Conference: An island at the center of the world: Reconsidering Ireland’s Role on the Global Stage

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Drew University
contact email: 

“An island at the center of the world”: Reconsidering Ireland’s Role on the Global Stage
6 th Annual Dean Hopper Conference, Drew University
Madison, New Jersey
April 20 and 21, 2018
Deadline: Feb 15, 2018 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s recent interview in Time magazine concluded with an optimistic and
historically loaded statement: “Geographically, we are at the periphery of Europe, but I don't see Ireland in that
way...The way I see us is as an island at the center of the world.” Varadkar’s quote contains echoes of the
historiography of empire, which, particularly in the postcolonial era, has brought about intellectual frameworks
of core and periphery, hubs and spokes. Barry McCrea’s Languages of the Night (2015) questions exactly this
sort of binary. McCrea’s book offers insight into experiential commonalities amongst a number of European
linguistic territories, including Brittany and Provence in France, Catalonia and Basque Country in Spain, as well
as others, proving that continental Europe itself is also fractured with regional distinctions that cannot be
juxtaposed against its neighboring islands as a homogenous totality. As Varadkar and McCrea make clear,
today’s thinkers in both the political and academic realms are more concerned than ever with Ireland’s
continuously evolving relationship to both Europe and the wider world. This concept is further complicated by
Ireland’s longstanding historical engagement with its own diaspora, as is exemplified by the statement of
then-Minister for Enterprise, Mary Harney in 2000. Speaking to a meeting of the American Bar Association,
she noted “geographically, we are closer to Berlin than Boston. Spiritually, we are probably a lot closer to
Boston than Berlin.”
Drew University’s 6th Annual Dean Hopper Conference aims to examine these historical, cultural, and
political connections, while expanding conversations surrounding Ireland’s role on the international stage in the
20th and 21st centuries. This conference aims to engage issues of spatiality through concepts of peripheries,
diasporas, and their related power structures in Ireland and abroad. Related papers from all disciplines are
welcomed in Irish or English.
Suggested topics and disciplines may include but are not limited to:
● Space and place
● Spatial analysis (in history, literature, poetry, etc.)
● Irish regional identities
● Modern Irish Literature
● Diaspora Studies
● Ireland and the EU
● Irish social and political engagement with Trump’s America
● “Town Twinning”, “Partner Towns”, and “Sister Cities”
● Irish Language Rights and the Irish Language Abroad
● Irish Nationalism
● Ireland and post-colonialism
● Comparative histories
● Pre- and Post-Brexit Policy
● Northern Irish Political Policy
● The Belfast Agreement: 20 year perspective
● Immigrants, emigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers
● Literature and Poetry of the Troubles
● Irish Poetic and Narrative Traditions
● Maintenance of Music and Visual Arts Across Place
● Nua-Litríocht na Gaeilge agus an Diaspóra Éireannaigh
● Litríocht na himirce
● An Litríochta Trasnáisiúnta/ An Tairseachúlacht
● Litríocht náisiúnta agust litríocht mionlaigh
● Scríobhneoirí ar deoraíocht
● An chathair mar thairseach
● Scríbhneoirí idir dhá chultúr
Please send a 250 word abstract and 100 word biography to Rebecca Van Horn or Patrick J. Mahony by Feb.
15, 2018 at