers/translators and the institution about payment and subject matter. This tension was clear in the cases of Máirtín Ó Cadhain and Seosamh Mac Grianna, and matters became particularly inflamed when An Gúm refused to publish Mac Grianna’s novel An Droma Mór for fear of defamation proceedings.
Dr. Uí Laighléis examines An Gúm’s scheme from the beginning right up the sixties in the light of what occurred between the two aforementioned writers and the institution, and she also adds the Munster writer Seán Tóibín to extend the study’s geographical coverage.
This book does not just examine the relationship between the writers and An Gúm, though – it also looks at the philosophy of state publishing and the translation process. So, although each of the three writers gets a chapter, another chapter is devoted to the history of translation in Irish, another to the foundation and principles of An Gúm, and another to the particular translation practices of each writer. If is often said that translation is a creative process, and this last chapter proves this, as we look at each writer’s translations side-by-side with the originals.
But Uí Laghléis has a central message that goes beyond all this – she is strongly of the opinion that An Gúm was unfairly treated because of the accusations of censorship and bureaucracy made against them by some writers, Mac Grianna and Ó Cadhain particularly. Uí Laighléis demonstrates, however, that the difficulties stem as much from the behavior of the writers as they do from anything else. Ó Cadhain, for example, didn’t really translate Sally Kavanagh at all, but entirely rewrote it, something that annoyed An Gúm’s editors. It was clear that An Gúm actually wanted to publish An Druma Mór, but a significant number of people warned An Gúm’s administrators that the story was based on a real incident and that a legal case for defamation might be made if the book appeared. On top of that, Mac Grianna moved house every few months and it was very difficult to stay in touch with him. The committee agree with this thesis, that An Gúm was unfairly portrayed, with one of the judges noting that “widely-disseminated opinions on An Gúm demonstrate unfairness” and that this book is a significant step forward in rehabilitating the institution.
The committee also praised the book’s scholarship, with two of the judges paying special attention to the research done, particularly in archives around Ireland, as well as material that was collected specially.
The judges commend Gearóidín Uí Laighléis and her publisher Coiscéim for making this strong, learned book available, and applaud Dr. Uí Laighléis for telling an important story in the history of Irish language literature. Congratulations!

 

James S. Donnelly, Sr., Prize for Books on History and Social Sciences

Link to Publisher's Page for The End of Outrage Breandán Mac Suibhne
Centenary University
The End of Outrage: Post-Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland
Oxford University Press, 2017
Read the Prize Committee's Citation
Breandán Mac Suibhne weaves within his narrative the Irish language, emigration, memory, forgetting, conflict, and folklore. His book will provoke and inspire present and future scholars of Irish history to examine in closer and more intimate detail the seemingly endless reverberations and repercussions of An Gorta Mór, especially as they were–-and are–-experienced in small and local communities in Ireland.

 

Adele Dalsimer Prize for Distinguished Dissertation

Jack Quin
University of York
“W. B. Yeats, Modern Poetry, and the Language of Sculpture”
2017
Read the Prize Committee's Citation
We are very pleased to award this year’s Adele Dalsimer Prize for Distinguished Dissertation in Irish Studies to Jack Quin, from the University of York, for “W.B. Yeats, Modern Poetry, and the Language of Sculpture.” In a field of outstanding submissions from many different disciplines, Quin’s dissertation stood out for the ambition of its argument and its deep engagement with the stakes of interdisciplinary practice. Moving beyond “narrow analogies of poetic form as sculptural form” and “catalogue[s]” of sculptural poems” in Yeats’s writing, Quin instead mines, in his words, “the overlapping aesthetic and theoretical resonances of each art form” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in order to reveal “several hitherto unacknowledged overlaps between European modernism and Irish regionalism in Yeats’s writing.” At the same time, the dissertation moves beyond simply re-evaluating Yeats in terms of a more nuanced and layered understanding of sculptural aesthetics. It also delves deeply into the archives to uncover a large corpus of Irish sculptural writing by Celtic Revival and modernist writers, tracing the way Yeats together with these other writers invested in sculptural aesthetics attempted to conceive of a “panaesthetic” modernism in which the verbal and the visual were mutually constitutive rather than just mutually metaphorical.
As one member of the selection committee wrote, Quin’s dissertation offers beautiful re-readings of Yeats’s work but also “gives people who aren’t Yeatsians a lot to think about, in that its overarching interdisciplinary claim is as much about rethinking the terms of European modernism as it is about Yeats alone.” Another member of the selection committee described the project as “smart and so interesting and fantastically interdisciplinary, steeped in the archive but with much broader implications” than its title might suggest. Finally, in the words of a third member of the committee, the dissertation was “really a pleasure to read,” with an “economy of expression” and arguments that were “well grounded and contextualized” but also handled with an elegantly “light touch.”
Our committee was unanimous in our selection of Quin’s dissertation for this prize, but we also want to express our appreciation and admiration for all of the dissertations that were submitted to us—it is clear from the work of these early career scholars that Irish studies has a bright and thriving future ahead of it.

