Concordia University

Current course offerings

Courses offered in Fall 2018

Introduction to Canadian Irish Studies / IRST 203 AA (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Thursday 18:00 – 20:15
This course is a multidisciplinary introduction to the field of Canadian Irish Studies, a discipline that embraces a broad range of historical and contemporary issues as they have manifested themselves on the island of Ireland, in Canada and throughout the world. In particular, questions related to individual and national identities in the context of history, language, culture, landscape, and religion are explored and debated.

The Irish in Montreal
/ IRST 205 A / HIST 213 (3 credits)
Raymond Jess / Monday, Wednesday 10:15 – 11:30
Drawing on a diversity of historiographical materials, this interdisciplinary course examines the story of the Irish in Canada with a particular emphasis on Quebec, from the French colonial period through the City of Montreal's golden era of mercantile prominence in the mid-19th century to the break-up of its older Irish neighbourhoods a century afterwards. Starting with the demographics of Irish immigration and settlement, it devotes special attention to social and cultural relations between the Irish and other ethnic groups.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for HIST 213 or for this topic under a HIST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

Highlights of Irish Literature
/ IRST 209 A /ENGL 298 A (3 credits)
Prof. Clíona Ó Gallchoir / Monday, Wednesday 11:45 – 13:00
Ireland is home to some of the greatest and most influential writers in the world. With four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney), Ireland boasts a disproportionally large number of influential writers. Such writers have been instrumental in the development of literary movements and genres such as romanticism, realism, modernism, postmodernism, avant-garde theatre, satire, and the gothic, and have contributed to innovating the novel and poetic forms. This course introduces students to some of the best-known and influential Irish texts, placing them in their cultural and literary backgrounds and exploring their resonances through to the present day. Texts will include such classics as Gulliver’s Travels and Dracula, plays by Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde, fiction by Elizabeth Bowen and Maeve Brennan as well as the innovations of more contemporary writers such as Kevin Barry and Anne Enright.

History of Ireland / IRST 211 A / HIST 211 (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Tuesday, Thursday 14:45 – 16:00
After establishing some broader historical context, this survey course traces modern Irish history in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Special attention is given to the development of Irish nationalism and relations with Great Britain.

Irish Traditional Music: A Global Soundscape / IRST 270 A / HIST 298 A / ANTH 298 B (3 credits)
Prof. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin / Monday, Wednesday 13:15 – 14:30
Covering a tapestry of cultural history from the ancient Celts to modern mega shows like Riverdance, this multidisciplinary course focuses on Irish traditional music performed in Ireland, as well as throughout the world. Drawing on historiographical and ethnomusicological theory, the course uses recordings and documentary films to explore how globalization has interfaced with this traditional genre to create a thriving transnational arena of performance and creativity.

The Irish Revolution, 1913-1923 / IRST 316 A / HIST 398 C (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Tuesday, Thursday 10:15 – 11:30
This course explores the political, military, social, and cultural dimensions of the turbulent period in Irish history that dissolved over a century of Anglo-Irish Union and established two new states. The course necessarily focuses on Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army's efforts to achieve independence from Britain, but considerable attention is also given to Ulster Unionist resistance to separatism. Additionally, other forces and dynamics that shaped this seminal period are explored, such as sectarian violence in Northern Ireland; conflict between rival nationalist factions in the south; labour and socialist agitations; agrarian discontents; and the women's suffrage and feminist movements.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a HIST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

Classics of Irish Theatre / IRST 344 A / ENGL 398 B / PERC 398 B (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Monday, Wednesday 16:15 – 17:30
This course traces a colourful history from the mid-19th century to the present, exploring, amongst other works, the melodramas of Dionysius Boucicault; the pithy plays of Oscar Wilde; the arguably propagandistic work of WB Yeats and Augusta Gregory; the existentialism of Samuel Beckett; the Hiberno-Greek tragedies of Marina Carr; and the Tarantino inspired comedies of Martin McDonagh. Illuminating the politics – national, postcolonial, gendered and global – present in Irish theatre, this course shows that when theatre holds a mirror up to the Irish nation, a wider world is reflected back.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under an IRST, PERC or THEA 398 number may not take this course for credit.

Contemporary Irish Literature / IRST 398 A / ENGL 353 A (3 credits)
Prof. Clíona Ó Gallchoir / Tuesday, Thursday 11:45 – 13:00
This course examines a selection of Irish literary texts reflecting the social, economic, political, and cultural transformations in both the North and the South, written since 1960 by writers such as Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Deirdre Madden, Eavan Boland, Dermot Bolger, Patrick McCabe, John McGahern, and Hugo Hamilton.
Students who have taken ENGL 353 or this topic under an IRST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

James Joyce / IRST 398 B / ENGL 355 A (3 credits)
Prof. Susan Cahill / Tuesday, Thursday 13:15 – 14:30
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.

Courses offered in Fall 2018/Winter 2019

The Irish Language and Culture I / IRST 233 (6 credits)
Emer Nic Labhraí / Monday, Wednesday 18:15 – 19:30
The aim of this course is to provide students with a general and exciting introduction to Irish linguistic and cultural practices of contemporary Irish society. It will explore the principles of the Irish language as encountered in everyday life in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas of the West of Ireland and as taught in the many Gaelscoileana (Irish language schools) throughout the country. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the unique manifestations of the language expressed in song, poetry narratives, and other cultural traditions so that they can become familiar with the linguistic principles found in oral practices. The course will draw on a wide range of cultural forms (texts, audio, digital, visual) as a means of facilitating the process by which students can develop the basic ability to access the rich cultural traditions embodied in the Irish language. Students should have a keen interest in Irish culture and language.

