Conference Themes

"The Worlding of Irish Studies"


American Conference for Irish Studies

2016 National Meeting at the University of Notre Dame

March 30th-April 3rd, 2016


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The 2016 National Meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies will be hosted by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, part of the University of Notre Dame's new Keough School of Global Affairs.  It will take place on the University of Notre Dame's campus in Indiana from March 30th-April 3rd, 2016.

"The Worlding of Irish Studies" provides a theme for the 2016 American Conference for Irish Studies' annual gathering. With Irish Studies increasingly seen through multinational eyes, this meeting will address the current placement of Ireland and Irish Studies. 

Is Ireland transnational? With seventy million people of Irish extraction all over the world, the diaspora was more wildly successful—and more demographically complex—than scholars have yet imagined. This reexamination will weigh whether Ireland might be most productively understood as a post-colonial nation or a fully integrated European country. We will look to other peoples’ experiences in comparative studies; the effects of globalization on Ireland—its economy, literature and people; the north-south divide; and the ownership of the concept of what it means to be "Irish." Commenting on recent developments in "Irish" writing, Professor Declan Kiberd has observed: “Even as young people from Poland, France, Nigeria, and China flowed into Dublin, Irish authors began to make a point of setting some of their novels in New York, Berlin or Central America. Yet each of them, once featured in the New York Times or the London Review of Books, seemed to get re-nationalized as fast as any bank.”

Beyond this central question, what do we do, for instance, with the Irish who settled in Argentina and form the largest group of non-English-speaking Irish among the millions of Irish immigrants spread across the world? Or with the Irish in Australia, New Zealand, Central Europe, and Brazil—not to mention Canada and Mexico? Irish immigration has been a fact of life for centuries. How far back in time can we trace the movement of Irish people and when, why, and where did they go? 

For scholars—and especially younger scholars—interested in exploring these and other global connections, where are the chief archives and resources? These are some of the questions we would like to explore. Scholars in Irish Studies, literature, language, culture, history, anthropology, and politics; as well as poets, archivists, librarians and independent scholars from all over the world are invited to join us at this conference, to present and further the conversation—a conversation which, by and large, has not yet been had. 

A roundtable discussion of these and related questions will feature Professors Declan Kiberd, Keough Professor of Irish Studies at Notre Dame, Carle Bonafous-Murat, Président de l'Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), and Laura Izarra (Universidade de São Paulo). The discussion will be moderated by Diarmuid Ó Giolláin (University of Notre Dame).

The year 2016 is, of course, a year of particular interest because it marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, a seminal event in Ireland and world history. The conference will take place the same month as a worldwide broadcast on American public television, RTÉ, and the BBC of Notre Dame's three-part documentary devoted to 1916, 1916 The Irish Rebellion, developed by Professors Bríona Nic Dhiarmada and Christopher Fox, and narrated by Liam Neeson.  Accordingly, the ACIS meeting will include a screening of this 1916 documentary. 

The meeting will also welcome plenary addresses by historian Mary Daly of University College Dublin and President of the Royal Irish Academy; by Thomas Bartlett of the University of Aberdeen; by David Dwan of Hertford College, University of Oxford; and by Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, University of Notre Dame.  The meeting will feature poetry readings by Sinéad Morrissey, director of the Seamus Heaney Center for Poetry at Queen's University Belfast  and winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Trinity College Dublin emeritus professor and winner of the International Poetry Prize; Conor O'Callaghan, winner of the Patrick Kavanaugh Prize; and Caitríona O'Reilly, winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. 

Conference participants will also enjoy an exhibit in the Hesburgh Library on events surrounding the 1916 Easter Rising, as well as an evening lecture performance by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, founding director of the World Academy of Music at University of Limerick.

Please send any questions to

The American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) is a multidisciplinary scholarly organization dedicated to the study of Ireland and the Irish worldwide.  Founded in 1960, it has over 800 members in the United States, Ireland, Canada, and around the world. Presenters must be members in good standing of ACIS. Remember to renew your membership (