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The Flagship Irish Studies Unit in the University System of Georgia
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Alumnus Chris Rushing's Star Turn • Irish Studies graduate cast in lead role for Atlanta production of Synge's classic, Playboy
Meeting the Minister • CIRT Inquiry in Ireiand® students hosted by Hon Paul Kehoe TD in Dublin, June 2015
Courses for Fall Semester 2015 • All offerings applicable to the interdisciplinary Minor in Irish Studies
Eagles Soar! • Kudos to Kurt McGee & other Irish Studies graduates
Prof. Roy Foster in Georgia: April 2016 • CIRT delighted to co-sponsor visit by leading Irish public intellectual and Oxford professor
True Blue in Ireland: Year 8 • 65 students participate in Summer Semester in Ireland®, June-July 2015
Gaelicly Yours • CIRT helps host international F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, July 2015
Picture Gallery: Wexford-Savannah Axis Research • Selection of highlights from our May-June 2015 Inquiry in Ireiand® program
Our Service • Reflections on programs offered by one of Georgia Southern University's most publicly active academic units (opens in new page)
CIRT: Interrogating diverse Irish and Irish-American identities with rigor, scruple and imagination.
Home of the May-June Inquiry in Ireland® and June-July Summer Semester in Ireland® programs.
Chris Rushing (left), a graduate of our Irish Studies program, will perform the lead role—Christy Mahon—in a major production of The Playboy of the Western World from Arís Theater, Atlanta's Stage for Celtic Culture. First offered at Dublin's Abbey Theater in January 1907, this lyrically ebullient three-act drama by John Millington Synge is a masterpiece of Anglo-Irish literature. With John Ammerman directing, the new production will occur in Studio B, which is part of the Georgia Public Broadcasting complex at 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA. Opening date: 24 September 2015. Closing date: 12 October 2015. (Dark on 28-29 Sep and 5-7 Oct).
One word in Playboy sparked controversy, but Synge believed that "in countries [like Ireland] where the imagination of the people, and the language they use, is rich and living, it is possible for a writer to be rich and copious in his words." As the action concludes, Christy declares that he's turned out "a likely gaffer" who'll "go romancing through a romping lifetime."
After graduating from the Georgia Southern University Irish Studies, Theater, and English programs, our "likely gaffer" Chris Rushing successfully established himself in Atlanta, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the US. In addition to Arís, he has performed with Atlanta Shakespeare, Georgia Shakespeare, the Academy Theater, Fabrefaction, and Georgia Ensemble.
The hinges of friendship: St. Joseph's/Candler Live Smart (click image below for more)
On Tuesday 16 June 2015—"Bloomsday"—the undergraduate researchers engaged in our Inquiry in Ireland® summer semester received a behind-the-scenes tour of Leinster House (the Irish parliament) and Government Buildings. Here, they're pictured on the main staircase of the latter venue with their professors and Hon. Paul Kehoe TD, Chief Whip of the Government of Ireland. Behind the group is the famous Evie Hone stained-glass window that depicts Ireland's four provinces or "green fields." As a deputy (congressman) for the county of Wexford in the Dáil (House of Representatives), Minster Kehoe takes a keen interest in the principal work of the Inquiry in Ireland program: primary-source research into the historic emigration axis between Wexford and its hinterland and the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia.
June 2015 • During a post-graduation "gap year" teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, Irish Studies Minor Kurt McGee learned that he'd won entry into the MPhil in Irish Writing degree at the University of Dublin, better known as Trinity College. This is a highly competitive program—a signature component of Trinity's School of English, which the 2014 QS World University Rankings placed #25 in the world and #7 in Europe. We congratulate Kurt (pictured below), who comments, "The literature track within the Georgia Southern Minor in Irish Studies provides a comprehensive academic grounding, but also plenty of opportunities for in-depth study of intriguing and important works outside the canon." Invoking a line from James Joyce's short story "The Dead," we urge Kurt to "[m]ake like a bird for Trinity College"!
2014 MA graduate in Irish Studies/English, Aaron Roberts, reports continued success as he prosecutes his full-ride PhD in Irish famine literature under the renowned scholar Dr. David Lloyd at the University of California-Riverside. In June 2015, Aaron attended the Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Immediately after, he traveled to Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, where he was among just a handful of graduate students selected to give papers at the inaugural meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies. What an achievement for one of our Georgia Southern Eagles!
May 2015 • Family and friends from Ireland and Britain journeyed to Statesboro, hometown of Georgia Southern University, to celebrate with Eileen Emerson as she received her EdD hood. Dr. Emerson's dissertation focuses on integration and reform challenges facing Irish primary and secondary schools as the nation's population becomes more global and multicultural. Notable is how the work situates its observations and arguments vis-à-vis the history of Irish education since the Stanley Education Act of 1831.
The Center for Irish Research and Teaching
Carroll Building, Suite 2288
Post Office Box 8023
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European Cultures
CRN 89433 • ANTH 3332 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM • Carroll 2260
Instructor: Barbara Hendry PhD
Irish Women Writers
CRN 88404 • ENGL 5238 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM • Carroll 2239
Instructor: Howard Keeley PhD
British and Irish Drama since 1660
CRN 86685 • ENLG 5332 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM • Newton 2206
Instructor: Dustin Anderson PhD
History of Religion in the United States
CRN 82157 • HIST 3139 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo, We & Fr • 9:00 AM – 9:55 AM • Forest Drive 1106
Instructor: James Wood PhD
Britain and the World
CRN 84806 • HIST 5339 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 11:00 AM – 12:15 AM • Forest Drive 1107
Instructor: Robert Batchelor PhD
Ethnicity and Nationalism
CRN 89471 • POLS 3335 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM • Carroll 2226
Instructor: Srobana Bhattacharya PhD
Comparative Political Conflict
CRN 83379 • POLS 4031 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM • Carroll 2226
Instructor: Srobana Bhattacharya PhD
Religion and Politics
CRN 86684 • RELS 3030 (B) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM • Newton 1108
Instructor: Finbarr Curtis PhD
Race and Ethnicity
CRN 89426 • SOCI 3235 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo, We & Fr • 9:05 AM – 9:55 AM • Carroll 2240
Instructor: William Smith PhD
World Literature 2 (Irish Emphases)
CRN 82214 • ENGL 2112 (N) • Lower Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM • Carroll 2239
Instructor: Howard Keeley PhD
The interdisciplinary Minor in Irish Studies is achieved by successfully completing 15 credit hours of approved coursework. Three of those hours may be at the lower division. Each spring on campus, the university offers the lower-division Introduction to Irish Culture course (worth three hours), which is non-mandatory. Six hours are available through the Inquiry in Ireland® program during Summer Term A; and seven hours are available through the Summer Semester in Ireland® program during Summer Term B. Email the Center to set up a meeting about the Minor: It's a solid educational investment, for it globalizes your résumé.
One of Ireland's foremost public intellectuals, Waterford native Roy F. Foster has, since 1991, been Carroll Professor of Public History at Hertford College, University of Oxford. Foster earned his PhD in history from the University of Dublin (Trinity College). He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society, and the Royal Society of Literature. He is also an honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He specializes in modern Irish cultural, social, and political history but also produced the authorized two-volume biography of the poet W.B. Yeats. The most recent of his dozen or so books is Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 (London: W.W. Norton, 2014). • CIRT is delighted to be joining Georgia State University and other Georgia institutions on the host committee for Prof. Foster's visit to our state. He will present the keynote lecture at the annual Southern meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies during 14-16 April 2016 (venue TBA).
The hinges of friendship: Hibernian Society of Savannah (click image below for more)
18 June - 23 July 2015 • For the eighth consecutive year, Georgia Southern undergraduate students constituted the largest group within the Summer Semester in Ireland® program that the Center for Irish Research and Teaching developed on behalf of the European Council of the University System of Georgia, the third-largest university system in the United States. Pictured below are just a handful of our Eagles, accompanied by 2015 program co-leader and CIRT affiliate-faculty member Dr. Dustin Anderson (bottom row, far left). The scholarly party holds a "True Blue" or university pride sign atop Vinegar Hill (beside Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford), site of a key battle during the 1798 Rebellion, which sought an independent Irish republic.
Each of the record 65 participating students chose from a "menu" of 12 lower- and upper-division Irish-themed courses across the following disciplines: art, film & theater, history, literature, music, and psychology.
