Call for Papers: Canadian Association for Irish Studies Conference 2018

Canadian Association for Irish Studies

Université Laval

Quebec City

13-16 June 2018

Situated in Quebec City, Université Laval will host the 2018 conference of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies. Often regarded as one of North America’s most beautiful urban areas, Quebec City has twice received distinctions by UNESCO: in 1985 it was added to the World Heritage List for the preservation of its ramparts and historical city centre and on 31 October 2017 it was the first francophone municipality to be designated a City of Literature. Established as a seminary in 1663, Université Laval is the cradle of higher-level education in Canada and for Francophones in North America.



For over a century, Grosse Île, located just down the St Lawrence River from Quebec City, was the first point of contact with North America for hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants. It then served as a quarantine station and today it is the site of a National Historic Park and the largest Famine cemetery outside of Ireland. For many of those cleared to continue their journey, Quebec City became a home; for others, it was only the first of many stops as they migrated further west to Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, east to the Atlantic provinces, and south to the United States. The movement and settlement of these people created a series of connections with local and other immigrant communities.

Taking the history of Grosse Île and Quebec City into account, the 2018 conference of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies will explore the notions of connections and contacts. Diaspora studies, the most evidently relevant discipline to this subject, has done much to make connections between Irish and other national histories. Researchers working in other fields have investigated the innumerable artistic, social, philosophical, and political networks to which Irish people have belonged throughout the ages. Similarly, scholars have studied issues relevant to Ireland through the comparison of people, ideas, politics, and religion in other polities and in the process have established connections that were not otherwise apparent.


The conference of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies seeks to explore such connections and contacts. To begin, we could ask ourselves what does it mean to come into contact with another person or culture? What are the effects of this contact? What is the difference between making contact and establishing a connection? How are and are not connections maintained? At what point do contacts and connections form a broader network? Is there a distinction to be made between the subject under study making contacts and connections and that of the researcher making them? Certainly our coming together at a conference suggests that the latter has considerable importance for our greater understanding of the former.

With such questions in mind, the Canadian Association for Irish Studies welcomes papers that address the topic of connections and contacts.  Possible paper topics include:

·      Influences of and on Irish literature

·      Networks and organisations involving Irish people

·      The legacies of chain migration

·      Meanings of Irishness across geographical boundaries and historical periods

·      Hyphenated identities

·      Immigrant experiences in Ireland

·      The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland pre- and post-Brexit

·      Performances of Irishness at home and abroad as well of other peoples in Ireland

·      The popularity of Irish music, drama, and dance

·      Connections between the past and the present through commemorations and historical fiction

CAIS also welcomes other general topics concerning Irish Studies. Individual papers and full panel proposals are equally encouraged.

Chris Morash and Eve Patten will be the keynote speakers.

The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2018. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and enquiries to