This course will use the Irish landscape as a text to explore the evolution of Ireland from the early modern period to the present day. It will be interdisciplinary in focus, with a concentration on the interaction among geography, history and literature. Environmental themes will include vernacular housing, bogs, woodlands and settlement. The course will explore the Irish language dimension embedded in the landscape, ranging from placenames to Irish traditional music. The course will also cover how the Irish landscape has been represented in arts and film. Historical topics examined will include colonialism, landlordism, the Famine, emigration, and the Troubles. Among writers addressed will be Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien, John McGahern, Seamus Heaney and Alannah O'Kelly.
Kevin Whelan, has been a visiting professor at New York University, Boston College and Concordia University. He has lectured in over a dozen countries, and at the Sorbonne, Cambridge, Oxford, Torino, Berkeley, Yale, Dartmouth and Louvain. He has written or edited fifteen books and over one hundred articles on Ireland’s history, geography and culture. These include The Tree of Liberty. Radical-ism, Catholicism and the Construction of Irish Identity 1760-1830 (1996), Fellowship of Freedom: The United Irishmen and the 1798 Rebellion (1998), and the bestselling Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape (1997). Among influential articles are those on ‘An underground gentry?,’ ‘The Republic in the Village,’ ‘The Memories of “The Dead,”’ and ‘The Green Atlantic.’ For many years he directed the annual Irish Seminar, the leading seminar in the field of Irish Studies, whose faculty has included Edward Said, Giovanni Arrighi, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Jacqueline Rose, Homi Bhabha, Fred Jameson and Benedict Anderson, as well as leading figures in Irish Studies such as Elizabeth Cullingford, Emer Nolan, Claire Wills, Marjorie Howes, Siobhán Kilfeather, Máirín Nic Eoin, David Lloyd and Joe Cleary. Among the celebrated writers who have participated are Edna O’Brien, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, John McGahern, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson, Nuala Ó Faoláin and Alice McDermott.
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