CFP: Global Legacies of the Great Irish Famine: Transnational and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Faculty of Arts, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

25-28 March 2013



The renewed interest in the Great Irish Famine (1845-1851) inspired by its sesquicentenary in the 1990s led to a surge in Famine scholarship and commemorative practices. This development was characterised by its variegated nature, and has led to the publication of seminal works of historiography and pioneering studies of Famine art and literature. Since then, Irish Famine studies has evolved tremendously, becoming an interdisciplinary field in its own right. Branching out into a wide range of disciplines (including history, geography, literature, film, theatre, and the arts), Irish Famine research has engaged with current developments in the humanities, such as regional studies, postcolonial theory, transnational studies, digital humanities, gender studies, memory theory and media studies. In so doing, recent findings in Irish Famine research have also occasioned renegotiations of long-standing theoretical concerns in adjacent fields.

Organised by the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) and the Radboud University English Department, and financed by the European Research Council, this conference offers a platform for groundbreaking Famine scholarship that engages with current trends and novel developments. Global Legacies of the Great Irish Famine seeks to address questions such as: How have the incorporation of new resources, innovative methodologies, and interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives (re)shaped our conceptions of the Famine? What do such developments imply for the event’s significance for later generations? How is Irish Famine studies influenced by issues such as migration, postcolonialism, space and cultural memory? How can research into the Irish Famine in turn contribute to fields such as historiography, and diaspora, postcolonial, and memory studies?

Proposals are invited for papers which examine the legacies of the Great Famine from a variety of theoretical approaches of (inter)disciplinary perspectives (including but not limited to literature, art, theatre, music, film, popular culture, history, sociology, anthropology, and geography).  Possible topics may include but are by no means restricted to:


●      The Famine and memory studies

●      The Famine and cultural identity

●      The legacy of the Famine in transgenerational and transnational contexts

●      Nationalist re-imaginations of the Famine

●      The Famine and folklore

●      The Famine and issues of religion

●      Developments in Famine historiography

●      Famine spaces/places

●      Geographical contexts: regional, national, transnational

●      Temporal contexts: diachronic and synchronic perspectives

●      Temporalities of Famine

●      Future directions in Irish Famine studies

●      Comparisons between the Irish and other famines

Plenary speakers

Peter Behrens, author of The Law of Dreams (2006) and The O’Briens (2011)

Professor Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast)

Professor Margaret Kelleher (An Foras Feasa/NUI Maynooth)

Dr Jason King (University of Limerick)

Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin)

Professor Chris Morash (NUI Maynooth)

Professor Kevin Whelan (Keough-Naughton Notre Dame Centre)


Confirmed round table panelists

Dr Melissa Fegan (University of Chester)

Dr Oona Frawley (NUI Maynooth)

Dr Raphaël Ingelbien (KU Leuven)


Conference organisers

Dr Marguérite Corporaal

Ruud van den Beuken MA

Christopher Cusack MA

Lindsay Janssen MA


The organisers invite the submission of abstracts of up to 350 words. Papers should be in English and should not exceed 20 minutes. Abstracts can be sent to or submitted via our website before 1 October 2012. Please also include a 100-word biography.


A selection of papers from the conference will be published as an edited volume.


For further information, please see the conference website:

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