Haunted Hibernia: Conjuring the Contemporary Irish Gothic
Date of conference: 28th-29th October 2022.
In the period following the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, Irish society and culture began to take on a distinctly Gothic hue. In popular discourse, the landscapes of recessionary Ireland were figured as uncanny, gothicized spaces, haunted by ‘ghost estates’ and ‘zombie banks’, and preyed upon by vampiric ‘vulture funds’. At the same time, deeply disturbing aspects of Ireland’s history were further exposed in a plethora of government commissions documenting the shocking scale and extent of the abuses committed by the church and state, including: the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the ‘Ryan Report’), the 2013 Magdalen Commission Report (the ‘Quirke Report’), and (the more problematic) 2021 Report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. These profoundly disturbing revelations regarding the country’s past have resonated, in a deeply troubling manner, with more recent societal crises, such as the ongoing issue of homelessness and child poverty, the inhumane treatment of individuals in direct provision, the fight for reproductive autonomy, and the rise of domestic violence in the wake of the ongoing Covid pandemic. Given the psychologically discomfiting and socially unsettling effect of these overlapping contexts and anxieties, it is unsurprising that the Gothic has proved an especially apposite prism for the artistic representation of Ireland’s post-Celtic-Tiger dispensation.
This conference seeks to explore the myriad ways that the Gothic has been deployed to interrogate the social, economic, and political transformations that have occurred in Ireland since the end of the Celtic Tiger, and to exhume the associated historical trauma engendered by these changes. It will also examine how the contemporary scene has generated and precipitated new variations and hybridizations of Gothic literature and media. We welcome papers that engage with the Gothic in a wide variety of forms and media, including fiction, poetry, drama, film, tv, visual art, music, digital media and storytelling, and the broader field of popular culture.
The conference will also host plenary speaker, Dr. Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Senior Lecturer and founding member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
· The Gothic and gender/sexuality: The Gothic as a lens through which we engage with the politicised female body and ownership/possession of the female body in 21st century Ireland.
The use of the Gothic as a mode of progressive social and political protest.
· The Gothic as a vehicle to signify and disclose economic/financial crisis in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.
· Gothic tropes and motifs (the monstrous, the spectral, the uncanny, the haunted house) in contemporary Irish artistic culture.
· Contemporary artistic engagement with an older Irish Gothic tradition
· The aesthetic evolution/re-invention of the Gothic in contemporary Irish art and literature
· Eco Gothic and Eco horror in and Irish context
The Gothic in Contemporary Irish Children’s Literature
· The Covid pandemic and the Gothic.
Narratives of Gothic imprisonment/entrapment in contemporary Ireland, both literal and structural.
The Gothic as a response to Ireland’s ongoing mental health crisis.
Representations of home and homelessness in contemporary Irish Gothic.
Constructions of domesticity and the domestic space in contemporary Irish Gothic.
Specters of imperialism in contemporary Ireland.
Proposals (300 words) and a brief biography should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1st May 2022.