Fall 2017 Courses
Fall 2017 Irish Studies Courses
Beginning Irish I
Beginning Irish I
Beginning Irish I
Beginning Irish II
Irish Music in North America
Various genres of Irish music have been part of a global flow of music and for well over two centuries. This course explores the place of ‘Irish’ music in the USA, as an immigrant music initially, as well as a diasporic, ethnic and, critically, American civic music also. Beginning with an introduction to the historical forms of Irish music which have crossed the ‘Green Atlantic’, we will explore of the place of Irish music in nineteenth and twentieth century American cultural life in particular, culminating in the study of specific instances of Irish music making and dissemination in Chicago up to the present day. Topics covered include: Irish nostalgic songs of Thomas Moore and their influence on American music, The Irish music and Irish performers of American Vaudeville, Composing Irish Songs in the Tin Pan Alley Era, Irish Traditional Music in the American Metropolis (with an emphasis on Captain Francis O’Neill in Chicago) American-made sound recordings of Irish Music on wax cylinders and 78rmp records from 1899 up to c.1945 for the ethnic market. The Irish Tenor in the American soundscape. Irish musical representation (and Irish stereotypes) in Hollywood - North American festive culture celebrating Irish and Celtic Musics - Irish American pop/rock/rap bands influence by/influencing Irish traditional and popular music. American country music and Country 'n' Irish. American-based musical collaborations of Irish music with American, Indian music and Mexican genres - Contemporary Irish music scene in Chicago featuring case studies of Liz Carroll, bohola and others. The work of Irish music institutions in North America - local and international - Irish music (and dance) in 21st Century USA - Post ethnic music? During the semester we will chart the emergence of a distinctly ‘American’ take on what constitutes Irish music in traditional and popular realms, as well as critically appraise the sounds, structures, forms and performances of ‘Irish’ music in North America which has either fused and hybridized with other vernacular and popular music, or has seemingly remained unchanged. Focusing on specific music texts in their historical and socio-cultural contexts, students will learn through a thematic approach, encountering concepts such as ethnicity, identity politics, post-colonialism, celticism, cultural intimacy, authenticity, structural nostalgia, hybridity, etc. We will come to understand the expressive and generic tensions in various styles of Irish music that push to become American while also retaining a sense of being tethered to Ireland (real or imagined). We will pay particular attention to the fieldwork, sound recordings and publications of Captain Francis O’Neill from Chicago, whose papers reside in the archived here in Notre Dame and whose legacy is still felt in Chicago, across the Midwest as well as in Ireland. Supporting literature will be drawn from critical Irish music studies, American music studies, vernacular music studies, ethnic studies, popular music studies, and ethnomusicology. The course will be underpinned by ethnomusicological and cultural theory approaches to understanding music culture, especially as it relates to issue of identity and performativity. We will also refer to Notre Dame’s Field Day Series in Irish Studies, many publications from which from directly engage with the relationship between Ireland and America. Youtube links and MP3 recordings will be supplied and we will watch documentary excerpts in class. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to encounter some visiting musicians and guest speakers
during the semester. Finally, opportunities to engage in music making, where feasible, will be provided in order to embody the ‘structures of feeling’ of Irish Music(s) in North America.
The Hidden Ireland
The Hidden Ireland denotes both a book and a concept. The book was written by Daniel Corkery in 1924 and was an immediate success as it encapsulated a version of Irish history which had not hitherto been available to the general public; it is still considered to be a classic of its kind. The concept promoted the notion that history should emanate from “below” and should not be confined to the elites and governing classes. Both book and concept have had a profound impact on our understanding of Irish identity, Irish history, and Irish literature. This course will examine the book in depth and utilize it to open a window on the hidden Ireland of the 18th century. The cultural, historical, and literary issues which are raised by the book will be studied in the context of the poetry of the period. Poetry will be read in translation.
