Dr. Colleen Taylor in her National Endowment for the Humanities Lecture: "The Good in Pigs: New Materialism and Colonial Ireland"


Location: Room 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls


Dr. Colleen Taylor specializes in eighteenth-century Irish literature, culture, and the new materialisms. A National Endowment for the Humanities fellow for the 2021-2022 academic year, her research examines the development of Irish literature by focusing on the agency of objects both in and outside of the text. 

In this lecture to cap her year as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, Dr. Taylor has chosen the title "The Good in Pigs: New Materialism and Colonial Ireland." The title is taken from a chapter in her monograph manuscript, which is tentatively titled Irish Materialisms: The Nonhuman and the Making of Colonial Ireland, 1690-1830.

In her research, Dr. Taylor examines how we can re-read and reframe Irish culture under colonialism by looking at the details and agency of materiality, from a coin to linen thread, to a mud cabin and a pig. Her work offers a new picture of Irish colonial culture and character that is creative, resistant, and holds more depth than we have typically recognized. Irish matter matters not only as the infrastructure of colonial policy and novelistic subjectivity, but also because it offers a more expansive picture of a lost colonial past.

Three panelists will comment on Dr. Taylor's work following her presentation:

Professor Rebecca Barr's (Cambridge University) work specializes in gender and sexuality in eighteenth-century fiction. She is University Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexualities at Jesus College, Cambridge and has contributed to a number of publications, including Irish Literature in Transition (Cambridge UP). She co-edited the collection, Ireland and Masculinities in History (Palgrave Macmillan).

Professor Timothy LeCain (Montana State University) is a Professor of History specializing in environmental history, the history of technology, animal studies, and "neo-materialism." His most recent book is: The Matter of History: How Things Create the Past (Cambridge UP). 

Professor Jess Keiser (Tufts University) researches seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, history of science, and theory of the novel. His book is Nervous Fictions: Literary Form and Enlightenment Origins of Neuroscience (UVa Press).



Read more about Dr. Taylor at her National Endowment for the Humanities page.

Two images that will be used in Dr. Taylor's talk:


Ireland Halfpenny
Irish half-penny


John Miles Gloucester Old Spot 1834
John Miles Gloucester, "Old Spot," 1834