BAIS Conference September 2015


 Hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies

St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

Ireland: Agents of Social Transformation

4-5 September 2015

Confirmed Keynotes:

Mary McAleese, Distinguished Visiting Professor, St Mary’s University 2015-2016

Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Galway

Linda Connolly, Director of the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork

Programme commences on Friday evening with keynote and reception followed by full day of papers and keynotes on Saturday at the Twickenham campus.

Much of the Irish story in the twentieth century was about Ireland’s transformation from being a neglected corner of the British Empire to its emergence as one of the world’s most globalized societies. However, the first decade of the twenty-first century exposed the country to a world financial crisis in an acute form. The resulting socio-economic transformation is given greater perspective by considering it over a longer period, and connecting its manifestations in various other domains from consumerism to religion, from migration to the mass media. The need for transformation in Ireland has been generated as much by critiques of institutions such as the Catholic Church, the political system and other public bodies, such as the health service, as by the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. Since 2008, emigration has predictably accelerated again although its character is qualitatively different from previous phases of outward migration.

This conference takes ‘transformation’ and ‘agents/agency’ as key terms that involve a consideration of fundamental changes in the way Irish society is organised, ruled, imaged and perceived. Social transformation lies at the radical end of conceptions of social change and implies fundamental changes in society’s core institutions, the polity, the economy, and cultural production. Papers are invited which engage with the issue of social transformation across the disciplinary spectrum which, while acknowledging the political and economic basis of the crisis acknowledge that its consequences are as much existential as economic, psychological as well as political. Presentations are welcomed which look to the effects of the crisis on all aspects of private and public life and their historical contextualisation, recording, realisation and representation in forms as diverse as music, mass demonstrations, theatre, migration, membership of the EU and constitutional reform.

Proposals for 20 minute papers (no more than 300 words with name and affiliation) or panel proposals, 3 presenters, 500 word rationale + brief bios are all welcome. Please send to Samantha Walcot, Administrator, Centre for Irish Studies, by Friday 29 May 2015: