ACIS Logo ACIS Midwest Regional 2021

The ways that lines are drawn dominates public conversations about contemporary Ireland, as Brexit threatens to overturn the relative stability of an historically fraught border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, and policymakers debate the nature of Irish citizenship. These issues are nothing new for Irish Studies, where scholars long have been concerned with the ways that various boundaries were created and policed on the island of Ireland and across the Irish diaspora.

Ireland cannot be viewed in isolation. Borders are tightening, and emigrants and refugees are being shut out from communities and nations in the midst of a global pandemic. Both Ireland’s history as an emigrant society and its dynamic and long-standing diaspora provides Irish Studies scholars particularly interesting vantage points on a range of issues connected to the transnational movement of men, women, and children. To help participants reflect on the theme, conference organizers have put together a brief list of questions:

  • How does Ireland fit into this global tragedy? How have various marginalized communities been included and/or excluded from Irish society?
  • In what ways, if any, does Brexit shift contemporary understandings about borders within and without geographical lines?
  • In what ways can borders be thought of as fluid and unstable? How can former boundaries be forged into new ways of thinking?
  • What are some of the borders/lines in Irish and Irish diasporic societies that scholars have downplayed and/or ignored? How can new sources and methodologies be used to shed light on these experiences, histories, and narratives of exclusion and inclusion?

We are interested in using the conference to highlight the most exciting recent work in Irish Studies scholarship. With that in mind, we welcome submissions addressing any and all topics or themes relevant to Irish Studies. This conference will be structured as a hybrid conference with in-person and virtual options, so please let us know whether or not you are coming to NIU in your proposal. Both individual paper and panel (3-4) submissions are welcomed, as are proposals for presentations in non-traditional formats (posters, performances, exhibits, and multimedia, for example). Proposals should be no more than 250 words and should include a brief bio (50 words) of the author.  Panel proposals should include 250-word proposals from each panel submitter, plus bios for each author. Please send proposals or questions to the MWACIS 2020 Selection Committee at The deadline for submission is August 31, 2021.


Participants may choose in-person or virtual options when registering. Use the link to the right to register. The rates and deadlines are as follows:

Early Bird (prior to Sept. 15, 2021):

  • Regular in person rate: $80
  • Graduate Student/Independent Scholar Rate: $50
  • Virtual Rate: $50

After September 15:

  • Regular in person rate: $100
  • Graduate/Independent Scholar Rate: $60
  • Virtual Rate: $60


Participants should call the hotel at the Holmes Student Center (815-753-1444) — our on-campus hotel — to make reservations. Participants should make clear that are coming for the Irish Studies conference to receive the discounted rate of $71 per night.

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