The upper-division history course focused on the phase of the Irish independence struggle that spanned 1912-1922. The instructor, Dr. Gary Sprayberry (Chair, Department of History, Columbus State University) reflects, "It's a privilege to expose our Georgia undergraduates to a seminal historical decade while on the ground in Ireland. I can't overstate the educational value of the experiential-learning model that Georgia Southern's CIRT has carefully built with its Irish partner, Waterford Institute of Technology." Incidentally, after Dublin city, Enniscorthy (pictured above) was the most active community during the Rising that occurred during Easter week 1916.
One innovative upper-division course for 2015 was Queer Ireland: Literature and Culture, taught by Georgia Southern instructor Dr. Margaret Sullivan, a CIRT affiliate-faculty member. Among other things, the course examined Ireland's gay and lesbian heritage, exemplified in the likes of dramatist Oscar Wilde and human-rights advocate and nationalist freedom-fighter Roger Casement. These historical figures provide a powerful lens through which to consider the May 2015 referendum that saw Ireland become the first country on earth to approve same-sex marriage in a nationwide popular vote (62% "yes"). According to the New York Times (23 May 2015), Ireland's fair-mindedness towards its LGBT population puts it "in the vanguard of social change" internationally.
On occasion, St. Paul, Minnesota, native F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) would sign off with the phrase "Gaelicly yours." During the period 4-11 July 2015, the Center for Irish Research and Teaching was pleased to partner with the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and the School of Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology (in Waterford, Ireland's oldest city) to host a major international conference focused primarily on Fitzgerald's understanding of himself as Irish-American.
In his posthumously published memoir A Movable Feast (1964), Ernest Hemingway described his friend Fitzgerald as exhibiting "very fair wavy hair, a high forehead, excited and friendly eyes, and a delicate, long-lipped Irish mouth." Certainly, Fitzgerald's pen frequently tended to matters Irish. In Tender is the Night (1934), principal character Dick Driver's voice "woo[s] the world" on account of the "faint Irish melody running through it." While, earlier, in The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), "Irish girls...[cast] their eyes...upon a society" that includes "young Tammany politicians." That novel's Anthony Patch lyrically describes to his girlfriend Geraldine Burke "Chevalier O'Keefe": "[a] creature of my splendid mind"; "a semi-fictional Irishman." He elaborates that O'Keefe exemplified "the wild sort" of Hibernian: a gent with with "a genteel brogue and 'reddish hair'" who—"exiled from Erin [to France] in the late days of chivalry"—lived his days as "a sentimentalist...a vain fellow, a man of wild passions."
Irish-American figures populate Fitzgerald's opus, from Monsignor Darcy and Beatrice Blaine in his debut, semi-autobiographical novel This Side of Paradise (1920) to Pat Brady and Katherine Moore in The Last Tycoon (unfinished when the author died in 1940). Exploring this clear but under-addressed legacy, the conference brought together an impressive array of established and emerging scholarly thought-leaders. Speakers traveled to Ireland from from Brazil, England, France, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The host institution, Waterford Institute of Technology, produced a superior environment and experience, according to Dr. Dustin Anderson, the CIRT affiliate-faculty member who directed the major, multi-day event.
The Fitzgerald conference followed perfectly last summer's two-day Educating the Irish Genius symposium, co-created by CIRT and Ireland's Kilkenny College (founded in 1538). Held at Kilkenny College, the Newpark Hotel, and Kilkenny Castle, that world-class event interrogated the Irish Enlightenment.
May and June (i.e. Summer Term A) of 2015 saw the second iteration of our Inquiry in Ireland® program, with ten Honors and advanced-undergraduate students conducting primary-source research at a variety of venues over five weeks. We spent much of the first half of the term at Hodgson Hall, the Research Center belonging to one of our project partners, the Georgia Historical Society (founded in 1839). We also worked with archives at Savannah's historic Andrew Low House. Then we flew to Ireland, where we engaged in a variety of archival, field, and presentational endeavors, some of which are detailed below. Home base was student accommodations at Waterford Institute of Technology, except during our last four days, when we stayed on the campus of the University of Dublin (Trinity College) in the heart of Ireland's capital city.
