The IRISH Seminar

Irish Seminar

The IRISH Seminar nurtures a cosmopolitan community of young scholars: the eighteenth-century Republic of Letters 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 pluralization of approaches, less constrained by the firmness of institutional boundaries and disciplinary consolidation. It is self-reflective about professional and intellectual formation, while seeking to foster a supportive environment that develops the intellectual poise of emerging scholars.

Seminar sessions elicit sustained feedback between faculty and participants. Ideas are taken seriously, the exchanges occur in a dialogical manner, and there is a real focus on fostering a community of learning. Alongside formal sessions, there are readings, theatre visits, archive and library visits, and field trips. Participants have been drawn from the United States, 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 graduate students provides a matrix for stimulating debate.

The IRISH Seminar has been presented annually since 1999 at ND’s Dublin Global Gateway in O’Connell House. It is a flagship program for Irish Studies at Notre Dame, founded by Seamus Deane, Chris Fox, and Kevin Whelan. Past themes include The Vernacular Imagination, The Irish Revival, Apocalypse and Utopia, Genealogies of Culture, and Ireland and Globalization.

Faculty have included 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 and 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 participating in the IRISH Seminar have included Elizabeth Cullingford, Emer Nolan, Clair Wills, Marjorie Howes, Siobhán Kilfeather, Máirín Nic Eoin, David Lloyd, and Joe Cleary.

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2018 Theme: Ireland 1600-1800: Kingdom, Colony, Union, Empire

2018 Irish Seminar

The Notre Dame Keough-Naughton Institute's 2018 interdisciplinary IRISH Seminar will bring graduate students together with students from other universities and major scholars in the field to explore Ireland's history, literature and culture between 1600-1800.  This remains a seminal and highly-contested period, when Ireland moved from a kingdom to colony, to union, and empire. We will explore these transitions through a combination of historical readings and exemplary texts beginning with Edmund Spenser's A View of the State of Ireland and ending with Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent.  Writers to be considered will also include Swift, Berkeley, Merriman, Burke and Corkery. These will be augmented by sessions with Notre Dame faculty and Madden-Rooney Lectures given by Declan Kiberd, Briona Nic Dhiarmada and Patrick Griffin, along with talks by major outside scholars, including Ian McBride, Ciaran Brady, David Dickson, Claire Connolly, Michael Browne, Vincent Morley, Thomas Bartlett and Nicholas Canny. The IRISH Seminar will also host a formal opening with a reading by poet Paul Muldoon, evening social, theatrical and musical events including a launch of Ailbhe Darcy's new Bloodaxe book, and site visits in Dublin, Kylemore and the West.

2018 IRISH Seminar Schedule

2018 IRISH Seminar Reading List

Executive Director: Professor Christopher Fox

Programme Manager: Catherine Wilsdon


The IRISH Seminar is interdisciplinary and open to all faculty and graduate students. Students applying from the University of Notre Dame will be admitted as participants while students and faculty applying from other universities will be admitted as associates.

More information on the application process can be found at the following links:
Applicants from the University of Notre Dame
Applicants from other universities