CFP: Conference of the SOFEIR (Société Française d’Études irlandaises) – UPDATES

The Presence of the Past:

Problematising Temporalities in Irish Studies

9-10 March 2023, University of Lille, France

UPDATE: Confirmed plenary speakers

  • Dr. Zélie Asava (independent scholar)
  • Pr. Máiréad Enright (University of Birmingham)
  • Jesse Jones (visual artist).

From Gretta Conroy’s recollection of the song “The Lass of Aughrim” in James Joyce’s short story “The Dead” (1914) to the dialogue of corpses in Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille (1949) and the evocation of Eibhlin Dubh Ui Chonnail’s 18th century caoineadh in Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat (2020), from the 1916 Easter Rising to the preceding risings it evokes and draws on (such as those of 1798 or 1848, for example), Ireland’s pre-independence and postcolonial history is marked by an impression of past performances that haunt the present (whenever that present may be situated), mock socio-political convention, and demand a reaction.

What then should be our scholarly and critical response to such practices and the disruptively recalcitrant positions that they establish in relation to a failed contemporary modernity? What, if any, is the radical political potential of such hauntings? What new spaces within Irish studies (incorporating literary studies, history, politics, sociology, race, gender and sexuality studies) as well as contemporary Irish artistic practice does the presence of the uncanny and the uncanny presence of the past open up for critical reflection? How do we remember the past without consigning it to realm of the pluperfect and something gone forever? How do such ideas of the past figure in the work of contemporary activists and artists? And in what ways are all historical, social and discursive practices, from the Early Modern period right through to our contemporary moment, informed, shaped, questioned or undermined by the past?

Papers and panel/workshop proposals are particularly welcome from the following areas:

  • Irish language literary, folk and music culture
  • Contemporary practices of performance: theatre, performance, installation, etc.
  • Writing the unspeakable; the uncanny and Irish literature
  • Broken citizenship; thinking about new ideas of citizenship
  • Literature and forgetting
  • The State and its forgettings
  • New (or not so new) epistemological prisms
  • Historical / political interventions
  • Intersectional perspectives (race, class, gender, (dis)ability, etc.)
  • Colonial, anti-colonial, postcolonial, decolonial Ireland
  • Digital humanities

UPDATE: Proposals comprising a 300-word abstract and a short bio should be sent by email to by 15 December 2022.

UPDATE: For panel and workshop proposals, please send a short description of the panel/workshop, as well as the abstracts of all the presentations and the bios of the participants. ( by December 15, 2022.

Organizing committee: Hélène Lecossois and Fiona McCann, with Emilie Berthillot, Claire Dubois and Helen Penet