 

Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Books

Link to Publisher's Page for Expelling the Poor WINNER: Hidetaka Hirota
City College of New York
Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy
Oxford University Press, 2017
Read the Murphy Prize Committee's Citation
Deeply researched and carefully crafted, Hidetaka Hirota’s Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy reconsiders the roots of immigration control in the United States. Historians have long pointed to anti-Asian racism in the West as the catalyst for federal immigration policies. Hirota, however, reveals the longer history to these federal legislative acts and acknowledges the central role of Irish immigrants and the Atlantic seaboard states in these developments. Drawing evidence from archives in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, Hirota convincingly argues that U.S. immigration policy emerged from the coercive and exclusionary state laws of New York and Massachusetts, which, in turn, were shaped by anti-Irish nativism. Hirota’s book is a model transatlantic study, skillfully tracking the experience of Irish migrants from their initial departure from Ireland to their expulsion from the United States to their post-deportation lives in Ireland and Britain. Expelling the Poor is destined to become required reading for historians of both Ireland and America, while also informing public discussions of immigration.

 

Link to Publisher's Page for Famine Irish and the American Racial State HONORABLE MENTION: Peter D. O’Neill
University of Georgia
Famine Irish and the American Racial State
Routledge, 2017
Read the Murphy Prize Committee's Citation
Peter O’Neill’s Famine Irish and the American Racial State provides a transatlantic and comparative analysis of nineteenth-century methods of racialization. O’Neill focuses his study on the plight of the Famine Irish—a group recognized as “white” and thus as legal citizens of the United States, but not acknowledged culturally as members of the American nation. Drawing from an impressive range of literary, cultural, and archival sources, O’Neill persuasively argues that the structures of the American state, often working in tandem with the Catholic Church, provided the Irish with the means to achieve the ideal citizenship of both legal and cultural acceptance. He notes that while some Famine Irish resisted this offer, far more embraced the opportunity and, in doing so, played a pivotal role in the development of the American racial state. Famine Irish and the American Racial State is an ambitious book that deepens our understanding of the interplay between race, religion, and the nineteenth-century American state.


Michael J. Durkan Prize for Books on Language and Culture

Link to Publisher's Page for An Underground Theatre Philip O’Leary
Boston College
An Underground Theatre: Major Playwrights in the Irish Language 1930-80
University College Dublin Press, 2017
Read the Durkan Prize Committee's Citation
Philip O’Leary’s An Underground Theatre: Major Playwrights in the Irish Language 1930-80 is an incredible contribution to scholarship on Irish theatre and the Irish language. The book is wide ranging, encyclopedic, and engagingly well written. In covering the works of five twentieth century playwrights writing in the Irish language, O’Leary offers detailed creation and production histories, right down to the specific theatres across the country that presented the plays under consideration. It is not an overstatement to say that this book will likely remain a resource for scholars and students of Irish language plays for decades if not centuries to come.

Members: How to Post Announcements

All ACIS members can use this website to post local events, announce publications, add calls for papers, seek panelists, advertise scholarships, and make general announcements. These posts will be linked on the ACIS homepage and will form part of the monthly digests sent out to members.

Creating an Announcement

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ACIS is on Amazon Smile

I am pleased to announce that our donations portal is up and running on Amazon Smile.  If you find yourself drawn into the currents of Amazon, you can now help ACIS raise money for future prizes, awards, and initiatives.  Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to ACIS, with no impact on your own cost.  So, whether it’s books or shoe polish in your cart, ACIS can benefit.

All you need to do is follow this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1223831 to add the ACIS Smile to your Amazon page.