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Ireland and Modernity: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast, 11-13 November 2010

McWilliam,F.E. - Reclining Figure

(F.E. McWilliam, Reclining Figure, 1963. Collection of Queen’s University Belfast)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Fintan Cullen (University of Nottingham)

Professor Luke Gibbons (Maynooth, NUI)

Professor Bonnie Kime Scott (San Diego SU)

Conference Programme >>>> updated 9 November 2010

List of Abstracts >>>>

Online Registration is now open>>>>

Latest News 

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a poetry reading by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin as part of the conference programme. Details follow: 

Thursday 11th November at 8.30 p.m in the Great Hall, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast 
A Poetry Reading by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin  
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is the acclaimed author of eight books of poetry, most recently The Sun-fish (Gallery Press) which was the winner of the prestigious Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2010. 

In association with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at the Institute of Irish Studies, Q.U.B.


This conference seeks to further the remit of current debates within Irish Studies on the subject of modernity. By facilitating an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of ‘Ireland and Modernity’, we aim to broaden the purview of recent critical discussions to incorporate a range of temporally, ethnographically and generically diverse cultural texts. In so doing, the conference will address a number of key questions regarding the formative yet equivocal influence of modernity upon Irish literature, culture and art. For example, is it possible to speak of Irish modernity in terms of a chronological progression from Enlightenment to the ‘End of History’? Might different versions or phases of modernity simultaneously co-exist within Ireland’s cultural landscape? How have different sections of the Irish populace experienced cultural modernity? Do we need to replace the notion of Irish modernity with a more pluralistic and malleable vision of Irish modernities?

Interrogating both past and contemporary configurations of modernity within Irish studies, this event will examine afresh the manifold and ever evolving responses to modernity that have shaped Irish cultural and artistic production over the last four hundred years. We invite papers that offer new perspectives on the representation of modernity within Irish literature and the arts. We likewise solicit proposals for panels that provide a platform for emerging, innovative, or otherwise challenging approaches to this issue. We particularly welcome proposals from early career academics and graduate students and hope to be able to offer a small number of travel bursaries to international students.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • Ireland and Enlightenment
  • Celticism, antiquarianism and primitivism
  • Gaelic Ireland and modernity
  • Irish language and acts of translation
  • Minority literatures in Ireland
  • Custom, oral history and folk tradition
  • Religion and secularism
  • Science, evolution and revolution
  • Aesthetic experimentalism
  • Identity politics and modern subjectivity
  • Irish diasporas
  • Global capitalism, consumer culture  and the arts
  • Landscapes/ cityscapes
  • Bioregionalism and ecocriticism
  • Socio-economic versus imagined realities
  • Irish and global feminisms
  • Gender and sexualities
  • Ethnic and religious plurality in Ireland

Abstracts of no more than 350 words should be sent via e-mail to no later than 16 August 2010



International Travel Bursary Form>>>>

Conference Poster>>>>

Local accomodation>>>>

Related links:

Institute of Irish Studies -


Conference Organisers:

Sonja Lawrenson, School of English, QUB ( )

Aisling Mullan, School of English, QUB ( )

Mary Ellen Donaghy, School of English, QUB ( )