THE IRISH IN BOSTON: July 26-27, 2013


This summer, Boston University is offering an interdisciplinary institute on “THE IRISH IN BOSTON” to be held on July 26 & 27.  Sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning, the institute is designed for members of the general public who would like to explore a subject of common interest from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  It draws on the expertise of faculty in the Institute for the Study of Irish Culture at BU. The “Irish in Boston” weekend will include a day-and-a-half of lectures, discussions, and performances focused on the history, music and poetry of the Irish in Boston. The institute will be held at Boston University’s College of General Studies, 871 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.

 Sally Sommers Smith, an Associate Professor of Natural Science and an expert scholar and practitioner of Irish fiddle music, will be presenting a session on “The Sounds of Home: Irish Music in Boston, 1880-2012.” Megan Sullivan, an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and author of Irish Women and Cinema and Women in Northern Ireland: Cultural Studies and Material Conditions, will be presenting a lecture/discussion on “‘Bridget’ in Boston: Irish Domestic Servants and the Culture of Work.” Meg Tyler, Associate Professor of Humanities and author of A Singing Contest: Conventions of Sound in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney, will be giving a talk entitled “Crossing Yet Another Border: Irish Poetry in Boston.” And Tom Whalen, Associate Professor of Social Sciences and author of Kennedy Versus Lodge: The 1952 Massachusetts Senate Race and Profiles in Presidential Courage, will be hosting a lecture/discussion entitled “Triumph of the Irish Brahmin: John F. Kennedy, the 1952 Massachusetts Senate Race, and the Creation of a Political Dynasty.” Together these presentations and discussions will explore questions such as: How has Irish music influenced the American music scene? When Irish women cleaned houses, did they also reorganize a city? Does Irish poetry matter beyond Ireland? And, what’s the difference between ‘shanty’ and ‘lace curtain’ Irish? The Kennedys knew–do you?

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 Questions? Please contact Natalie McKnight at