“Difference and Indifference in Irish Studies”
29-31 May 2019
University of the Balearic Islands
The thematic focus of this conference revolves mainly around the concepts and realities of “difference” and “indifference”, and how these have been articulated and represented in Irish political, social and especially, cultural and literary texts and contexts. With these themes, we hope to spark discussions and debates across disciplines that address how intersecting categories of difference – notably, though not exclusively, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, dis/ability, age, nationality, religion, or language – operate within Irish culture and society. Following Sara Ahmed’s argument that “all actions are reactions, in the sense that what we do is shaped by the contact we have with others” (2004: 4), we wish to discuss as well how indifference emerges, in multiple forms and varied expressions, as a highly problematic reaction towards those subjects whose bodies and experiences are discursively and politically marked as “out of place”, either within the space of the nationstate or across its borders. Hegemonic discourses of the Irish nation are disrupted by these subjects and their constructed difference and thus, they become vulnerable to the violence of geopolitical and social exclusion, forced to constantly “negotiate the discursive structures that render [their] bodies Other” (Puar 1994: 93). Indifference appears in this context as an affective and political response that may be interesting to appraise in relation to its double meaning, as referring to lack of “affective solidarity” (Hemmings 2012: 157); and to the assimilation of difference mainly through its cooptation by dominant neoliberal discourses, which in no way alter or erode the unequal power hierarchies imbued in its operations.
From the perspective of Irish Studies, this conference thus seeks to interrogate the discourses and processes that produce and reproduce what we can call a cultural politics of in/difference, and its effects both in the material experience of Othered subjects and in their representation in cultural and literary forms. At the same time, we also seek papers that examine the strategies of dissent or resistance and possible alternatives that are being articulated both in the socio-political and the cultural arena, contributing to our communal thinking and imaginative creation of more effective forms of building community based on solid equity and social justice grounds.
The conference’s critical focus on in/difference not only speaks to the present but seeks to engage participants in discussions that consider the past, present, and even future. In the end, as Elizabeth Grosz claims, “[t]he past is the virtual which coexists with the present. The past, in other words, is always already contained in the present, not as its cause or its pattern but rather, as its latency, its virtuality, its potential for being otherwise” (2003: 18) We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers coming from varied academic disciplines (Literature, Media and Film Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Linguistics, etc.) and theoretical approaches (Cultural Studies, Feminist and Queer Theory, Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies, Globalization Studies, Eco-criticism, Animal Studies, Affect Theory, etc.).
We invite contributions on topics including, but not limited to, the following:
• Race, ethnicity, and racism (colonization and decolonization, emigration, immigration, asylum seekers and refugees, Direct Provision, Traveller culture…)
• Gender (violence against women, rape culture and sexual violence, masculinities, post-feminism…)
• Sexuality (inequality, discrimination and violence, the marriage referendum, transgender and transsexual rights…)
• Health, illness, dis/ability
• Age and aging
• Reproductive in/justice (Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes, abortion, obstetric violence and hysterectomy, austerity and lack of state support, the politics of adoption…)
• The posthuman, the non-human, and the inhuman
• Class (poverty and homelessness, social marginalization, austerity Ireland)
• Nation, nationalism, globalization
• The environment, climate change, ecocriticism, sustainability
• Linguistic difference, translation and translatability
• Religious difference
A special panel will be dedicated to young scholars who deal with Irish Studies all over the world. Thus, M.A. and PhD candidates who are starting or well into their research on Irish studies at large will be able to present and introduce their research and interest in our conference. This will provide ample space for debate, discussion and advice.
Submission requirements and deadline:
Abstracts of no more than 250 words for twenty-minute papers should be sent to AEDEI2019@uib.cat by 15 February 2019. Proposals for panels, roundtables and workshops will be also welcome. Please, include “Abstract AEDEI 2019” in the subject line of your e-mail. Author/s information is to be provided in a separate file, including name, affiliation, contact address, paper title and author’s bio-note. Please, name the documents as follows:
A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published either in book form, or in a special issue of an international journal.