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Current course offerings

Courses offered in Winter 2017


The Irish in Canada / IRST 210 / HIST 212 (3 credits)
Prof. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin / 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.

Research Methods in Irish Studies / IRST 300 (3 credits)
Prof. Susan Cahill / Tuesday 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.

The Great Irish Famine / IRST 312 / HIST 330 (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Tuesday 13:15-16:00
Remembered in folk memory as ‘An Gorta Mór’ or ‘The Great Hunger’, the Irish Famine of 1845-1850 was a humanitarian, ecological, social, and cultural catastrophe. Within a few years, disease and starvation claimed well over a million people. Learn about and participate in the historiographical debates, political controversies, and ethical challenges that the Great Famine continues to raise a century and a half later.

Irish Film Studies / IRST 398E / FMST 398A (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O'Toole / Wednesday 13:15-17:15
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.

James Joyce / IRST 398 F / ENGL 355 A (3 credits)
Prof. Andre Furlani / Monday, Wednesday 16:15-17:30
The course will serve as an introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses, and will pay particular attention to the social, cultural and political forces in Ireland and beyond which shaped his writing. Because of the limited time available, this course will deal with the sections of the novel in different ways; some will be discussed in detail in class, others will be reported on by groups. This course will examine Ulysses in its literary, cultural, historical and mythical contexts, and do a close textual analysis of representative sections so that a general appreciation of the novel can be achieved. Central to the course will be discussion of Joyce as a modernist whose fiction explores a range of narrative, stylistic and formal experiments. By the end of the course, students should have a solid sense of Joyce’s accomplishments in this work, and should feel competent to re-examine his works with confidence and authority.

Intro to Irish Material Culture / IRST 398G / DART 398B (3 credits)
Prof. Rhona Richman Kenneally / Thursday 12:30-15:15
A St. Patrick’s day poster of a leprechaun and shamrocks, an Aran sweater, a pebble taken from the Cliffs of Moher, a recipe for Dublin prawns, the Book of Kells—all have a compelling story to tell. They might be made in Ireland, designed by Irish makers, or possess other Irish connotations; be one-off or mass produced; ephemeral or durable; designed for practical or leisure purposes; precious or not; have historical significance or not; be instantly recognizable or not. What they have in common, is that each both reflects and stimulates the identities, experiences, beliefs, and aspirations of people in Ireland or the Diaspora. This course will employ design and material culture studies to explore the significance of a range of Irish objects both historic and contemporary. Students will be encouraged to make direct contact with Irish objects as designed physical entities, and contemplate the agency of those “things” as markers and generators of interaction and affiliation.

Politics of Northern Ireland / IRST 398H / POLI 313 (3 credits)
Prof. James Kelly / Monday, Wednesday 10:15-11:30
As a divided society organized along an ethno-religious cleavage, this course considers the governance and political institutions of Northern Ireland through three distinct state structures: the Stormont Parliament and majoritariansim, 1921-72; Westminster and direct rule, 1972-1998; and the Northern Ireland Assembly and power sharing, 1998-present. Focusing principally on the political and governmental institutions of Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement enacted as the Northern Ireland Act 1998, this course considers the Unionist/Nationalist cleavage and how the institutional and societal structures of Northern Ireland have attempted to reflect and accommodate this pivotal societal division.

The Irish Literary Revival / IRST 398 J / ENGL 357 J (3 credits)
Prof. Susan Cahill / Monday, Wednesday 11:45-13:00
This course will explore how Irish culture at the beginning of the twentieth century underwent a profound change, producing in W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge some of the most influential writers of their time. The period was one of the most intense, creative and contentious in Irish cultural history, while its meanings and legacy are still the subject of intense debate. Meanwhile, James Joyce began to emerge as a modernist writer who did not believe in the aims of the revivalists. The important of the Literary Revival is still hotly debated: What does it mean to ‘revive’ a literature and language? Was the Revival a deadening if elegant exercise in cultural nostalgia or, as some scholars now argue, a unique and vital instance of colonial modernism? This course will explore such issues by examining some of the most important literary texts of the twentieth century.

History & Memory in Ireland / IRST 498A / HIST 498B / HIST 670B (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Monday 13:15-16:00
This seminar explores the complex, divisive, and politically-charged relationship between history and memory in modern Ireland in the contexts of politics, historiography, commemoration practices, popular culture, and the arts. Through readings taken from secondary and primary sources, students will become familiar with the legacies of a number of key traumatic events in modern Irish history, such as the 1641 Rebellion; the Williamite War; the 1798 Rising; the Great Famine; the War World-One era Irish Revolution; and the recent Northern Irish ‘Troubles.’ Drawing on the insights offered by the interdisciplinary field of ‘memory studies,’ we will explore the complex interaction between past and present and memory and forgetting by tracing the ways these events have been historicized, represented, narrated, revised, commemorated, and otherwise remembered (and silenced) over time by nationalists, unionists, emigrants, ‘exiles’ and other ‘communities of memory’ in Ireland and among the Irish Diaspora.

For further information or registration assistance contact Matina Skalkogiannis at 514 848-2424, ext. 8711 or email:

Complete list of Irish Studies courses

For an entire list of possible Irish Studies courses, please view our list of other possible course offerings

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