The Irish Language and Culture II / IRST 333 (6 credits)
Emer Nic Labhraí / Tuesday 18:00 – 20:15
Prerequisite: IRST 233, MIRI 290, or permission of the department.
This six-credit course is for those who have a basic understanding of the Irish language or who have taken the Introduction to the Irish Language and Culture course. The course will provide students with a unique opportunity to enhance improve and develop the linguistic skills that they have already developed in the language. It will draw on student’s previous knowledge of the language to encourage them to improve their skills in both linguistic and cultural practices as encountered in everyday life in contemporary Ireland. The course will draw on a wide range of linguistic forms (texts, audio, digital, visual) as a means of facilitating the process by which students can develop the ability to access the rich cultural traditions embodied in the Irish language.

Courses offered in Winter 2019

The Irish in Canada / IRST 210 A / HIST 212 A (3 credits)
Kate Bevan-Baker / Monday, Wednesday 11:45 – 13:00
From 17th-century fishermen and traders arriving in Newfoundland to displaced victims of the Famine in the 19th century, to contemporary immigrants from Ireland, the Irish have had a presence in all parts of Canada from the earliest days of settlement. This course examines the emigration and settlement patterns of Irish immigrants in the various regions of Canada across a period of three centuries, paying particular attention to their role in the social, economic, political, cultural, and educational development of Canadian society. The course explores the various strategies by which Irish immigrants both adapted to and transformed the particular host society in which they found themselves, and looks at other immigrant communities as a means of understanding the special contribution of the Irish to Canada.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for HIST 212 or for this topic under a HIST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

Celtic Christianity
/ IRST 228 / THEO 228 (3 credits)
Offered online through eConcordia
This course follows a historical line to show the connections of the pre­Christian Celtic beliefs with the early Christian Church of Celtic countries. It focuses on the spirituality of the Celtic people in the context of Celtic history and culture. This course is offered entirely online through eConcordia. Students enrolling in this course should have off-campus access to a computer with reliable internet connectivity. To access your online course visit the eConcordia website at
Please contact eConcordia at 514-848-8770 or 1-888-361-4949 if you have any questions regarding the online section of this course.

Celts to Tudors: History of Early and Mediaeval Ireland
/ IRST 298 A – HIST 298 A (3 credits)
Prof. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin / Tuesday, Thursday 11:45 – 13:00
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.

Independent Ireland from the Civil War to the Celtic Tiger
/ IRST 314 A / HIST 398 E (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Monday, Wednesday 10:15 – 11:30
This course examines political, social and cultural life in the post-revolution southern Irish state formed by the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) and Irish Civil War. Key themes include state formation and post-civil war politics; Fianna Fáil and “the republicanization” of society; church and state; Irish neutrality and Anglo-Irish relations; the political and social character of “De Valera’s Ireland”; post-war economic and social change; external relations and influences; the Republic’s responses to Northern Ireland and the post-1968 Troubles; globalization and the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger economy.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a HIST or IRST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

Irish Children’s and Young Adult Literature
/ IRST 354 AA / ENGL 398 AA (3 credits)
Prof. Susan Cahill / Tuesday 18:00 – 20:15
This course examines the figure of the child and the teenager in Irish culture through an exploration of Irish children’s literature, texts written for adults such as Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, and Irish films that focus on childhood. By focusing on a variety of genres, Irish childhood is explored from a range of perspectives such as the importance of the mythological and fantastic tradition on conceptions of the child and childhood, the significance of place and landscape, the gendering of Irish childhood, and the rise of young adult literature, as well as questions of sexuality, ethnicity, globalization, nostalgia, and national identity.

Irish Literary Revival / IRST 398 C / ENGL 357 A (3 credits)
Prof. Susan Cahill / Monday, Wednesday 14:45 – 16:00
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.

Irish Film Studies
/ IRST 398 D / FMST 398 A (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Friday 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.

Intercultural Ireland: Film, Theatre and TV / 
IRST 398 E / ANTH 398 E / SOCI 398 E / FMST 398 B / PERC 398 B
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Tuesday, Thursday 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.

Politics of Northern Ireland
/ IRST 398 F / POLI 313 B (3 credits)
Prof. James Kelly / Monday, Wednesday 13:15 – 14:30
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.

History and Memory in Ireland
/ IRST 498 A / HIST 498 D / HIST 670 D (3 credits)
Prof. Gavin Foster / Tuesday 13:15 – 16:00
This seminar explores the complex and politically-charged relationship between history and memory in modern Ireland in the contexts of politics, popular culture, commemoration practices, and scholarship. Drawing on the insights offered by the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, it explores the interactions between past and present and memory and forgetting by tracing the ways key historical events have been historicized, revised, commemorated, and otherwise remembered (and silenced) over time by nationalists, unionists, ‘exiles’, and other ‘communities of memory’ in Ireland and among the Irish Diaspora. Possible memory case studies include the 1641 Rebellion; the Williamite War; the 1798 Rising; the Great Famine; the First World War and the events of the Irish Revolution; the Northern Irish ‘Troubles”; and Church-State institutional abuse in independent Ireland.

Complete list of Irish Studies courses

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

Back to top

© Concordia University