Great Irish Writers I
Ireland can lay claim to one of the most extensive, unique, and oldest literatures in Europe. By engaging with a wide range of literary texts from the medieval and early modern periods (ca. 800-1800), participants will consider how changing social, cultural, literary and intellectual contexts, in terms of both authors and audiences, have dramatically transformed Ireland’s literature over the centuries. By looking at authors ranging from heroic bards and literary monks to lamenting wives and satirizing schoolmasters, we will examine the dynamics of production and the voices that speak to us from Ireland's past. Additionally, by thinking about the identities of those who have more recently translated and edited the versions of the texts we will read, by questioning the different topics that scholars have chosen to explore, and by articulating our own responses to often arresting works from the Irish literary tradition, we will begin to understand the complexities and rich possibilities inherent in experiencing these literary masterpieces in a time and place very different from medieval or early modern Ireland. Participants will read both primary literary texts, which may include but are not limited to The Táin, stories from Early Irish Myths and Sagas, poems from An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed, Merriman’s Midnight Court, as well as a number of critical essays. Participants will be required to write several short response papers,
to compose discussion questions to help direct class conversations, and to write 2 papers (4-5 pp. and 6-7 pp.)
Brian Ó Conchubhair
The Irish Short Story
This course introduces students to the themes, motifs, approaches and various forms common to the Irish short story as well as the critical debates associated with the genre. We begin with a survey of the literary history and cultural politics of Ireland in the nineteenth and the emergence of the Irish short story and compare it to the American and French story, before considering the relationship between folklore and literature and the origins of the modern short story form. Having discussed various theories of the short story, we proceed to examine the interactive relationship between orality and print culture, tradition and modernity, native and foreign, natural/authentic and artificial/other. Among the authors we read in detail are: George Moore, P.H. Pearse, James Joyce, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Frank O'Connor, Sean O'Faolain, Liam Ó Flaithearta/Liam O'Flaherty, Seamus Ó Grianna, Seosamh Mac Grianna, Angela Bourke, Samuel Beckett, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Pádraic Breathnach, Seán Mac Mathúna, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Alan Titley, Dara Ó Conaola and Eilís Ní Dhuibhne. Stories are read primarily as literary texts that shed light on evolving cultural, political and social conditions and provide incisive insights into the Irish literary and cultural tradition. This course is an ideal introduction to literary criticism and cultural studies. No prior knowledge of Irish or Ireland is required. All texts will be available in English.
Diarmuid Ó Giolláin
Introduction to Irish Folklore
This course will discuss the 19th century concept of folklore and its application in Ireland. ‘Irish Folklore’ is usually understood in terms of three main and related domains: ‘folk narrative’ (or oral literature), ‘folk belief’ (or popular religion) and ‘material folk culture.’ These will be examined with special emphasis placed on narrative. Representative oral narrative texts from the Gaelic tradition will be studied in translation.
Archaeology of Ireland
This course examines the cultural and historical trajectory of the archaeology of Ireland through a series of richly illustrated lectures, organized chronologically, that trace cultural, social, and technological developments from the Neolithic through the Viking period. Integrated with this lecture series, and running concurrently on alternate days, will be a series of seminar and discussion classes focused upon a number of anthropological and archaeological issues related to each of these periods of time. This includes the emergence of the unique systems of communities, and the development of systems of metallurgy in the Iron Age. Other classes will touch upon the topics of
regionalism and identity and contact at different periods of time, mortuary practices and ritual, and discussion of village life in ring forts during the Bronze Age.
Storied Landscapes from Ireland to Chicago: Walking, Talking and Writing Place from the Middle Ages
Stories from and about Ireland are filled with details, descriptions and events that pull us into Ireland and help us imaginatively experience important Irish places as pilgrims, high-status warrior-queens and heroes, poets and artists, scholars and sailors, tourists and travel-writers. How can words be used to convincingly map out and entice us to enter into new and often fantastic verbal geographies? In this class, we will think about how narratives are constructed, and how stories gain power by being anchored in highly detailed and evocative depictions of specific places, both real and imagined. We will examine verbal and visual stories, from medieval manuscripts like the Book of Kells, tales of Queen Medb, Cú Chulainn and St. Patrick as they travel around Ireland (Táin Bó Cúailnge, Acallam na Senórach, Tochmarc Emire); place-lore dindshenchas poetry from medieval and modern authors; urban landscapes through contemporary animated film (The Song of the Sea), architectural narratives (political murals from Northern Ireland) and science-fiction (Kevin Barry’s apocalyptic City of Bohune). We then cross the Atlantic to consider how Irish immigrants created new Irish-American spaces. Looking at the massive 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and its nostalgiac Irish Villages, and Old St. Pat’s Church decorated by Gus O’Shaughnessy of Notre Dame fame, we contemplate how Irish immigrants used narratives and images of Ireland to forge new storied landscapes in America.
