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Presentation Schedule

Midwest Regional Conference

Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, IL

October 7th

Opening Reception – 5:00-7:00

Sky Room, Holmes Student Center (16th floor)


Dinner on your own.

Suggestions can be found here.

October 8th

PANEL 1 – 9:00-10:15


Panel 1A: Nineteenth-Century Irish America

(Chair: Timothy O’Neil),

Illinois Room, Holmes Student Center (hereafter HSC)


Erin Barr (Purdue Univ.), “The ‘Attempt to Levy War Against Her Majesty’: Irish Nationalism and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Buffalo, New York”


Mathieu W. Billings (Univ. of Indianapolis), “Making Their Mark: Women and Politics on the Canals of Ireland and the Early American Republic, 1815-40”


J. Hollis Harris (NIU), “By the strong hand”: A World of Violence Echoing in the Official Mind of Clan-na-Gael”


Panel 1B: The Politics of Nature in Contemporary Irish Culture

(Chair: Brian O'Conchubhair), Lincoln Room, HSC


Kevin Farrell (Radford Univ.), “Where’s the Spirit? Where’s the Soul? Making Sense of Van Morrison’s COVID Songs” – virtual


Molly Ferguson (Ball State University), “Bees as Vehicles for Mourning and Desire in Anne Enright’s “Honey” and Lisa Carey’s The Stolen Child”


Eamonn Wall (Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis), “Your House Is on Fire: Irish Writers on Climate Change” – virtual


Lawrence McBride Annual Lecture: Jill C. Bender

Associate Professor of History, UNCG

Illinois Room, HSC (10:30-11:30)

“The Marriage Force”: Irish Women, Assisted Emigration, and the mid-nineteenth-century British Empire



LUNCH 11:30-1:00


PANEL 2 1:00-2:15

Panel 2A: Perspectives on the Nation

(Chair: Sean Farrell), Illinois Room, HSC

José Lanters (Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), “Hazel Ellis’s Gate Theatre Plays of the 1930s in Context”


Timothy O’Neil (Central Michigan Univ.), “Give Constitutionalism a Last Chance: The Irish Nation League and its Failure, 1916-17”


Kenneth Shonk (Univ. of Wisconsin-LaCrosse), “’A space on the air’: Welsh Nationalism and the broadcast media in Ireland, 1950-69”


Panel 2B: Dialogues in Twentieth-Century Irish Literature

(Chair: Molly Ferguson), Lincoln Room, HSC

Brian O'Conchubhair (Univ. of Notre Dame), ‘He himself tempts no one’: Breandán Ó hEithir’s novels Lig Sinn i gCathú and Sionnach ar mo Dhuán

James Silas Rogers (Univ. of St. Thomas), “Deflated Conclusions: Angela’s Ashes’s Debt to Borstal Boy”


Jessie R. Wirkus Haynes (Marquette Univ.), “The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Flann O’Brien’s Dialogical Search for National Identity” -- virtual


PANEL 3 2:30-3:45

Panel 3A: (RE) Claiming Immediacy:

                 Derry's Girls and Dolls as Virtual Theater

(Chair: Kay Martinovich), Illinois Room, HSC

Kay Martinovich (NIU), “Directing an Irish World Digitally”

Brandon Wardell (NIU), “Building the Audience Relationship”

Stanton Davis (NIU), “Sounding a Derry Dialect”

Sylvie Baldwin/Rachael Yoder (NIU) Scene Performance, Girls and Dolls


Panel 3B: The Global Dimensions of Irish Nationalism

(Chair: Timothy G. McMahon), Lincoln Room, HSC


Alex Carlson (NIU), “We are all Gall Gael Now: Northern Irish Identity in a Post-Brexit World”


Christine Myers (Independent Scholar), “The Impossibility of Internal Borders: Pandemic Political Cartoons in the Era of Brexit”


Samantha Renee Haddad (NYU), “The “New Sinn Féin” in America: A Case Study”



Pedagogy Panel 1 4:00-5:00

Playing Games with Students in the Name of Peace

Illinois Room, HSC


Andrew Auge and John Burney (Loras College), “Ending the Troubles: Introducing a Classroom Role-Playing Game focused on the Multi-Party Peace Talks”



Book Launch and

Creative Non-Fiction Reading 5:00-7:00pm

Byers Brewing Company, 230 E. Lincoln Hwy, Suite 100, DeKalb, IL.


