Reflection: Bríona Nic Dhiarmada
Seamus Deane was one of Ireland’s most influential and accomplished public intellectuals who combined the highest integrity with a steely curiosity underpinned by his native Derry wit and grace. His work within Irish Studies was truly groundbreaking. He broadened what had been a narrow field open perhaps to the charge of ‘legacy studies’ to the winds blowing through critical discourse in the 1980s and '90s and into the second millennium. In his friendship and collaborations with Edward Said and others, Seamus showed the relevance of postcolonial theory in the Irish context. His most lasting legacy, perhaps, lies in his involvement with Field Day both critically and creatively. Alongside the indefatigable Christopher Fox, he founded what is now the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame. Seamus recognized from the beginning the centrality of the Irish language and, with Chris, was responsible for bringing the late Breandán Ó Buachalla to campus to become the first endowed chair for Irish Language and Literature outside of Ireland. Séamus was an engaged and engaging colleague who will be sorely missed. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.
Bríona Nic Dhiarmada is the Thomas J. & Kathleen M. O'Donnell Professor of Irish Studies and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre. She is originator, writer, producer, and executive producer of the award-winning, multi-part documentary series on the Easter Rising, 1916 The Irish Rebellion, and its 86-minute feature version, that have been broadcast and screened internationally beginning in 2016.