The Irish in their Own Words: Personal and Collective Identities in Ireland
What does it mean to be “Irish”? How do the Irish define themselves in the modern era and why? How is “Irishness” developed in response to violent imposition, radical dislocation and societal rupture? Medieval Ireland boasted the oldest literary tradition in Europe outside the classical world of Greece and Rome and yet its inhabitants were described by Gerald of Wales, a writer of that time, as “a truly barbarous people” a filthy people, wallowing in vice? It was the type of description that was to remain current in English accounts of Ireland for centuries; it was reinforced when Ireland, unlike England, remained largely Catholic during the Protestant Reformation and formed the basis for the anti-Irish sentiment that characterized much of the early immigrant experience in the United States and elsewhere. What provokes such a characterization and how do a people so affronted and degraded respond to such defamation? This course will examine the dynamic and contentious formation of individual and collective identities through literature, language and history in the period 1600-1900 in Ireland. This period sees the establishment and consolidation of English (or later British) rule over the country and is therefore a time of cumulative crisis for the Irish. We will read closely a rich, diverse selection of both prose and poetry representing various facets of this crisis and of Irish responses to them. The material provides dramatic contrasts and comparisons for those who have already studied some Anglo-Irish literature and it will also be of interest to students of Irish history and culture. The texts that we read will also be placed in their wider European and global
contexts by considering work by scholars in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, history, psychology and sociology on various aspects of the formation of social, cultural and national consciousness. In particular, we will examine cutting edge work on the interface between language,
anthropology and identity in order to deepen our understanding of the literature and its contexts. To that end, within the framework of those texts, we will study the development of a number of words relating to concepts such as heritage, nationhood, freedom and civility to establish the affiliations between these concepts and the often traumatic changes that beset the culture in which they played a defining role. We will use our examination of the Irish experience to think about the following more general questions. How are personal and collective, including national, identities formed? Do identities formed when people think they are under attack differ from other identities? Are all national identities formed in opposition? How can we gain perspective on deeply felt identities so as to make them an object of dispassionate analysis? All materials, many of which were originally written in Irish, will be read in English and no previous knowledge of Irish is required.
Tudor England: Politics and Honor
Early Modern Ireland
This course offers new perspectives on the struggle for mastery in Ireland from 1470 to 1660. Though keeping in mind the traditional view of the “English reconquest” (decades of rebellion, dispossession, and plantation until, in the aftermath of Cromwell, all Ireland was finally subjected to English rule) this course will take a different approach. By investigating a range of primary sources from the period, students will explore the interactions between the three different models of conquest: (1) descendants of the old Norman colonists (e.g., Fitzgeralds and Butlers) seeking to finish the job; (2) Tudor reform (inspired by Renaissance optimism), by which the English attempted to establish rule by means of legal, social, and cultural assimilation; and (3) unabashed exploitation by English private entrepreneurs on the make. The most important effect of these “contending conquests” was the way they shaped the diverse responses of the native Irish, ranging from accommodation and assimilation to outright rebellion and national war.
Irish Studies Graduate Pro Seminar
Irish Studies Pro Seminar is built around the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies semester-long Irish Studies Seminar events (irishstudies.nd.edu). Students will attend a program of internationally recognized scholars, artists, musicians and politicians addressing the Institute this semester for one hour of class credit. This course must be taken twice as part of the requirements for a graduate minor in Irish Studies.