Newly minted degree first in Canada

Concordia offers inaugural bachelor's in Canadian Irish Studies
February 6, 2013
By Media Relations

The Government of Quebec has approved a 42-credit major in Canadian Irish studies at Concordia University. As a result, the university will be the first in Canada to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Irish Studies.

Michael Kenneally is principal of Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies. | Photo by David Ward
Michael Kenneally is principal of Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies. | Photo by David Ward

“This is a significant milestone for Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies. It is also the realization of the dream of the Irish community, both here in Montreal and across the country,” says the school’s principal, Michael Kenneally. “We are now unique in Canada in offering a degree that explores Ireland's history and culture along with the rich narrative of the Irish diaspora. This new major is a perfect example of what can be done when members of a strong community work strategically with governments and academic institutions to achieve new goals.”

He emphasizes that the School of Canadian Irish Studies is a good instance of an academic partnership that brings together higher education, governments, and community groups: in this instance, Concordia University, the Government of Quebec, Government of Ireland, and the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation.

A major in Irish studies means more than just learning about the country’s history and traditions. It’s all about taking Ireland as a case study for communities and cultures around the world. Indeed, the program includes a wide range of courses: as well as literature and history, students can enrol in classes in the arts, political science, geography, film, drama, popular culture, economics, women’s studies and the Irish language.

“A degree in Canadian Irish Studies allows students to explore the history and rich culture of Ireland and its diaspora and learn about complex issues related to colonialism, nationalism, war, religion and much more. But it’s also an opportunity to study several disciplines in one degree,, all under the fascinating umbrella of Irish studies,” Kenneally says.

Camille Harrigan and Angela Olaguera made history in January when they became the first students to register for the new major in Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia. They will also become the program’s first graduates in June. From left to right: Michael Kenneally, principal of the School of Canadian Irish Studies, Olaguera, Harrigan and Susan Cahill, assistant professor of Irish Literature. | Photo credit: Joe Dresdner

The program’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach will prepare students for the complexity of the globalized world. Students will also benefit from studying in a small school with a hands-on mentoring environment, within a large university.

While a handful of North American universities offer a degree in Irish studies, Concordia’s is the only school that closely links the examination of contemporary Ireland with its historical importance to Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

Applications for entrance to the major in the 2013-14 academic year are now being accepted.

Related links:
•    Concordia University’s School of Canadian Irish Studies
•    Major in Canadian Irish Studies
•    Michael Kenneally’s Research @ Concordia profile page

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