CFP: XVIII Symposium of Irish Studies in South America: “Consecration”

Date: 9-11 October 2023.

Venue: Universidade de Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais, Brasil)

The year of 2023 marks the centenary of the Nobel prize in literature being awarded to W. B. Yeats, the first of four Irish writers that have been recognised by the Swedish Academy thus far, with George Bernard Shaw following Yeats closely in 1925 (received 1926), Samuel Beckett in 1969 and Seamus Heaney in 1995. That a nation as small as Ireland (in population terms) has produced so many Nobel prize-winning authors only surprises those who are unaware of the centrality of literature, and culture in general, in the country. In addition to the Nobel prizes in literature, the Republic of Ireland can boast a number of Man Booker prizes, with Roddy Doyle and John Banville being the most recent (in 1993 and 2005, respectively). 

In commemoration of this occasion, this year’s Symposium of Irish Studies in South America is concerned more widely with the processes that lead to the kind of recognition so many Irish writers and artists have achieved globally. More extensively theorised in the field of the sociology of literature, “consecration” is also linked to the concept of distinction, but changes the focus from consumption and the formation of taste within the social classes to the role of human and non-human agents in a transnational “republic of letters”. In her seminal study of the dynamics in the international literary space, Pascale Casanova conceptualises consecration more than just the recognition by autonomous critics, employing a metaphor that would be much appreciated by Yeats: “To cross this invisible line is to undergo a sort of transformation – one might almost say a transmutation in the alchemical sense.The consecration of a text is the almost magical metamorphosis of an ordinary material into ‘gold,’ into absolute literary value” (2004, p. 126). The Nobel prize, more than any other prize, literalises this gold in the form of the medal awarded to writers, to whom the recognition of “universality” becomes attached. In some cases, such as Rabindranath Tagore, this recognition comes after translation (and Yeats’s presence in the paratext cannot be ignored as further legitimation), whereas in the case of authors who write in more dominant languages, translations into other, non-European or less central languages, is certainly increased after an award is given. This dynamic only partially follows colonial or even politico-economical patterns, as the importance of Irish Studies in Brazil for the 50 years can certainly attest. Other local agents, such as institutions of higher education and even individual researchers can be seen to have played an important role.

International prizes are, thus, only one aspect of the consecration and more contemporary phenomena only expand this framework. The adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People (2018) into a limited series produced by Element Pictures for BBC Three and Hulu in association with Screen Ireland and released globally in April 2020 catapulted her name as an Irish novelist and led to a once rare simultaneous publication of her third novel around the world and in translation to dozens of different languages (Hebrew excluded, for political reasons). While popularity and mass audience gained by the kind of best-selling status achieved by Rooney can be seen as placing her the pole of more institutionalised or market forms of consecration, it has nonetheless made Rooney a household name in a matter of a couple of years. In the particular case of Brazil, a survey conducted among participants of our Association of Irish Studies – Abei Bookclub has found that Rooney’s book was the one most people wanted to read and discuss.

The XVIII Symposium of Irish Studies in South America – organized by the Brazilian Association of Irish Studies in South America (ABEI), the W.B. Yeats Chair of Irish Studies and hosted at the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP) in Minas Gerais, Brazil invites scholars to consider the centenary of Yeats’s Nobel Prize and his speech on drama, language, politics, and the importance of collaboration as a point of departure for research in Irish Studies in South America and around the world. This event encourages transdisciplinary approaches to the complex dynamics of consecration and circulation of all forms of Irish cultural production and symbolic capital.

The 2022 Academic Committee welcomes papers, posters, and/or round tables about, but not exclusively, the following topics:

  • Reception of Irish works around the world, particularly in translation (from English or Irish);
  • Translation from Irish and the English spoken in different regions of Ireland into other minor/peripheral languages;
  • Transmedia phenomena related to Irish works, including adaptations of novels and short stories into audiovisual languages;
  • The role of different agents in (trans)forming the Irish canon(s);
  • How consecration is affected by intersectional aspects: gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, disability, and others;
  • Aspects of (re)mediation in the circulation of Irish works, particularly as related to the editing practices;
  • Transnational links between Ireland and other countries/nations;
  • Collaboration between individual Irish writers/artists/scholars and counterparts across the world, historical or contemporary;
  • Performance of Irish plays in and outside Ireland;
  • The circulation of “an idea” of Ireland and of the Irish, particularly as related to folklore.

Keynote Speakers

Alexandra Poulain (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, France)

Hedwig Schwall (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)

Mario Murgia (UNAM, Mexico & co-coordinator of Eavan Boland-Anne Enright Chair of Irish Studies)

María Amor Barros (University of Burgos/AEDEI, Spain)

Maria Graciela Eliggi (Universidad Nacional de La Pampa, Argentina)

Mary O’Donnell (Writer, Ireland)

Guidelines for abstract submission

Abstracts should include a title, and should not exceed 300 words followed by 3-5 keywords.

Abstracts should be submitted as a Word Document, Times New Roman, 12 pts.

Abstracts can be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

Include a brief biographical note of up to 50 words, including academic title and affiliation.

Abstracts should be sent by email to

The deadline for submission is 31 July 2023 


Participants can register at