Irish Spirits, Irish Souls
The 2013 New England Regional Meeting of the
American Conference for Irish Studies
Hosted by the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, RI
Friday and Saturday, November 1st and 2nd, 2013
The theme for our conference will be the hybridity of Irish culture both abroad in diaspora and at home in Ireland. For centuries, what is known as Irishness has been more than its Celtic origins. Ireland has always been influenced by “outsiders,” from Viking and British invaders, to Christian evangelists, and more recently the influx of immigrants during the Celtic Tiger years. British colonialism exacerbated this hybridity, relegating the Irish language to small pockets of the country, and dividing the island itself through Partition. Add to this hybridity at home the many transmutations of Irish culture as it spread around the globe through emigration, and it is clear there is no one way to pin down what is Irish. For years Irish, Irish ex-pat and emigrant writers, as well as their descendants, have grappled with this issue.
At this conference we will take advantage of our “All Souls” weekend timing to examine the hybridity of Irish identity. The main conference speakers will take up the theme of Irish-American identity in three exciting talks. We will be joined by best-selling memoirist Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls and Easter Rising; Jim Rogers, past president of ACIS, and editor of the New Hibernia Review and Extended Family: Essays on Being Irish American; and fiction writer Áine Greaney, author of the novels Dance Lessons and The Big House, as well as a collection of stories, The Sheep Breeders Dance.
We are also happy to launch The Country of the Young: Interpretations of Youth and Childhood in Irish Culture, a collection of essays expanded from talks given at the 2010 NE ACIS conference, co-edited by Kelly Matthews of Framingham State University.
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