UNSW puts the 'Global' in Irish Studies

1 Nov 2012

It has been an exciting year of activity and growth in the Global Irish Studies Centre (GISC) at UNSW. GISC scholars continue to raise the profile of Irish Studies in Australia, and inform and enhance the understanding of Ireland and the Irish internationally.

Conference Profile

Professor Rónán McDonald spoke at the American Conference for Irish Studies in New Orleans, and the 2012 Conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (Canada). Rónán has been invited to give keynote lectures at two prestigious conferences. At the English Language and Literature Association of Korea Global Conference 2012 he will present a lecture entitled ‘Home and Away: Form and Affect in Irish Emigrant Letters from Australia’, and he will be joined by a strong contingent from the Centre for the Nineteenth Australasian Irish Studies Conference of the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (ISAANZ) in November. Significant as the pre-eminent annual academic event in Irish Studies in the southern hemisphere. Rónán will deliver a keynote address entitled ‘Rigour or Vigour? Disciplinarity in Irish Studies’ at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Adjunct Fellows Dr Jeff Kildea and Dr Pamela O’Neill, and Adjunct Lecturer Dr Perry McIntyre, will be giving papers, as will newly appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Gemma Clark, and PhD student Miri Jassy.

Our growing global profile in this area is marked by the ISAANZ 2013 conference coming to UNSW, providing a forum for international Irish Studies scholars to gather, and further positioning GISC as a leading research hub in the region. More details to follow in the new year.

New arrivals and achievements

GISC continues to attract high calibre researchers with the addition of Dr Gemma Clark (PhD Oxford University), taking up the Sarah Sharkey Postdoctoral Research Fellowship*, and PhD candidate Lachlan Montgomery, recipient of a prestigious APA scholarship. Lachlan’s research is on the influence of modernist abstract painting in the writings of Samuel Beckett. PhD student Miri Jassy, who was awarded the Sarah Sharkey Top-Up Scholarship*, recently presented her research on Joyce at the International James Joyce Symposium in Dublin.

GISC Affiliate, and Senior Lecturer in Humanities, Dr Lisa Ford, has been honoured with the Max Crawford Medal, for enriching the cultural life of Australia through her latest publication, on 'settler sovereignty' in Australia and North America. We congratulate Lisa on this highly prestigious award.


2012 academic events at a glance::

  • The Global Irish Studies Talks (GISTs) have become a popular fixture in the GISC and School of the Arts and Media calendars, drawing crowds on diverse topics including Famine commemoration and bilingualism in modern Ireland. Stay tuned for 2013 speakers.
  • In our most recent GIST (October 2012) Tony Earls chaired a lively panel discussion, ‘Irish Lawyers in Colonial Australia’. Our distinguished speakers took on a key debate in Irish Studies and Australian Legal History, making great progress towards defining the hitherto “significant yet indefinable” contribution of the Irish to Australian law and legal culture.
  • To mark the long tradition of Irish Studies at UNSW GISC launched the annual Patrick O’Farrell Memorial Lecture in 2011. Eminent historian Professor David Fitzpatrick, of Trinity College Dublin, delivered the inaugural lecture, speaking on ‘Australia’s Irish Question’. View online
  • Monday 5 November marks the 2012 Patrick O'Farrell Memorial Lecture, to be delivered by noted scholar Professor Cormac Ó Gráda, School of Economics, University College Dublin. Professor Ó Gráda’s lecture is entitled “Because she never let them in”: Irish immigration a century ago and today.  

*Sarah Sharkey was the mother of the late Sarah Ellen Lomansey, whose substantial bequest, together with a generous donation from the Australian Ireland Fund, funded the Chair in Modern Irish Studies at UNSW.