CFP: Bodies and Boundaries in Irish and American Literature

Dublin City University | September 05-06, 2023

This conference intends to explore twentieth and twenty-first century literature through the lens of literary geography and theories on space, place and embodiment. Indeed, by using the different approaches of literature and geography to “think beyond taken-for-granted categories, levels, and terms” (Hones, 688), literary geography allows a discussion that redefines not only the genres but also how one experiences a text according to different spatialities and bodies. 

Research on bodies and on boundaries have simultaneously flourished over the past thirty years. As many critics have pointed out, defining such terms proves almost impossible, yet bodies and boundaries are connected by ideas of instability, porosity and multiplicity (Turner; Braidotti). Both concepts are also associated with the idea of limitations, or lack of limitations. Therefore, bodies are messy, incomplete and often lack distinct boundaries (Longhurst). But how do bodies and boundaries interact with one another? Could they exist without another, and if so, how? Is it possible to dissolve both, and what would that entail

Papers addressing the following themes are especially welcomed and encouraged: 

  • Literary geography in relation to Irish literature, American literature, or Irish-American literature (20th-21st centuries) 
  • The body as a boundary 
  • Bodies and boundaries in literature 
  • Fictional accounts on: race; sexuality; gender; disability; social status; the “future body” 
  • Ecocriticism 
  • Political/ non-political bodies
  • Gendering bodies and boundaries 

If you are interested in participating in the conference, whether by giving a presentation or organising a panel, please send an abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biography (100 words) to: If you want to attend the conference, please send an email to the same email address. Please specify your home institution for both cases. 
Deadline for abstract submission and attendance registration: May 22, 2023.

The conference will take place entirely in person in All Hallows Campus, Dublin City University (Dublin, Ireland) on 5-6 September 2023.

Key note speakers include:

June Caldwell

June Caldwell worked for many years as a journalist and now writes fiction. Her story ‘SOMAT’ was published in the award-winning anthology The Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinéad Gleeson and was chosen as a ‘favourite’ by The Sunday Times. It subsequently featured in her critically acclaimed first collection Room Little Darker, first published by New Island in 2017 and in the UK by Head of Zeus in 2019. She is a prizewinner of the Moth International Short Story Prize and has been shortlisted for many others, including the Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, the Colm Toíbín International Short Story Award, the Lorian Hemingway Prize, and the Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story Prize. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast, and lives in Dublin. Her first novel, Little Town Moone, was published in 2019.

Nessa Cronin

Nessa Cronin is Assistant Professor in Irish Studies and Associate Director of the Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at the University of Galway, Ireland. As an interdisciplinary scholar with a background in Philosophy and Literature, she has published widely on various aspects of Irish literature, cultural geography and socially-engaged arts practices investigating issues concerning place, language, translation and identity in contemporary Irish and European cultures. She has been the recipient of awards from the Irish Research Council, Culture Ireland and the European Science Foundation in recent years, and is a member of the Irish National Committee of Future Earth Global based at the Royal Irish Academy. Nessa also works in the area of Environmental Humanities and Creative Geographies and has co-curated events and exhibitions such as Mapping Spectral Traces IV (Black Box Theatre, Galway 2012), Interpreting Landscape/Rianú Talún, (University of Galway 2014) and is the Director of Iarsma: Fragments from an Archive, the Tim Robinson Artist-in-the-Archive Project (2016-present). Her current project is as co-editor of a new transdisciplinary book series entitled, Earth Writings, co-edited with Professor Karen E. Till and Professor Gerry Kearns, which explores how conversations across the fields of the arts and sciences can jointly address the climate crisis and provide solutions for more globally sustainable and progressive eco-social futures.

Emilie Pine

Emilie Pine is Professor of Modern Drama at University College Dublin, and is author of the No.1 non-fiction bestseller Notes to Self (2018). Emilie joined the School of English, Drama and Film in the spring of 2008. She teaches and supervises student work in the fields of theatre and memory cultures. Emilie is Director of the Irish Memory Studies Research Network and Editor of the Irish University Review and recently edited the Special Issue on Moving Memory: The Dynamics of the Past in Irish Culture. She is PI of the IRC New Horizons major project Industrial Memories, a digital witnessing of the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ryan Report). Emilie has published widely in the fields of theatre and memory studies, including The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Her most recent book is The Memory Marketplace: Witnessing Pain in Contemporary Irish and International Theatre (Indiana University Press, 2020). Emilie is a member of the Advisory Board of the international Memory Studies Association and is convenor of the Memory Cloud Project. Her debut novel, Ruth & Pen (2022), won the 2023 Kate O’Brien Award.

Sophie White

Sophie White is a writer and podcaster from Dublin. Her first book, a memoir-cookbook work, Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown (Gill 2016) was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Her second book and first novel, the bestselling, Filter This (Hachette, 2019) was also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Her third book, Unfiltered (Hachette, 2020) was described by Marian Keyes as “such fun – gas, clever stuff”. Her fourth book and second work of non-fiction is the bestselling essay collection, Corpsing: My Body and Other Horror Shows published by Tramp Press in 2021. She has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent for nine years, currently writing her weekly Nobody Tells You column for their LIFE magazine. She also writes regularly for various Irish publications, contributes to TV and radio and has been nominated three times for Journalist of the Year at the Irish Magazine Awards. White has also dabbled in stand up and created the mini cooking series Recipes For Actual Real Life commissioned by RTE and transmitted exclusively on their online player. She is co-host of the chart-topping podcasts, Mother Of Pod (comedy, 300,000 downloads) and The Creep Dive (comedy, over 1 million downloads). She lives in Dublin with her family.