MISS Programme

Melbourne Irish Studies Seminars (MISS)

An Inter-University Forum for Irish and Irish-Australian Studies

The MISS programme will remain online for at least the first semester of 2021. Except where indicated, seminars will start at 6:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Melbourne); 8.30pm New Zealand Daylight Time (Wellington); 7:30am Greenwich Mean Time (Dublin). For zoom details please RSVP to melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com. General queries may be addressed to melbirishstudies [at] gmail.com or dianne.hall [at] vu.edu.au


Tuesday 23rd March, 2021 at 12:00 noon (AEDT) on Zoom
Prof. Jane McGaughey, Concordia University, Canada.
“These raving maniacs”: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Irish in Canadian Colonial Lunatic Asylums, 1832-1868

Tuesday 20th April, 2021 at 6:30pm (AEST) on Zoom
Clive Probyn, Emeritus Professor of English, Monash University.
Anglo-Irish roads to Jonathan Swift

Tuesday 18th May, 2021 at 6:30pm (AEST) on Zoom
Dr Sophie Cooper, Teaching Fellow in Irish History, University of Leicester
Women and the shaping of Irish identities in Melbourne 1857-1920


Details for any upcoming seminars are listed immediately below. Recordings and details of past seminars are provided further down.

Newman College, Melbourne

After seminars the speaker usually joins any interested audience members for dinner at a local cafe or hotel. Queries about the seminar series may be directed to any of the MISS convenors: Philip Bull (La Trobe University), Frances Devlin-Glass (Deakin University), Dianne Hall (Victoria University), Elizabeth Malcolm (University of Melbourne), or Ronan McDonald (University of Melbourne)


23rd March, 2021 Prof. Jane McGaughey
“These raving maniacs”: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Irish in Canadian Colonial Lunatic Asylums, 1832-1868

13th October, 2020. Prof. Sonja Tiernan
Commemorating controversy: Women and the shaping of Modern Ireland

17th November, 2020. Dr Craig Pett
The death of Swift’s printer John Harding: new evidence that implicates Swift

1st December, 2020. Dr Robert Lindsey
Vincent Hearnes and the cultural landscape of Irish Australia

8th December, 2020. Prof. Jeff Kildea
Hugh Mahon’s expulsion from the Australian parliament in 1920


MISS Online: Anglo-Irish roads to Jonathan Swift

20 April 2021. What was the relationship between Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and his own experience of contemporary Anglo-Irish travel? The Irish Sea made Swift into a restless and necessary traveller capable of living in the space between an imperial England and a colonised Ireland, never at home in any one place.

MISS Online: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Irish in Canadian Colonial Lunatic Asylums, 1832-1868

23 March 2021. No study has yet undertaken a detailed analysis of how the Great Irish Famine and negative stereotypes about the Irish affected the rate of their incarceration in Canadian lunatic asylums. Drawing on asylum admission records, case files, annual reports, casebooks, and administrative letters, this paper investigates how being Irish affected the medical treatment offered in Canadian colonial lunatic asylums and the gendered significance these medical determinations had on beliefs about the Irish before Canadian Confederation in 1867.

MISS Online: The expulsion of Hugh Mahon in 1920

8 December, 2020. November 11 is a date that resonates in Australian history. But more than a half century before Kerr’s coup, November 11 was associated with another dismissal. For on that day in 1920 the Labor member for Kalgoorlie, Irish-born Hugh Mahon, was expelled from parliament for his criticism of British rule in Ireland. Jeff Kildea will discuss how that dismissal came about and how the echoes of the controversy continue to be heard down to the present.

MISS Online: Vincent Hearnes and the cultural landscape of Irish Australia

1 December, 2020. This seminar will focus on the life of an exceptional yet little-known Irish-Australian, Vincent Joseph Hearnes (1903-1986). A talented artist, engineer and writer, Hearnes spent much of his life studying the Irish language, and creating illuminated manuscripts that drew inspiration from sources such as the Book of Kells. Nevertheless, he never set foot in Ireland.

MISS Online: The death of Swift’s printer John Harding

17 November, 2020. John Harding, the printer of the seditious Letters written by Jonathan Swift under the pseudonym ‘M.B. Drapier’, died five months after his imprisonment in November 1724. It has been assumed that he died from jail fever, which is an assumption that consigns his death to the realm of ‘accident’ and which leaves Swift’s reputation unquestioned, but this paper presents never-before-seen evidence suggesting that Harding, who had been due to appear in court, was the victim of a vicious beating ordered by the Lord Lieutenant, John Carteret, Swift’s friend, and carried out with tacit knowledge on Swift’s part.


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.