The nightmare of history

Published in Issue 2 (Summer 2004), News, Volume 12

Ireland will find it difficult to escape the nightmare of history this centennial June, with a series of events slated to explore history in several invented states.

Historians and critical theorists begin in Galway on 2–5 June when the NUI Centre for Irish Studies hosts the IV Conference on Colonialism. The assembled speakers and attendees will be taken through those ‘contact zones’ linking Ireland and India, comparative dialogues where Celticism meets Orientalism. Themes to be explored include vegetarianism, Burke, masks of conquest, Rabindranath Tagore and those forbidden Irish Indians, Annie Besant and Sister Nivedita. Among plenary speakers is the subalternist Dipesh Chakrabarty, the critic Aijaz Ahmad and Ireland’s own Luke Gibbons. The conference is dedicated to the life and work of Edward Said.

Following on from Galway, the next organising space is provided through the collaboration of the Centre for Irish Studies at Mary Immaculate College and the Centre for Historical Research at the University of Limerick. A conference entitled Enemies of Empire will take place on the University of Limerick campus on 11–13 June. Themes of discussion will include political murals, Palestine, Communist architectural space and Malaysian nationalism. Speakers from Botswana, New Zealand and Tibet are listed. The plenary address will be delivered by Eve Stoddard and Grant Cornwell of the University of St Lawrence in New York State, looking at the idea of ‘collateral language’ after 9/11. Richard Rathbone, from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, will bring the occasion to a close with a paper on Africa.

After centennial celebrations running up to Bloomsday, the Keough Notre Dame Irish Seminar kicks off with its annual series of Tuesday evening Madden-Rooney lectures. The theme this year is Ireland: Boston or Berlin? On 22 June Philip Pettit will speak on ‘Republicanism: between Europe and America’, followed on 29 June by that most encrypted of intellectuals, Homi BhaBha. The final lecture will be delivered by Thomas Kilroy on ‘The Irish theatre tradition’. All talks are open to the public and start at 8pm in Room G32, UCD, Earlsfort Terrace.

At the end of the month the Byrne–Perry Summer School (25–27 June) will host a series of lectures linking important public figures in Irish life of recent times. Seamus Deane combines Heaney and Friel, Emer Nolan discusses Joyce and Yeats, Stephen Collins compares Haughey and Fitzgerald, and Brian Feeney analyses Adams and Hume. The Wexford event will end with another visit to the theatre at Huntington Castle, where the Shamrock Theatre Company was founded by Nora Parsons in 1904.


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