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Available Irish Studies courses beginning Winter 2023

November 1, 2022
By School of Irish Studies

For all Concordia students and senior auditors, below is a list of our open courses along with their brief discriptions for which you are most welcome to register. 

Winter 2023 – January 9 to April 17, 2023

What’s that Tune? A Music Appreciation Course in Irish Traditional Music / IRST 298 A (3 credits)
Prof. Kate Bevan-Baker / Tuesday, Thursday 14:45-16:00
Irish traditional music is a defining feature of Irish culture and is appreciated by audiences across the globe. This music appreciation course is dedicated to understanding Irish traditional music performance and performance practices. Throughout the course, students will develop music appreciation skills by examining the repertoire, instruments, playing techniques, and performance practices of this complex genre, which is both ancient and contemporary. Interactive learning and teaching will be emphasized through in-class demonstrations and guest performances. Students will acquire an understanding of Irish traditional repertoire by identifying various tune types and by comparing different versions of the same tune/song. Three critical domains of Irish traditional music will be explored—ethnomusicological, spatial and compositional. The course will emphasize academic and performance aspects of Irish traditional music by critiquing performance contexts and cross-fertilization among performers, teachers, composers, and listeners. Moving beyond the music itself, the course will also explore perspectives such as revival, innovation, and globalization in Irish traditional music, song and dance. No prior knowledge of music is necessary to take this course.

Contemporary Irish Theatre / IRST 347 A / PERC 398 B (3 credits)
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Monday, Wednesday 10:15-11:30
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 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. We’ll study autobiographical plays about Irish transgender experiences; “post-dramatic” mash-ups of Greek Drama; “documentary” or “verbatim” pieces about Ireland’s troubled past; and “site-specific” performances that bring sinister histories lurking in Dublin’s architecture to life.

Irish Traditional Music in Canada: A Cultural History / IRST 373 A / HIST 398 F / SOCI 398 E / ANTH 398 E
Prof. Kate Bevan-Baker / Tuesday, Thursday 10:15-11:30
The cultural history of Irish traditional music in Canada is inextricably linked to a matrix of Irish immigration and settlement that began in the late 1600s and that stretched from Newfoundland to the Yukon, from Hudson Bay to the Great Lakes, evidenced in music played by Irish, French, Scottish, and First Nation communities across Canada today. Exploring the music history of the Irish in the Atlantic provinces, Lower and Upper Canada, and the Western provinces, this course draws on analytical models in history, anthropology, and cultural studies, as well as ethnomusicology and music criticism.

Irish in Latin America / IRST 398 AA / HIST 398 CC (3 credits)
Prof. Margaret Brehony / Thursday 17:45-20:15
Irish adventurers, merchants, missionaries and settlers appear in the history of Latin America since the time of Christopher Columbus. This course on Irish migration to Latin America provides a survey of Irish migrants, their settlement patterns and adaptation in geographically distinct regions from the Caribbean to the Andes of South America. Irish men and women made their mark at every level of society in the Spanish colonies. They could be found at the heart of colonial power and administration and in subsequent anti-colonial struggles and the campaign to abolish slavery. The course explores multiple trajectories through studying, for example, Irish participation in slavery and the slave trade in the Caribbean; European immigration and white colonization strategies in Cuba; early nineteenth-century frontier settlement in Argentina and Brazil; and the wars of independence in Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia.
    Adopting interdisciplinary, transnational and transcultural approaches, students will examine Irish interactions with Indigenous Peoples, the African Diaspora and other Europeans in the Spanish Americas. With a particular focus on social processes of class, race and gender, the course draws on area studies of Ireland, Latin America and the Caribbean to understand the complex and diverse life histories of Irish emigrants and their descendants who contributed to the social and political upheavals and transformations in Latin American history.

Irish Short Story / IRST 398 BB / ENGL 356 BB
Prof. Keelan Harkin / Wednesday 17:45-20:15
With strong connections to the traditions of oral storytelling, the Irish short story has gained international recognition for the complexities of its forms and themes. This course will provide students with an overview of the key formal features of the short story genre while also prompting questions about the “Irish tradition.” What makes a short story Irish? How might a national framework influence the way we read a short story? Students will approach these questions through a wide range of writers, from modernists like James Joyce to contemporary voices like Sally Rooney.  The course will also explore the work of writers such as Frank O’ConnorKevin BarryEimear McBrideColm Tóibín and others.

Irish Literary Revival / IRST 398 D / ENGL 357 A
Prof. Keelan Harkin / Tuesday, Thursday 16:15-17:30
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.

Indigenous Language and National Literature in Ireland / IRST 398 E / ENGL 398 E (3 credits)
Prof. Máirtín Coilféir / Wednesday 11:45-14:30
This course examines the debates on languages, nationalities and cultural authenticity in Ireland from the nineteenth century to the present day. Taking as its focus the contact and conflict between the island’s indigenous language, Irish, and its lingua franca, English, students will explore the many ways in which language can reflect and shape art, politics, culture and identity. With an emphasis on the discourse of indigeneity in Ireland, students will consider in particular the roles of poetry, prose, journalism, oral literature, and the media in sustaining a modern language. By drawing on their own linguistic experiences, especially in the context of Montréal/Québec, students will be expected to augment course discussion on topics such as minoritised languages, bilingualism, government policy, indigenous culture, and the politicisation of speech.

Irish Women in Quebec / IRST 398 F / HIST 398 C
Prof. Jane McGaughey / Thursday 13:15-16:00
It is recommended that students complete IRST 205/HIST 213 or IRST 210/HIST 212 prior to registering for this course.
Women’s experiences of migration and settlement have traditionally been one of the least-studied aspects of the Irish Diaspora.  While great improvements have been made for histories of Irish women in Australia, America, the UK, and New Zealand, Quebec remains something of a mystery in terms of well-known female experiences, particularly outside of Famine-era narratives.  This seminar-style course will survey the histories and historiography of female Irish Quebecers from the 18th century to the early 2000s, including the methods used by historians to learn about Irish women in the province, as well as themes of visibility, discrimination, celebrity, anonymity, motherhood, religion, and sexuality.  Particular attention will be paid to individual Irish women who have made a mark on Quebecois society, as well as gendered legends and stereotypes that have helped to define Irish Quebecers over the decades. 

Intercultural Ireland: Film, Theatre and TV / IRST 398 G / ANTH 398 C / SOCI 398 C / FMST 398 B / PERC 398 C
Prof. Emer O’Toole / Tuesday, Thursday 11:45-13:00
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.

Early Ireland (10,000 BCE to 1014) / IRST 398 H / HIST 398 D (3 credits)
Prof. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin / Monday 11:45-14:30
Humans first set foot in Ireland during the early stone age and continued to leave archaeological and historical evidence of their presence ever since. This course will survey the history and archaeology of pre-Christian and Early Christian Ireland. Focusing on the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, the Iron Age, Early Christian Ireland, and the Viking Invasions, it will devote particular attention to the Brehon laws, ecclesiastical and secular literature, art and architecture, Irish monasticism, Viking cities, and the role Irish scholars played in saving European civilization during the ninth and tenth-centuries. The course will conclude with the rise of the Dál gCais and the heroic figure of Brian Ború, the only political leader to unite the whole island of Ireland under one overlord.


Note: All of these courses will be held in person unless directed by government and public health authorities.


Contact Matina at for more information or registration assistance.

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