Special Issue: “Enlightenment and Modern Ireland: Legacies and Afterlives”
Whether we praise or deride it, we now live in its shadows and must reckon with what it has bequeathed us. Western thought is haunted by the Enlightenment
(Genevieve Lloyd, Enlightenment Shadows, 2013)
‘For many’, notes a 2016 article in the Irish Times, ‘the idea of an Irish Enlightenment is a contradiction in terms’. Recent scholarship has so dismantled this way of thinking that the ‘epoch, ideal, or project’ of an Irish Enlightenment has become ‘one of the more significant transitions in recent scholarship’ (David Dwan, ‘The Prejudices of Enlightenment’, 2020). Nonetheless current research characterises the historic Enlightenment in Ireland as fragile and short-lived (Michael Brown, The Irish Enlightenment, 2016).
This special issue of Estudios Irlandeses (https://www.estudiosirlandeses.org) shifts focus away from the historic character of an Irish Enlightenment and towards the presentist significance of Enlightenment in contemporary and recent Irish culture. If the Enlightenment legacy is at once under suspicion and under threat globally today, how does it manifest in a culture where its historic presence has been successively denied, overlooked, and celebrated? We invite critical and creative responses to such questions which focus on the following issues:
- Ways in which Enlightenment legacies shape contemporary debate about global citizenship, migration and asylum
- Enlightenment legacies of sexuality and gender, including reflections on masculinity and femininity as vectors of historic nationhood, or on the ability of enlightenment thought to encode or challenge regimes of normativity
- Reflections on science and scientism as an Enlightenment legacy in contemporary Irish culture, which might focus on discourses or individuals connected with economics, technocracy, pseudoscience, or responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Afterlives of figures such as Jonathan Swift or Edmund Burke, who have been conceived as opposed to or ambivalent about Enlightenment thought, and the potential complicity of Irish thought and culture in the present turn to "post-Enlightenment" and "post-truth" conditions
- Irish views of ‘race’, whiteness, and difference in the context of empire in the eighteenth century, the Atlantic slave trade and its legacies
- The Enlightenment and ‘long eighteenth century’ (1660-1830) as a living presence which persists in recent Irish writing, art and screen media
- Adaptations and afterlives of works and events from the Enlightenment period (1660-1830)
Contributions for this special issue should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 31 January 2022. Prior to this date the guest editors are happy to discuss proposals or abstracts. Submissions should follow the following Style Sheet guidelines and the Template. This special issue contributes to ISLE: Ireland in Search of the Legacies of Enlightenment, a project funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust.