Professor Sarah McKibben Wins an NEH Fellowship for her Research on Bardic Poetry of the 16th and 17th Centuries

Author: Mary Hendriksen

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Keough-Naughton Institute Faculty Fellow Sarah McKibben is one of three Notre Dame faculty members to win a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the 2018 award cycle.

Professor McKibben’s research focuses on Irish poets of the 16th and 17th centuries, who composed compelling artistic expressions of praise and warning — as well as satire — in the face of an antagonistic, expanding Tudor-Stuart state.  She has previously won a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in early 2018.

“Whether inveighing against ‘dlígheadh is fhiú aindligheadh’ (‘[English] law that is mere unlawfulness’), urging a patron to defend them ‘ar smacht ríogh’ (‘against the king’s oppression’), warning him not to be ‘meallta’ (‘wooed’) by English tricks, or comically threatening him with ‘sreath iolfháobhair raghlain rann’ (‘many bright blades of eulogistic quatrains’), bardic poets testify to the richness of the poetic tradition in confronting change,” Professor McKibben said. “Their voices cry out to be heard, and this is why I wish to examine the native literary response to colonial transformation.”

Professor McKibben added that she feels honored to have been selected for an NEH Fellowship for her work in Irish/Celtic studies, which is a field rarely selected for national awards in the United States.

“The award will enable me to make a significant contribution to early modern Irish language studies, a field I enjoy teaching regularly here at Notre Dame,” she said.

“We are incredibly proud of these three faculty members who continue Notre Dame’s remarkable success in earning NEH fellowships,” said Sarah A. Mustillo, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “These awards recognize the outstanding research that is happening here across a range of disciplines, the creativity and originality of our scholars as well as the excellent support provided by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts throughout the application process.”

With 65 total awards, scholars in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have received more NEH fellowships than any other private university in the United States since 1999. 

Read the complete article on the Notre Dame News webpage.