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Dr. Keelan Harkin, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Irish Studies

Dr. Keelan Harkin, PhD
Office: S-H 1001.06  
Henry F. Hall Building,
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 8602
Availability: From 11am to 1pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.


Keelan researches the intersections of literature, the law, and the state. He holds an MA in English literature and Cultural Studies from McMaster University and a PhD in English literature from McGill University. In his first book project, Keelan explores how and why Irish writers took up the novel to examine issues of citizenship and constitutionality in Ireland. Focusing specifically on literary form, his current research looks at how Irish novelists working in the 1930s attempted to negotiate new horizons for the independent Irish state amidst ongoing political uncertainty in Ireland and in Europe. He is especially keen to study marginalised, excluded, or forgotten writers. Keelan has previously taught at Concordia University and McGill University and was appointed as Assistant Professor of Irish Literature in 2022. 

Teaching and Research Interests

Keelan is interested in fostering curiosity through a discussion-oriented classroom. His teaching interests include the Anglophone Irish novels, the short story, literature and the law, Irish literature and international politics, the Irish literary revival, Irish modernism, and contemporary Irish writing. Students in these classes can expect to think about the relationship between literary forms and larger questions about the social, political, and historical developments of the Irish nation.

Keelan is open to supervising graduate students at the MA and PhD level in any area of Irish literature from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. He is especially keen on supervising topics that engage legal theory, feminist theory, theories of modernity, and narrative theories.

His current research focuses on the novel in 1930s Ireland. Writers from across a broad spectrum of social and political associations shared a common anxiety for the future of the nation. How did the novel allow writers to express this anxiety towards the direction of the Irish Free State? How did it relate or differ from anxieties of the future experienced by writers from Britain and Continental Europe? This research asks how, amidst uncertain futures, the novel allowed a variety of Irish writers to imagine political horizons both inside and outside Ireland. 

Teaching activities

Courses Taught

IRST 209A/ENGL 298A “Highlights of Irish Literature”

ENGL 243AA “Satire”

IRST 398A/ENGL 356A “The Irish Short Story Tradition”

IRST 398D/ENGL 353A “Contemporary Irish Literature”

IRST 344A/PERC 398/ENGL 398H “Classics of Irish Theatre”

IRST 498A/ENGL 498D “The Modern Irish Novel”

IRST 398AA/ENGL 357AA “The Irish Literary Revival”

Research activities

Recent Research Presentations

        “The Beast Roared In: The Aesthetics of Catholic Fascism in Mary Manning’s Mount Venus.” International Association for Studies in Irish Literature. University Limerick, Ireland. July 2022.

        “Big Houses, Disnarrated Citizens.” American Conference for Irish Studies. University of Georgia / Online. June 2022.

        “Revelation and Trepidation: Mary Manning’s Mount Venus and the Literary Response to the Eucharistic Congress.” When ‘all of Christendom had come’: The Dublin Eucharistic Congress –– Ninety Years On. Symposium in the School of History. Queen’s University, Belfast, 21 February 2022.

        “Irish Women, Futurity, and the Novel in 1930s Ireland.” Canadian Association of Irish Studies. University of Saskatchewan / Online. June 2021.

        “Clairvoyant Negotiations: Dorothy Macardle’s Novels of Diplomacy.” American Conference of Irish Studies. Ulster University, Derry UK / Online. June 2021.

        “Norah Hoult’s Holy Ireland and the Shape of Faith to Come.” Canadian Association of Irish Studies. Concordia University, Montreal, QC. May 2019.

        “From Molly to Caithleen: Subjectivity and Joyce’s Feminist Afterlife in the Novels of Edna O’Brien.” MLA. Chicago, IL. January 2019.

        “Memory, Structure, and the Performance of Citizenship in Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls.” Canadian Association of Irish Studies. Université Laval, Quebec, QC. June 2018.

        “The Politics of Reliability in Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors.” Narrative Conference. McGill University, Montreal, QC. March 2018.

        “Fatal Fantasies and the Loss of Past Futures in Kate O’Brien’s The Ante-Room.” The Space Between Conference. University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. May 2017.

        “Ideal Fragments: Citizenship and Pointless Debate in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds.” International Association for the Study of Irish Literature. University College Cork, Ireland. July 2016.

        “Disillusioned Memories: Observation as Critique in Seán O’Faoláin’s Midsummer Night Madness and Other Stories,” Canadian Association for Irish Studies. Banff, AB. May 2016.



        “An Uncertain Event: The Politics of Reliability in Anne Enright’s The Gathering.” Textual Practice 35.1 (2021): 57-72. Published Online 6 August 2019.

        “‘I Am of Them’: Tom O’Flaherty’s Socialist Fictions and the Irish Free State.Irish University Review 50.2 (Autumn 2020): 373-387.

        “Kate O’Brien’s The Ante-Room and the Ghosts of Past Futures.” New Hibernia Review 23.2 (2019): 17-30.

Book Reviews

        Review of Irish Modernisms: Gaps, Conjectures, Possibilities, edited by Paul Fagan, John Greaney, and Tamara Radak, forthcoming.

        Review of Flann O’Brien: Gallows Humour, edited by Ruben Borg and Paul Fagan, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, forthcoming.

        Review of Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature: The anxiety of transmission and the dynamics of renewal by Fionntán de Brún. The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 43 (2020): pp. 231-233.

        “Flann O’Brien: Problems with Authority,” review of Flann O’Brien: Problems with Authority edited by Ruben Borg, Paul Fagan and John McCourt. The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 42 (2019): 254-257.

        Review of Joyce and the Law edited by Jonathan Goldman. Irish Studies Review 27.2 (2019): 290-292.

        Review of The Selected Essays of Sean O’Faolain edited by Brad Kent. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 45.4 (2019): 275-268.

        “Symptoms, Care, and Power,” review of The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. BREAC: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies (2018):


        Interview with Gender, Migration, and Madness Research Project. “Research Radar – Keelan Harkin.”, 26 August 2021.

        “Publishing the Irish Short Story: An Interview with Claire Hennessy of
Banshee Lit,” recorded interview for IRST 398C “The Irish Short Story Tradition,” Fall 2020 Semester.

        Interview with Colleen Wilcox, “The Keough-Naughton Institute Library         Research Award in Irish Studies welcomes first recipient to campus,”         Notre Dame International, March 2019

Participation activities

Conference Organisation

        Faculty Supervisor, “Forgotten Pasts and Social Futures: The Fourth Annual Concordia Graduate Conference in Irish Studies,” Concordia Irish Studies Graduate Conference, Concordia University. February 2020.

        Co-Organizer, “(Un)restrained Intentions: Translation and Adaptation in Literature and Culture,” McGill English Graduate Conference, McGill University. February 2016.

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