Midwestern Modern Language Association
November 14-17, 2019
Permanent Section: Irish Studies
—I am a servant of two masters, Stephen said, an English and an Italian.
—Italian? Haines said.
A crazy queen, old and jealous. Kneel down before me.
—And a third, Stephen said, there is who wants me for odd jobs.
—Italian? Haines said again. What do you mean?
—The imperial British state, Stephen answered, his colour rising, and the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church.
Haines detached from his underlip some fibres of tobacco before he spoke.
—I can quite understand that, he said calmly. An Irishman must think like that, I daresay. We feel in England that we have treated you rather unfairly. It seems history is to blame.
~James Joyce, Ulysses (1922)
In keeping with the MMLA conference theme, the Irish Studies permanent section welcomes proposals that address works and writers who variously explore “duality, doubles and doppelgängers.” From the emergence of Irish Gothic fiction in the late eighteenth century to Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Anne Enright’s What are You Like? Irish literature instantiates a vast range of doubles and doubling to explore uncanny and often disturbing fears and longings. Given Ireland’s history of conquest and colonization, Irish writing is, despite its unique national and linguistic characteristics, inevitably intertwined with English literature. That hybridity has of course been the source of endless cultural tension. Seamus Deane for example has described writing from Northern Ireland as existing in a “double post-colonial condition,” being viewed as not British enough, not Irish enough. Indeed the extent to which political and ethnic identities—Irish and Northern Irish, Irish and British—continue to be measured against one another, often creating a sense of doubled identity within and across historically defined and policed borders, betrays the deep seriousness of politically constituted geographical boundaries.
This panel welcomes proposals from emerging and established academic scholars working in the humanities or cultural media, educators, artists, and activists. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:
- Irish Gothic fiction
- The Irish Literary Revival
- Irish Modernism
- Representations of the War of Independence and the Civil War of the 1920s
- The postcolonial dimensions of Irish literature
- Constructions of Irish national identity in opposition to colonial England
- Exile and the Irish writer
- Cultural tensions in Irish writing in relation to land, religion, nationality, and/or language
- Ulster identity and Irish historiography
- Provincialism and cosmopolitanism
- The “Irishness” of Anglo-Irish literature where, as the Irish nationalist writer Daniel Corkery has remarked, “the Ascendancy mind is not the same as the English mind”
- The Irish writer caught between literary traditions and languages
- Emigration and the Irish diaspora
- Contemporary Irish writing and postmodernism
- Readings of the past in contemporary Irish literature
- The “Troubles” in contemporary Irish writing
- Partitionist “mentalities”—North and South, Unionist and Nationalist, Anglo-Irish and Gael, Protestant and Catholic
- Irish writing of the “Celtic Tiger” years, and beyond
- Irish Writing in the age of Brexit
Please submit a brief abstract (100-200 words) and presentation title along with your full name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and contact details to session chair Dr. Desmond Harding (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 15, 2019.