Kenneth Shonk, Ireland’s New Traditionalists: Fianna Fáil Republicanism and Gender (Cork: Cork University Press, 2021).


Readings by ACIS Creative Writers


October 9th

PANEL 4 9:00-10:15


Panel 4A: Representing the Nation in Art and Literature

(Chair: Sean Farrell), Illinois Room, HSC


Kurt Bullock (Grand Valley State Univ.), “Playing with Cultural Politics: Boundaries of Representation in the Art of Jack B. Yeats”


Sally Barr Ebest (Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis), “Lies of Omission: Carson McCullers’ Very Misleading Autobiography”


Jane Kennedy (independent scholar), “Irish Famines in Art” -- virtual

Panel 4B: Illness, Death and Healing in Irish Literature

(Chair: José Lanters), Lincoln Room, HSC


Barry Devine (Heidelberg Univ.), “The Blurred Boundaries of Folk and Modern Medicine in Ulysses”


Colleen English (Loyola Univ, Chicago), “Elegies in Irish Country Churchyards: James Orr, Thomas Dermody, and Adam Smith’s Imagined Corpses”


Bridget English (UIC), “’Wounded where I had not foreseen—in the mind’: Mediating Psychological Wounds and Bodily Failure in Bowen’s The House in Paris”

Plenary Lecture: David Cregan

Associate Professor of Theatre, Villanova University,

Illinois Room, HSC (10:30-11:30)


Transversing Identity Politics: The Epic and the Turn to the Subject in Irish Theatrical Vision and Form




(University Suite, HSC)



Pedagogy Panel 2 – 1:00-2:00

"Teaching Irish Texts and Culture in non-Irish Themed Courses",

Lincoln Room, HSC


Karen Babine (Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga), “These Green Streets: Benjamin Black in the General Education Classroom” -- virtual


Barry Devine (Heidelberg Univ.), “Playing the Long Game” (or “Death by a Thousand Cuts”)


Molly Ferguson (Ball State Univ.), “Teaching Northern Ireland in the Digital Literature Review Course”



PANEL 5 2:15-3:15


Panel 5A: Reimagining Ireland in America

(Chair: James Silas Rogers), Illinois Room, HSC


Conor O’Shea (Univ. of Illinois), Mary Rose O’Shea (UIC), and Michael O’Shea (Toronto), “No Longer at the Crossroads: Irish Dance Halls in Chicago and Late Generation Ethnicity” – virtual


James P. Walsh (Univ. of Colorado-Denver), “Making an Irish Memorial in Leadville, Colorado”


Panel 5B: Nature and Memory in Irish Poetry

(Chair: David Gardiner), Lincoln Room, HSC


Joseph Heininger (Dominican Univ.), “Aidan Rooney and Daniel Tobin: Memorial Poems for Seamus Heaney”


Bill Kerwin (Univ. of Missouri-Columbia), “Drawing Lines Around the Natural World: Mary O’Malley and the Uses of Ecopoetics"



PANEL 6 3:30-5:00

Panel 6A: Kicking the Can Down the Road in Modern Ulster

(Chair: Kenneth Shonk), Illinois Room, HSC

Abigail Bernhardt (Marquette Univ.), “The whole idea of Sunday football is contrary to the Ulster way of life”: The 1958 World Cup as a challenge to northern Protestant identity”


Sean Farrell (NIU), “’The Worst Understood Man of His Times’: Thomas Drew, Land Reform, and Orange Democracy, 1868”


Timothy G. McMahon (Marquette Univ.), “When a border isn’t a barrier: Rethinking the history of Partition”


Panel 6B: Screening of Girls and Dolls

(Chair: Kay Martinovich), Lincoln Room, HSC

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