The Irish Seminar has been presented annually since 1999 at ND’s Dublin Centre, in O’Connell House as a flagship programme of ND Irish Studies. The initial idea came from Christopher Fox and the concept was executed for the first decade by inaugural Directors Kevin Whelan and Seamus Deane. Aimed at post-graduate students and faculty in Irish Studies, the Seminar has ranged across the globe to recruit outstanding faculty and students. Faculty who have lectured at the Seminar include two Nobel Prize winners (Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott), some of the world’s pre-eminent scholars (Edward Said, Fred Jameson, Giovanni Arrighi, Jacqueline Rose, Homi Bhabha, Benedict & Perry Anderson) and celebrated writers (Edna O’Brien, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, John McGahern, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson, Nuala Ó Faoláin, Alice McDermott). Leading figures in Irish Studies include Elizabeth Cullingford, Emer Nolan, Claire Wills, Marjorie Howes, Siobhán Kilfeather, Máirín Nic Eoin, David Lloyd and Joe Cleary.
The Seminar sessions are designed to elicit strong and sustained feedback between faculty and participants. Ideas are taken seriously, the exchanges occur in a democratic, inclusive dialogical manner, and there is a real effort to create and bond a community of learning over an intense three-week period. Participants often comment that they pack in a semester’s worth of work in those three weeks. Alongside the formal sessions, an ancillary programme of readings, theatre visits, archive and library visits, and fieldtrips ensure experiential learning.

The Irish Seminar nurtures a cosmopolitan community of young scholars: the eighteenth-century Republic of Letter reconfigured for the 21st century. It provides an intellectual infrastructure for scholarly collaboration, balancing the theoretically rich with the empirically rigorous. The Seminar adopts a flexible pluralisation of approaches, less constrained by the firmness of institutional boundaries and disciplinary consolidation. It is self-reflexive about professional and intellectual formation, while seeking to foster a supportive environment that develops the intellectual poise of emerging scholars. Typically up to forty graduate students attend each year, drawn from the USA, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Israel, Albania, France, Italy, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, and England. Student participants have included representatives from Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, NYU, Dartmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, Boston College and Aberdeen. The Seminar also attracts a cohort of Irish graduate students and the mingling of Irish, European, American and global grad students provides a matrix for stimulating debate.

Executive Director: Barry McCrea
Directors: Christopher Fox, Patrick Griffin, Declan Kiberd, Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, Robert Schmuhl.

Irish Seminar themes 1999-2017

1999: Memory and History: Ireland 1500-2000.
2000: Modern Ireland 1880-1930.
2001: Contemporary Ireland.
2002: Ireland and Globalisation.
2003: The Irish Body.
2004: Boston or Berlin?
2005: Genealogies of Culture.
2006: Capitals of Culture: Paris and Dublin.
2007: Irish Classics.
2008: Republics and Empires.
2009: Apocalypse and Utopia.
2010: The Irish Revival.
2011: Irish Modernisms.
2012: Contemporary Irish Theatre.
2013: Contemporary Irish Poetry.
2014: The Vernacular Imagination.
2015: Peripheral Modernities? Ireland, Argentina, Latin America.
2016: Classical Influences
2017: Ireland and Italy (In association with Italian Studies at Notre Dame)

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