19 July 2022. What kind of relationship did the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney have to Australia? How did his interactions with Australian poets shape his own work, and how has his poetry been received in the country? This paper will survey the relationship between Heaney and Australia: drawing on a range of archival material; exploring his friendships with writers including Vincent Buckley and Les Murray; and revisiting his 1994 appearance at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, a significant moment in the poet’s career.
10 May 2022. Ulsterman John Black left Belfast after the Seven Years War to establish a Caribbean node in his family’s Atlantic network. He became enmeshed in transatlantic slavery in Grenada and Trinidad as a slave trader, planter and colonial administrator. His daughter Adele was born in Spanish Trinidad and spent most of her childhood in Belfast, before returning to the Caribbean to raise a family with her Irish husband. Both yearned for a return to Ireland but lived out their lives in Trinidad. Father and daughter illuminate the ways of being Irish in a dysfunctional, crisis-ridden slave society, with the complexities and challenges that entailed.
22 March 2022. The transnational history of the 'Ireland Question' in the imperial and ethico-political imaginary of radical and labour movements in (White) Australia during the 'Irish revolutionary period', broadly conceived, are explored in this paper by Dr. Jimmy Yan. It traces the contestation of 'Ireland' as a political signifier, with attention to its constitutive differences, transnational circuitries, utopian investments, relations of recognition and desire, and articulatory practices. Combining attention to settler-colonial difference with the discursive articulation of political forms, it situates the 'Ireland Question' firstly in relation to the political as a signifier of settler ambivalence, and secondly to politics as a social movement.
30 November 2021. Research into sociolinguistics shows accents are not fixed or static and can change throughout the lifespan. The way we speak can also shift depending on who we are speaking to, what we are speaking about, and how we position ourselves in given moments in interaction with others. These changes can be more apparent among highly mobile individuals, such as migrants, expatriates, or international students, who frequently move between cities, regions, and countries. In this seminar Dr Chloé Diskin-Holdaway will explore the role that identity and motivation can play in both the conscious and unconscious processes behind our speech production and perception.
28 September 2021. This seminar will be about the forthcoming collection of articles, Ireland 1922: Independence, Partition, Civil War, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry and to be published by Royal Irish Academy. The collection examines 1922 through key incidents and different perspectives including material culture, violence, gender, politics and the diaspora. A pivotal year in Irish history, 1922 saw the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State, the outbreak of the Irish Civil War, and the consolidation of partition as Northern Ireland opted out of the Free State settlement.
14 September 2021. Prof. Peter Kuch on The Sydney Theatre and the Irish play in the 1830s. For the most part, Irish roles in the plays produced at the Sydney Theatre Royal throughout the 1830s are notable for their wit, whimsy, sociability and fortuitous problem solving. But as the decade progressed, a reaction set in that saw the re-emergence of the Stage Irishman. The story of the Irish on the Sydney stage throughout the 1830s is a story of Irish character roles and ‘ersatz Irish’ commercial forms.
18 May 2021. Traditional migrant histories have emphasised the role of male ‘culture brokers’ in the shaping of migrant communities to the exclusion of influential women. This paper will argue that the priest, the politician, and the publican need to be joined by the teacher and the nun when assessing the influences on multigenerational Irish and Irish Catholic identity in Melbourne.
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.