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In her 1936 novel, ​Mary Lavelle​, Kate O’Brien explains that, while in Spain and “bereft of the […] Irish back-cloth,” her eponymous protagonist was putting out “unexpected shoots.” Her ability to grow and develop is increased by this move elsewhere, to new and different soil. O’Brien’s novel provides us the opportunity and the framework to reassess and explore the state of Irish Studies in new ways. What “unexpected shoots” has our field put out? What roots might it need set down in order to continue producing new fruit? The theme of the 2019 Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies invites papers that explore new aspects of Irish Studies, that draw on new frameworks, that spark new conversations, that attempt to strike out in new directions. We invite ​papers, panels, and roundtable discussions​ that consider any topic pertinent to Irish or Irish diasporic culture. In keeping with the interdisciplinary remit of Irish Studies, we welcome papers from all disciplines, and especially welcome proposals from disciplines less commonly heard from in Irish Studies, such as art, archaeology, music,political science, and economics.

Potential Topics Include:

  • Unexplored Connections Across Traditions
  • Unexpected Collaborations and Trends
  • Under-recognized Authors and Figures
  • Unexamined Identities
  • Reassessing the State of the Field

Submit proposals here

The Lawrence McBride Lecture will be delivered by ​Dr. Kathleen Costello-Sullivan​. Kate Costello-Sullivan is Professor of Modern Irish Literature at Le Moyne College, where she founded and runs an Irish literature minor. Editor of two critical editions, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (SU P, 2013) and Poor Women! by Norah Hoult (Anthem Press, 2016), she has written widely on Anglo-Irish women’s literature and on contemporary Irish novels. Her studyMother/Country: Politics of the Personal in the Fiction of Colm Tóibín (Peter Lang, 2012) was the first monograph on that author. Kate was a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at NUI-G in 2014. Her most recent book-length study, Trauma and Recovery in the 21st-century Irish Novel, was published by Syracuse UP in March 2018.  Kate became the first female General Editor of the Syracuse UP Irish series in summer 2018 and is President of the American Conference for Irish Studies.

The Conference Keynote will be delivered by ​Dr. Anna Teekell​. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, and Washington University in St. Louis, Anna Teekell is Assistant Professor of English at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where she teaches and studies twentieth-century Irish, Scottish, and English literature.  Teekell’s first book, Emergency Writing: Irish Literature, Neutrality, and the Second World War was published last year by Northwestern University Press, and she spent the autumn of 2018 as a visitor at the School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow.  Teekell has published essays in Twentieth-Century Literature, the Irish University Review, Études-Irlandaises, and New Hibernia Review, and is currently co-editing, with Tina O’Toole, a special Elizabeth Bowen number of the Irish University Review (2021).  She’s currently working on a new project that will consider the literature of the Irish border and the development of Northern Irish literary identity.

A special conference rate is being offered to participants at the Hilton Double Tree – Downtown Omaha. Please mention Midwest ACIS when making your reservation to receive the special rate.  Reservations will be due by September.  There are shuttles to the airport and will run within a radius of 4 miles, which includes to the Creighton University Harper Center, where the conference is being held.  This is also an easy and lovely walk in the autumn.

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