Irish Seminar Photo

The IRISH Seminar

The IRISH Seminar nurtures a cosmopolitan community of young scholars and provides an intellectual infrastructure for scholarly collaboration, balancing the theoretically rich with the empirically rigorous. The Seminar adopts a flexible pluralization of approaches, less constrained by the firmness of institutional boundaries and disciplinary consolidation. It is self-reflective about professional and intellectual formation, while seeking to foster a supportive environment that develops the intellectual poise of emerging scholars.

Seminar sessions elicit sustained feedback between faculty and participants. Ideas are taken seriously, the exchanges occur in a dialogical manner, and there is a real focus on fostering a community of learning. Alongside formal sessions, there are readings, theater visits, archive and library visits, and field trips. Participants have been drawn from the United States, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Israel, Albania, France, Italy, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, and England. Student participants have included representatives from Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, NYU, Dartmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, Boston College, and Aberdeen. The Seminar also attracts a cohort of Irish graduate students and the mingling of Irish, European, American, and global graduate students provides a matrix for stimulating debate.

The IRISH Seminar has been presented annually since 1999 at ND’s Dublin Global Gateway in O’Connell House. It is a flagship program for Irish Studies at Notre Dame, founded by Seamus Deane, Chris Fox, and Kevin Whelan. Past themes include The Vernacular Imagination, The Irish Revival, Apocalypse and Utopia, Genealogies of Culture, and Ireland and Globalization. The Seminar has taken place in Dublin, Kylemore, Paris, Buenos Aires, and, this year, Oxford.

Faculty have included two Nobel Prize winners (Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott), some of the world’s pre-eminent scholars (Edward Said, Fred Jameson, Giovanni Arrighi, Jacqueline Rose, Homi Bhabha, Benedict and Perry Anderson) and celebrated writers (Edna O’Brien, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, John McGahern, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson, Nuala Ó Faoláin, Alice McDermott). Leading figures in Irish Studies participating in the Irish Seminar have included Elizabeth Cullingford, Emer Nolan, Clair Wills, Marjorie Howes, Siobhán Kilfeather, Máirín Nic Eoin, David Lloyd, and Joe Cleary.

List of past seminars

2020 Irish Seminar

2020 IRISH Seminar

The IRISH Seminar 2020 invites participants to explore Ireland’s past and present in order to envision Irish futures. We will consider the future not only as a time to come but as a form of alterity and potentiality—a space for the imagination of possibilities which are no longer, or have not yet been, realized in the here and now. We hope to consider, among other potentialities, Ireland as environment in the Anthropocene; future conceptions of Irishness and identity; Ireland and the future of globalization; the future of Irish modernism in the twenty-first century; the future of gender and sexuality in Ireland; the future of women in Irish theater; and the future of Irish Studies itself.

Academic Director: Dr. Susan Cannon Harris, associate professor of English and faculty fellow for the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies

Program Manager: Catherine Wilsdon, Keough-Naughton Programme Manager & Liaison


The IRISH Seminar is interdisciplinary and open to all faculty and graduate students. Students applying from the University of Notre Dame will be admitted as participants while students and faculty applying from other universities will be admitted as associates.

Applicants from Notre Dame   Applicants from other universities