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    Neither Here Nor There: Writing the Irish Diaspora. University of Limerick, 31 Oct – 1 Nov 2008

    By Noreen Bowden | June 4, 2008

    The organisers of “Neither Here Nor There: Writing the Irish Diaspora” have issued a call for papers. The text in full:

    Emigration has been central to modern Irish history and society, yet the writing of emigrant experiences over the past two centuries is only beginning to be constituted as a vitally important field of enquiry within Irish Studies. This conference, specifically convened to discuss literary and cultural constructions of the Irish diaspora, marks a milestone in this process.

    Plenary Speakers include:

    • Prof. Marjorie Howes, Boston College
    • Dr. Breda Gray, University of Limerick
    • Prof. Eithne Luibhéid, University of Arizona

    Conference panels will address the rich heritage of creative expressions of, and responses to, Irish emigrant lives, including those found in fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, and memoir, as well as popular forms and visual culture. We shall also attend to the theoretical frameworks within which diaspora has to date been framed and discussed, focusing in particular on Irish diasporic theory and criticism. Some panels will develop critical and/or literary-historical discussions of Irish writers and writings of emigration and diaspora; others may concentrate on theoretical approaches and on the many other methodological questions arising in this field, where primary source material can itself be formally and/or thematically disparate.

    Specific questions such as the following might be addressed:

    • How has the Irish diaspora been constructed and imagined within Irish literature?
    • How has it appeared in the received canonical texts of Irish literary history?
    • How have homeland/diaspora relations been reflected in or shaped by this literature?
    • In what ways has Irish cultural production more generally been influenced by emigrant texts and discourses?
    • How has women’s writing reconfigured received ideas about the Irish emigrant experience?
    • How have Irish emigration writings been gendered?
    • How have textual constructions of the ‘Irish diaspora’ changed in more recent times, with growing and altering transnational and global connnections?
    • Queer Migrations: how might recent work by and about LGBTQ migrants challenge traditional textual constructions of the Irish diasporic subject?
    • How do concepts of migration, diaspora and the transnational move between political/social science discourses and literary/cultural texts?

    Conference Organisers:
    Dr. Tina O’Toole, University of Limerick
    Dr. Kathryn Laing, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

    Deadline for abstracts:
    30th June 2008
    Abstracts should be approximately 250-300 words. Abstracts and queries to:
    Yvonne O’Keeffe, Department of Languages & Cultural Studies, University of Limerick.

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