May 2017 Scholar Spotlight

John Crawford, University of South Carolina

Posted by Nicholas on May 2, 2017


Note: John Crawford was the 2017 recipient of the Krause Research Fellowship in Irish Studies. John gives us an overview of his project below and his plans for next year.

I am delighted to have been awarded this year’s Krause Research Fellowship. This recognition is an honor and a privilege that underscores the sense of collegiality and support that the organization and conference have continually extended to its graduate members. My interest in the correlation between spatial representations and cultural collectivity has evolved through a number of ACIS presentations and a wealth of constructive feedback. In turn, my dissertation continues to explore how conceptualizations of Irish space, and especially its metropolitan centers, have been repeatedly reimagined and transfigured by processes of resistance and their roles in decolonizing the country. By examining the interplay between space, culture, and literary representation, I hope to develop a more nuanced critical understanding of how political nationalism has marked the Irish landscape with the memory of military revolution while simultaneously struggling to engage the population along social and cultural lines.
John Crawford
I would like to use the Krause award to help fund a research trip to Dublin in the fall to conduct site studies and to photograph specific spaces and places that I analyze in my project. Obvious examples would be sites linked directly to the Easter Rising and subsequent Revolution, though many of these were of course destroyed and others have changed drastically over the past century. While I begin my dissertation by considering these sites of spatial conflict in literature concurrent to the Rising, an equally important aspect of my research deals with the ways in which they have been memorialized and, thus, embedded in a changing cultural psyche.

The trip would most directly benefit my final chapter, which engages Keith Ridgway’s 1998 novel The Long Falling to explore the conflict between cultural collectivity and architectural revitalization in Dublin’s Temple Bar district. The Rising lingers like a specter throughout Ridgway’s depictions of mid-nineties-era Dublin spaces. Being able to revisit those sites with my work in mind will allow me to take a first-hand-observer’s perspective on the function of material spaces in contemporary Irish identity politics. That relationship begs for continued scrutiny, especially in light of the more recent Apollo House occupation, from which the “Rising 2016” motto emerged in social media circles, or perhaps the ongoing Boland’s Mill revitalization project, which bears similarities to the Temple Bar transformations depicted in Ridgway’s novel.

Ultimately, I want to think more closely about how military revolution continues to inform and complicate contemporary social change in Ireland, especially in regards to the role of under-represented communities in the broader and more tenuous notion of national collectivity. The Krause Fellowship will help make this trip possible, and I thank the ACIS and this year’s judges for their kind consideration of my work.

I owe an extra debt of gratitude to Ed Madden, Joe Kelly, and Marguerite Quintelli-Neary, who have supported my work tirelessly and eagerly, and to Bob Lowery, who was kind enough to offer information about David Krause’s critical legacy in Irish studies.