Myth and Reality: Language, Literature, and Culture in Modern Ireland (Oct. 29-30; due 08/31/2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Dalarna University Centre for Irish Studies, DUCIS, at Dalarna University
contact email: 

According to mythographer Lewis Spence a myth explains "our relation to the universe, the environment or a social programme". In the Irish context, this definition of myth helps to understand the interrelationship between the retrieval of the Irish mythological lore and the construction of communal identity that characterised twentieth century Irish history, literature and socio-political reality. Spence's broad definition of myth, though initially referring to gods or supernatural beings, can easily be adapted to explain the construction of contemporary myths. Understood in a Barthesian sense, the concept of myth can be extended to include socio-cultural narratives that are constructed and become naturalised as symbols of a community to express the way it relates to the world. A changing reality calls for new ways of relating to the context and, consequently, for the (re)construction of myths. In the last few decades Irish reality, north and south of the border, has dramatically changed. The aim of this conference is to analyse the (re)construction of myths that communities in Ireland have developed in the face of these momentous changes. Papers are welcome from a broad range of disciplines including: Literary Studies; Ecocriticism; Media and Film Studies; Cultural Studies and Popular Culture; Postcolonial Studies; Gender Studies; Critical Theory; Linguistics. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Myth and the nation
• Myth and masculinity
• The feminisation of Ireland and myth
• Myth, nostalgia and globalisation
• Pastoral myth and globalised Ireland
• The myths of the Celtic Tiger
• Language myths
• Folk etymologies
• Irish accents in stage and screen
• Speaker beliefs
• Ulster-Scots: language or dialect?
• Language policy

The following guest speakers have already confirmed their attendance: Prof. Angela Bourke (School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore & Linguistics, UCD), Prof. Robert Welch (Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages Research Institute, University of Ulster), Prof. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (School of English, Trinity College, Dublin, and poet).

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent by email to Irene Gilsenan Nordin ( and to Carmen Zamorano Llena ( Abstracts dealing with language/linguistics should be sent to Una Cunningham ( The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 August 2009. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 7 September 2009. A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published in book form.