The Visual Culture of Ireland (IRST 390)

Dr. Kayla Rose

Wednesdays, 4:30-7:10; Room TBA

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This course will question Irish identity by exploring the rich visual traditions of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Diaspora and the circumstances in which their various chosen narratives and histories have been constructed, challenged, and contested. Students will analyze art, material culture, primary documents, museum collections, and exhibitions and the central roles they play in the formation of local, national, and transnational identities, while also reflecting on how they may inform contemporary practices in collecting and constructing national narratives both at home and abroad. Artistic styles from ancient and medieval Ireland will form an essential part of understanding the character of Irish art, however, the course will focus in particular on the Early Modern era to the present day, examining the Irish Rebellion (1798), Act of Union (1801), Great Famine (1845-52), Celtic Revival, Easter Rising (1916), Irish War of Independence (1919-21), Partition (1920), and the Irish Civil War (1922-23). We will also survey the Troubles (1968-1998) and how sustained violent conflict in Northern Ireland and the subsequent Good Friday Agreement (1998) led to a re-examination of the “Irish Question” in art and material culture. Ultimately, the course will close with the on-going Decade of Centenaries and potential implications of Brexit alongside an examination of how memory, and interpretations of memory, in visual culture, reveals identity.


The HIstory of Ireland since 1690  (HI 304)

Prof. Patrick McGough

Monday, 6:30-9:20 p.m., Room RA 214

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This course surveys the major political, economic, and social developments in Ireland from the Treaty of Limerick to today’s “Celtic Tiger” economy in the Republic and the peace process in Northern Ireland.  Events highlighted in the early part of this course include the Penal Era, the emergence of “Protestant Nationalism,” the birth of Irish Republicanism among Ulster Presbyterian Radicals, the Act of Union, Catholic Emancipation, and the causes and consequences of the 1840’s Famine.  The survey of post-Famine Ireland covers the development of modern Nationalism and Unionism with an examination of why Ireland was partitioned along apparently religious lines in the 1920’s.  An overview of Ireland since Partition concludes with an analysis of the current economy in the Republic and the prospects for continuing peace and devolved government in Northern Ireland.


History 304: Northern Ireland since 1968 (HI 304)

Prof. Patrick McGough

Tuesday, 6:30 - 9:20 p.m., Room TBA

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This course will examine the conflict in Northern Ireland from the start of the Civil Rights Movement, through the war, peace negotiations, and power sharing of Catholics and Protestants in the current government.  The armed struggle among official state forces and paramilitary groups from both Protestant and Catholic communities will be studied alongside the efforts of the various political parties to negotiate, share power, and recognize the civil rights of all. We will study economic and cultural conditions within Catholic and Protestant communities, and the varieties of politics within them. We will pay particular attention to such movements as Field Day, which sponsored theatre throughout the countryside in order to try to create political reflection and understanding on all sides. A tragic period in Irish history, the "Troubles" also inspired a wealth of literature that attempted to express the grief over the loss of life, and the desire to move the culture beyond armed conflict. This synthesis course will help students understand the relationships between memory and history, symbolism and politics, as well as the way all of these are represented and critically reflected upon in literature and film.