Ireland and African-America

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Clinton Institute for American Studies
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Ireland and African-America
9-11 March 2012
Clinton Institute for American Studies
University College Dublin, Ireland
Call for Papers
From Fredrick Douglass' sojurn in Ireland as part of his abolitionist tour in 1845 to Barack Obama's visit as president of the United States of America in 2011 there exists a multi-layered history of Irish and African-American interactions. Whether conceived in terms of geography or ideology, Ireland and African-America are bound together in a historiography of transatlantic exchanges and (post)colonial experiences of migration, urbanization and contestation. This conference will explore a range of ways in which Irish and African-American cultures and histories have interacted, from the slave trade to contemporary popular culture. It also seeks to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and a transatlantic exchange of ideas among scholars in the field.
Conference themes will include, though not be limited to:
• The role of Ireland and the Irish in histories of Atlantic slavery and emancipation
• The racialising of Irish culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
• The intersections of radical political histories and of issues of civil and human rights
• The relations between Irish and African-American urban communities
• The comparison of histories of diaspora and migration, and of Pan-Africanism and Pan-Celticism
• The influences on each other of Irish and African-American literature, music and popular culture
• The comparison of paradigms of racial and ethnic identity formation
We are pleased to announce the confirmed keynote speaker will be Ishmael Reed, the pre-eminent African-American author who has controversially satirized American political and cultural life in a range of literary forms. Additional plenary speakers will include: Maurice Bric (UCD), Luke Gibbons (NUI Maynooth), Eric Lott (University of Virginia), and Diane Negra (UCD).
Scholars and graduate students in humanities and social science fields (including history, literature, sociology, cultural studies, area studies, and media and visual studies) are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute papers. Paper proposals should be sent to Louise Walsh,, by 13 January 2012.