Current course offerings
Courses offered in Winter 2018
The Irish in Canada / IRST 210 / HIST 212 (3 credits)
Prof. Jane McGaughey / Tuesday, Thursday 10:15-11:30
Four million Canadians claim Irish ancestry today. Arriving in Newfoundland as early as 1536 and migrating across the country as the agricultural and industrial frontier moved west, the Irish attained a numerical strength second only to French-Canadians by the time Canadian Confederation was passed in 1867. By then, Quebec had a higher proportion of Irish-born residents than anywhere else in North America. From Canadian politics and economics, to culture and religion, the trails and footprints of the Irish are everywhere to behold - in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and the Canadian West. While this course will focus on the micro histories of the Irish in each of the Canadian provinces, special emphasis will be given to key demographic movements and historic events that highlight the contribution of the Irish to Canadian history - the migration of Irish ‘wintermen’ to Newfoundland, Irish mercantile entrepreneurs in Quebec, the Great Famine, Irish rural pioneers in New Brunswick and Ontario, Irish working classes in urban Canada.
Celts to Tudors: History of Early and Mediaeval Ireland / IRST 298 A / HIST 298 A
Prof. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin / Wednesday 13:15-16:00
Learn about Early Irish and Mediaeval archaeology, protohistory and history from Mesolithic and Neolithic times, through the Celtic, Early Christian, Viking and Norman eras up to the Tudor conquest that radically altered the destiny of Gaelic Ireland
Research Methods in Irish Studies / IRST 300 (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Thursday 13:15-16:00
Intended for students who have completed some previous coursework in Irish Studies, this small seminar-style course will sharpen your understanding of Irish Studies as a cutting-edge interdisciplinary field that addresses a host of compelling questions about Irish history, culture, identity, memory, and politics, to name a few. Additionally, this course is designed to provide students with critical tools and skills necessary for cross-disciplinary research, analysis, synthesis and forms of presentation – written, oral, and visual – that can be of enormous benefit beyond Irish Studies. Course approaches and activities will include: readings and discussions around some of the key debates that have shaped Irish Studies; guest presentations by Irish Studies faculty that highlight the methods of research and analysis used in their own areas of study; research activities and projects that combine reading and research across two or more disciplines; and training in the rudiments of scholarly research – from effective library research and field work, to research project development, to essay writing or other research outcomes.
Contemporary Irish Theatre / IRST 347 AA / PERC 398 AA (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Thursday 18:00-20:15
This course offers a panorama of Ireland’s vibrant contemporary theatre landscape. It puts the exciting experimental developments of recent years under the spotlight, engaging with Irish drama that blurs the line between reality and fiction, that immerses its audiences in morally challenging worlds, and that pushes the boundaries of theatre as a medium. From the collectively devised works of Charabanc to Verbatim plays about the Northern Irish troubles, from activist theatre to street theatre, this course explores what happens when theatremakers step outside of conventional spaces and working methods to make art for our mediatized, technologized and globalized era.
Irish Film Studies / IRST 398 D / FMST 398 A (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O'Toole / Tuesday 18:00-22:00
This course takes an Irish filmic stereotype as its start and end point, while the weeks in-between delve into nuances of Irish history, politics, sexuality and culture. Through analysis of a set feature each week, we will explore how film consistently tackles the thornier dimensions of Irish life. The course examines the oeuvres of key Irish directors, including Neil Jordan, Pat Murphy and Jim Sheridan. Engaging with – among other themes – Ireland’s treatment of its Travelling Community, the Northern Irish ‘Troubles,’ and Dublin’s gangland culture, it offers students images of Ireland both picturesque and gritty, both mythologized and human.
Nationalism and Unionism in Scotland and Ireland / IRST 398E / HIST 398 C (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Monday 13:15-16:00
This course compares the ‘awkward marriage’ of Scotland and England/Wales at the beginning of the eighteenth century with the even more inauspicious union of Ireland and ‘Great Britain’ a century later. For both Scotland and Ireland we’ll examine political and economic conditions on the eve of union; contemporary arguments for and against incorporation; the social configurations of pro- and anti-union opinion; how and why the union treaties were passed; and the political, social and cultural consequences of an increasingly ‘United Kingdom.’ Among the big questions to be explored in the course: Did a distinct Scottish national identity survive union with England? Similarly, what were union’s implications for English national identity? Why did Anglo-Scottish Union prove to be so durable and, by many measures, successful, while Ireland’s fraught relationship to Britain under the union ended dramatically in revolution, partition, and independence? What is the historical meaning of the longstanding tension between unionism and nationalism in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in light of late twentieth-century British decolonization and the breakup of the U.K. heralded by more recent developments such as post-Troubles momentum towards a united Ireland; Scottish independence referenda; and the momentous ‘Brexit’ vote?
Intercultural Ireland: Film, Theatre & TV / IRST 398 F / ANTH 398 D / SOCI 398 D / FMST 398 D / PERC 398 C
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Monday, Wednesday 16:15-17:30
At the turn of the 21st Century, Ireland experienced an unprecedented economic boom. Prosperity attracted inward migration, and the island rapidly transformed from a homogenous to a multicultural nation. This course will examine the Theatre, Film and TV that arose from this unique and fascinating socio-political situation. We’ll engage theoretically with discourses of race, nation, multiculturalism, postcolonialism and globalization. We’ll analyse – amongst other case studies – the race politics of John Michael McDonagh’s action comedy The Guard; representations of Ireland’s Travelling Community in the Reality TV Series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding; and the provocative work of Arambe, Ireland’s first African theatre company.
Rebellions in Ireland & the Canadas / IRST 412 / HIST 498 A / HIST 670 A
Prof. Jane McGaughey / Wednesday 10:15-13:00
This seminar explores the traditions of rebellion that strikingly marked the histories of Ireland and Canada. The Irish Rising of 1798 and the 1837-38 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada involved class struggles, religious tensions, and attempts to define the democratic futures of both nations. Through a variety of readings about the rebellions, students explore their similarities and differences, consider their respective historiographical controversies, investigate the transatlantic links that existed between Irish and Canadian insurrectionists, and reflect upon each rebellion’s historical legacy.
Complete list of Irish Studies courses
For an entire list of possible Irish Studies courses, please view our list of other possible course offerings.
Take a course as an elective
Note: Many Irish Studies courses are cross-listed with other departments and can be taken as electives in programs in those departments with Academic Advisor approval. These departments include English, History, Theatre, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, and Theological Studies.