Image 1 • Student Brittany Sealey examines original copies of mid-nineteenth-century Wexford newspapers at the Wexford County Archive, just outside Wexford town. The "Emigration to Savannah" advertisement comes from a September 1850 edition of the Wexford Independent, and it lauds the coastal Georgia city as "the best Port in the States of America" for winter emigration. Brittany (history major, Irish Studies minor) commented, "It's amazing to think that I handled newspaper pages that may have passed through the hands of an individual or family that then decided to attempt a new life in Savannah."
Image 2 • Senior archivist Dr. Brian Donnelly of the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin assists Honors students Rachel Doggett (left) and Kayla Allen (center) as they scrutinize historical records belonging to Graves & Co. of the deep-water river port of New Ross, Co. Wexford. That shipping business transported goods—and, later, passengers—to Savannah for around a decade, beginning (we believe) in 1846. Our students were the first to handle these materials in over a century!
Image 3 • All the students presented their research to an audience of around 70 people assembled at the Dunbrody Emigrant Experience Center in New Ross, Co. Wexford, on the evening of Friday 12 June 2015. Here, Honors student Aleyna Rentz addresses the interface that we discovered between Graves & Co. and Andrew Low II, the leading mid-nineteenth-century cotton factor in Savannah and the greater American Southeast. Immediately beside her were Minster Paul Kehoe TD, a congressman for Wexford; Malcolm Byrne, Chair of Wexford County Council; and Willie Keilthy, Chair of the John F. Kennedy Trust. No pressure, Aleyna!
Image 4 • When prosecuting field research into the Kehoes and the Raths—two intermarried emigrant families that became influential in Savannah—our students enjoyed the honor of help from a pair of prominent Wexford men passionate about their county's history: Monsignor Lory Kehoe (seated) and sporting (specifically, hurling) legend Tony Doran. Here, the two consult Griffith's Valuation, also known as the primary valuation, which was compiled between 1848 and 1864. Surrounded by our students, they are in front of the Roman Catholic church in Monamolin, Co. Wexford, which contains stained-glass windows donated by the Raths.
Image 5 • Much migration from Wexford to Savannah occurred immediately after the Great Famine (1845-1849). To better understand how that event affected areas of Wexford, the so-called Model County, our students interacted with one of Europe's leading agricultural researchers, Dr. Noel Culleton, a proud native of Wexford. Here, he fields questions from the group amid the spectacular grounds of Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, the rural-environment R&D Center of Excellence that he directed for many years.
Image 6 • Not all work! Our students actively absorbed traditional Irish culture, not least the ancient and still popular sport of hurling, the world's fastest team-based field game. On the leafy and safe main campus of Waterford Institute of Technology, student Mikel Ballard hoists a camán (hurling stick) as he and his peers receive tutelage from rising Waterford County star (and WIT doctoral student) Noel Connors.
Image 7 • At the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, a set of students engaged with the Tithe Applotment Books for Co. Wexford, created in the 1830s. The featured extract (from a digital shot taken by Honors student Olivia Perdue) reflects the civil parish of Monamolin in Ferns, a diocese almost coterminous with Co. Wexford. Within that parish, Catholic Daniel Kehoe paid a tithe on his farm—i.e. a tax to supported the established Protestant church—prior to emigrating to Savannah with his wife and children in 1852. One of those children, William, became the most important iron-foundryman in the American Southeast, owning and operating a huge plant in the Trustees' Garden area of Savannah.
Image 8 • Here, the entire 2015 coterie of Inquiry in Ireland® student-researchers enjoys a wide-ranging view of Co. Wexford from near the top of Vinegar Hill, beside the town of Enniscorthy. In coming to terms with the cultural memory that Wexford migrants would have carried to Savannah, our young scholars privileged the United Irish Rebellion of 1798, a complex insurrection in support of an Irish republic. Wexford saw more action than any Irish county, with the turning-point battle occurring on Vinegar Hill on 21 June 1798. As many as 18,000 British soldiers attacked an Irish rebel force of approximately 20,000.
CIRT: Interrogating diverse Irish and Irish-American identities with rigor, scruple and imagination.
Home of the May-June Inquiry in Ireland® and June-July Summer Semester in Ireland® programs.
Center for Irish Research and Teaching • Georgia Southern University