Conference 2013

The IASIL conference for 2013 will take place in Belfast from 22-26 July 2013, hosted by Queen’s University.  Members may submit abstracts on the theme, “Urban Cultures,” or some other aspect of Irish literature and culture by 17 March to


International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures Annual Conference
School of English, Queen’s University Belfast
22-26 July 2013

We have had an extremely good response to the initial Call for Papers and would like to thank everyone who has submitted an abstract.

We have decided to extend the deadline with a Second and Final Call for Papers.

The final deadline will be Friday 19 April 2013.

In an era when the majority of the world’s population now dwells in cities and urban centres, it is timely to re-consider the relationship between Ireland and the urban, not least because Ireland too has become very much more urbanised in recent decades. Richard Sennett’s definition of the city as ‘a human settlement in which strangers are likely to meet’ (The Fall of Public Man, 1993) is a pointer to new forms of social life and organisation in Ireland. The Irish already have a history as urban strangers. Those who migrated did so in large numbers to urban centres, where in many instances their presence became defining. Irish cities are not, therefore, confined to Ireland; London, Glasgow, New York, Boston are only a few of the urban centres with strong Irish associations, but many other cities have established connections with Ireland. The city is not self-contained; forms of regionalist theory extending back to the work of Patrick Geddes (one of the judges of the Civics Institute of Ireland’s ill-fated 1916 competition for designs for the future development of Dublin) see the city as both located in a rural hinterland and as necessarily connected to cities elsewhere. Such attitudes require both an assessment of the relationship of the country and the city, and a sense of the international dimensions of cities. There are forms of writing and cultural production which are characteristically urban whether we think of theatre as a largely urban-based institution, or forms of popular culture such as crime fiction, often questioning how much of a trace an urban individual can leave, or ‘chick lit’ which can be read as a guide to the consumer capitalist city.

Long seen as anomalous within Ireland, due to its industrialisation, but never wholly fitting the profile of an industrial British city, Belfast, in the year that it celebrates the 400th anniversary of the granting of its original charter, is an appropriate location for such a conference.

We welcome proposals for individual papers and panels on topics including but not limited to:

Literary and cultural representations of the city;

Cognitive geographies;

The literature and culture of individual cities;

The Belfast Group;

Diasporic and migrant cities;

Re-reading The Irish Writer and the City (1984);

Gender and the urban;

Urban sexualities;

Urban coteries;

The divided city;

The archipelagic city;

Urban genres;

Class and the city;

The city and memory.

Abstracts (250-300 words) to be sent to by FRIDAY 19 APRIL 2013.