ACIS Logo ACIS Mid-Atlantic Regional 2019

***DEADLINE EXTENDED: New deadline for proposal submissions (individual or session proposals) is now Friday August 23rd, 2019.**

The trope of the border is seeing robust engagement in the recent scholarship on Ireland, and from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Border and bridges, and borders as bridges, these are ideas at the fore of Irish consciousness, commentary, and writing today in response to numerous contemporaneous events: the advent of #Brexit as well as the disposition of the EU, the recent rise across the island of Sinn Féin, the hook-tying of ‘Together for Yes’ to the North, and other developments. But the border as organizing principle and cultural paradigm is conceivably as old as the island itself. Muldoon recognizes the “scrim” in the mythological cycles as a critical presence in Irish cultural production from its origins until now, the notion of “a contiguous world… coterminal with our own, into and out of which” figures travel, disappear, and transmogrify. Across Irish studies theory, the the border, in and with its interpretations as bridge and link, comprises a substantial presence, perhaps more intensely in work on the North. Terence Brown once considered the presence of international reference and intertextuality in contemporary Irish writing as indicative of a place ever “in” translation. Éamonn Hughes offered an aligned view, positing the North as a “border country,” a discrete territory that pushes back on its own limits and functions more as conduit or channel than enclosed geography, as a place “straddling the anachronistic and the contemporary,” “the indigenous and the international.” Wills, Lloyd and Deane all see Ireland, in different ways, as an uncanny place that is, nevertheless, not turned inward on itself, as ‘far and away’ from itself as it may also be solipsistic or provincial. And, whereas de Valera and Yeats famously dispatched more traditional nationalist visions for the island, Hume posits a contemporary nation that is indeed “very open,” and Kearney a place uncontained and “extending well beyond the limits of the Nation State[s].”

The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Regional meeting of ACIS takes these ideas as inspiration. The theme—IRELAND:  Borders | Bridges—is meant to infer all usages and references, all creative, cultural, conceptual, corporeal, theoretical, historical and disciplinary understandings. The border and/as bridge may be interpreted as theme, as history, as Irish political, conceptual or social reality, as real structures or systems, limits or frontiers, as threshold and checkpoint, carceral modality and praxis of capital, etc. We are eager to draw a broad swathe of folks to the meeting, from both in- and outside the region; hoping for the event represents an inclusive and diverse array of disciplines, research fields, topics and positions, as well as types of session. Papers and panels are invited and encouraged on any area of inquiry in Irish studies. The theme is offered as stimulus and starting point, a way to underline a particular topic of concern across some (but not all) sessions. Interpretations and potential topics run the gamut and might include:

  • Borders and Irish literature, theater, art, music and photography, Poetry’s particular and critical borders
  • The trope of the border in Irish film
  • The official Irish language borders, the Gaeltacht
  • English as a border language, Irish as a border language, something we might call “the new Irish”
  • #Brexit and the [Irish] border
  • Gender, borders, Ireland, The borders of/in reproductive rights, Irish women and the border
  • Sexuality borders, The borders of the closet
  • Legal borders and Irish law, Laws as a modality of borders
  • The official Irish border, the partition, The partition comparatively considered, Legacies of partition
  • The North and the border, internal borders of the North, Borders and/of [Northern] Irishness
  • Comparative, world borders and Ireland, Ireland, the border and the EU
  • Provincial borders, County borders, Ancient clan borders/county alliances
  • The East – West border, Borders of the country and the city, Ireland’s urban borders
  • Borders of/in the mythological cycles, Muldoon’s “scrim”
  • Medieval Irish borders
  • Psychological borders: The borders of the Irish self, Borders of self and other
  • Temporal borders of Ireland and Irishness and Irish history
  • The border of home and world
  • The Murals: painting, imaging, “seeing” the border
  • The bogside, a border[lands], The midlands, a border[lands]
  • The peace bridge, The peace line, The sect line, The color line, Segregation borders
  • Maps, borders, colonialism and Ireland
  • Crossing the water, the border of Irish flight/emigration, Crossing the Atlantic
  • Postcolonial borders: ambivalent lines, lines of difference, as neo-colonial modality, as carceral/disciplinary
  • Hemispheric Orientalist borders and/of/in Ireland
  • History and Historiography of Ireland and the/its borders, limits of the archive / of historical representation
  • Borders as economic/capitalist modality, The political economy of the Irish border
  • Borders as provocateur of freedom and flight, site of translation, transit, transfer
Colum McCann

Colum McCann
Photo courtesy of Dustin Aksland for the Wall Street Journal

We are deeply honored that National Book Award winner and recent inductee to the American Academy of Arts, COLUM McCANN has agreed to join us as keynote speaker. We are thrilled that he will be there, to share thoughts on and help us think through our organizing questions. We’re also putting together at least one plenary session, a dinner, some student involvement (posters, artwork), and a special session for creative writers-and-readings. We welcome ideas for participation of graduate and undergraduate students working in Irish studies. With regard to these matters, questions or special situations, email Maureen:

The organizers—Maureen Fadem (KCC), Sarah Covington (Queens), and Jason Leggett (KCC)—invite proposals of 300 words for individual papers or 75-minute panel or roundtable sessions. Include a 50-word biographical sketch for yourself, if an individual submission, or for all presenters if a session proposal. The deadline for submissions has been extended to August 23, 2019.

Proposals should be submitted here.

All attendees must have a current membership with the ACIS. Finally, we are thrilled to announce that the conference will be held at Hunter College’s historic Roosevelt House on Manhattan’s upper east side.

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This event is made possible through co-sponsorship of the ACIS along with three CUNY colleges: Kingsborough, Queens, and Hunter.


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