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Michael Kenneally, PhD

Professor, School of Irish Studies

Michael Kenneally, Ph.D. (University of Toronto) is a specialist in modern and contemporary Irish literature, as well as nineteenth-century writing by Irish-Canadian immigrants. He is particularly interested in fictional forms including Irish novels, short stories, and life-writing texts such as memoirs, diaries and letters. He is the author of Sean O’Casey and the Art of Autobiography, and has published articles on autobiographical dimensions of writers such as W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and George Moore. He has edited several collections of essays, including Irish Literature and Culture: Cultural Contexts; Literary Idioms in Contemporary Irish Literature; and Poetry in Contemporary Irish Literature.  He is also interested in the new literatures in English and has co-hosted several conferences and co-edited three volumes of essays on this subject. He is the co-editor, with Wolfgang Zach of Studies in English and Comparative Literature, (24 titles to date) and is a former editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. He holds honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland and the University of Innsbruck (Austria), and in 2019, along with his wife Professor Rhona Richman Kenneally, received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for their roles in establishing Irish Studies at Concordia University

Teaching activities


Professor Kenneally teaches courses on Contemporary Irish Literature; The Irish Short Story Tradition; Exile, Memory and Irish Writing; Introduction to Canadian Irish Studies; The Irish Literary Revival; and James Joyce. 

Thesis supervision

As holder of the Research Chair in Canadian Irish Studies and Principal of the School, Professor Kenneally welcomes graduate students within the broad subject of Irish Studies, and in Irish and Irish-Canadian writing, as well as the new literatures in English.

Research activities

Current research

Kenneally’s current SSHRC-funded research project examines how nineteenth-century Irish immigrants to Canada are represented in life-writing and fiction (written by themselves or by others), as they engage with notions of home and exile, re-conceptualise affiliations with place and nation, and inscribe the processes of emigration, settlement and self-transformation in Canada.  He is also the principal Canadian investigator—along with Margaret Kelleher (UCD), the principal Irish investigator—of a multidisciplinary team of international scholars studying the impact of memory, identity and representations of the past in Ireland and Quebec.  This project is jointly funded by the Fonds québécois de la  recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) and the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS).  His specific interest within this larger project is how the Quebec Rebellion of 1837 has been represented and re-configured in textual form by historian Jan Henry Morgan.

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