Midwest Modern Language Association 2016


2016 Midwest Modern Language Association Conference

“Border States”

St. Louis, Missouri

November 10-13

Permanent Section Call for Papers: Irish Studies

Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising and the Poetics and Politics of Memory

2016 marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a key event in the revolutionary decade, 1913-23, and in Irish and world history. “Ireland 2016,” the Irish government’s year-long commemoration program, is now under way, with the emphasis on remembrance and reconciliation; however, plans to commemorate the events of 1916—also the year of the Battle of the Somme—have produced deep divisions in communities on both sides of the border as to how Ireland should remember and interpret the rebellion. While the Rising can be seen as a foundational event for the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom, the events of Easter 1916 have also arguably had a global impact and influence on anti-imperialist movements as far afield as Russia, India, China, and Africa.

From the beginning, literature and myth were inseparable from the historical events of Easter 1916, most famously expressed in W.B. Yeats’s words: “All changed, changed utterly / A Terrible beauty is born.” Indeed as Declan Kiberd puts it in Inventing Ireland, the rebellion has been “remorselessly textualized: for it—more than any of its individual protagonists—became an instantaneous martyr to literature.” Revisionist readings down the years have variously attempted to contain or curtail the imaginative power of Easter 1916, but among the very things that change utterly and unceasingly is the contested meaning of the Rising itself, not to mention the subsequent War of Independence and Civil War.

In response to the MMLA 2016 conference theme, “Border States,” this Permanent Section devoted to Irish Studies seeks papers that explore the topic of “borders,” broadly conceived, in relation to the Easter 1916 Rising as well as any aspect of the period 1913-1923, and its continuing relevance to Irish culture and society as well as the Irish diaspora. Papers dealing with contemporary reappraisals of the Rising are also welcomed as are contributions dealing with global Anglophone and non-Anglophone responses to the events of 1916.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and paper title along with your full name, institutional affiliation, and contact details (email and phone) to session chair Dr. Desmond Harding (<>) by April 5, 2016.