Irish identity has long been approached as anomalous. Ireland itself has been viewed as an anomalous state (Lloyd, Anomalous States). It was England’s first colony, a laboratory for empire, but at the same time contributed to the imperial project elsewhere, making it arguably semicolonial (Attridge and Howe, Semicolonial Joyce). It has been described as a first-world country with a third-world memory (Gibbons, Transformations in Irish Culture). But what defines Irishness now? After the Celtic Tiger, the 2008 banking crisis, and Brexit, how has Irish identity changed? As a result of increasing refugee crises around the world, Ireland is as much marked by immigration as emigration. The experience of asylum seekers under the Direct Provision system hints at fissures in Ireland’s legacy as a country that unhesitatingly extends hospitality to immigrants and reveals an anxiety toward the growing heterogeneity of Irish society which allegedly endangers ‘authentic’ Irish identity. What shape does decoloniality assume in modern Ireland? How are the binaries of insider/outsider or center/periphery configured in modern Ireland? Our panel seeks to engage with such questions. We welcome papers that analyze the evolution of modern Irish identity as depicted in contemporary works of literature. We are especially interested in proposals that seek to examine literary portrayals of communities and/or individuals caught among the cross-currents of multiple cultural/national identities, such as African or Asian immigrants to Ireland or the traveller community. We are interested in exploring how such individuals/communities manage their relationships with their erstwhile homelands and their newly adopted homeland and how this negotiation impacts the idea of a quintessential Irish identity.
Please submit 300 word abstracts via the NeMLA portal at (https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19339) by September 30, 2021. (NeMLA membership not required to submit abstracts).
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