October 09, 2009

SIUC to host regional Irish Studies conference

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host the 2009 Midwest Regional American Conference for Irish Studies this month.

The conference runs Oct. 16-17 in the Student Center, and features papers and discussions on the theme “Ireland: Medieval to Postmodern.”

A special feature of the conference this year is the presentation of the Charles F. Fanning Medal to Irish language poet Louis de Paor. De Paor presents the Second Annual Charles Fanning Lecture in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium at 3 p.m. on Oct. 17. A reception follows in the Morris Library Hall of Presidents.

De Paor is the second recipient of the medal. Beth Lordan, current director of the Irish and Irish Immigration Studies program, noted that de Paor is known for academic and musical accomplishments in addition to his role as poet. De Paor currently serves as director of the Centre for Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland at Galway. His musical endeavors include collaboration with County Cork-based folk singer John Spillane. His most recent poetic offering is “Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig: Clapping in the Cemetery,” an Irish and English dual language collection of poetry. Other books include, “Goban Cre Is Cloch: Sentences of Earth and Stone,” “Aimsir Bhreicneach: Freckled Weather,” and others as a co-author.

The Fanning Medal honors Professor Emeritus Charles Fanning, a pioneer in the field of Irish American and Irish Immigrations Studies. Fanning was a professor in the English department and head of SIUC’s Irish and Irish Immigration Studies program from 1993 until his retirement in 2007.

Other highlights of the conference include:

• Brian Ó Conchubhair, assistant professor in the Department of Irish Languages and Literature at the University of Notre Dame, presents the Lawrence McBride Memorial Lecture at 9 a.m. on Oct. 16 in the Student Center.

• Mary O’Malley, a poet from County Galway, reads from her work for this year’s plenary address. The reading begins at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 16 in the Morris Library auditorium. A reception for conference-attendees follows in the Morris Library Hall of Presidents.

• A poetry reading is set for 8 to 9 p.m. in the School of Art and Design’s Glove Factory at 432 S. Washington Ave. This event is free and open to the public.

The American Conference for Irish Studies is a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with membership in the United States, Ireland, Canada and elsewhere. ACIS holds a national conference each spring, with regional conferences held in the fall. For more information, visit www.acisweb.com.

The Midwest Regional ACIS Conference includes speakers on topics including Irish music, Irish women’s studies and gender issues, literature, immigration, community, mythology, media and history. A complete schedule of sessions and other events is available at www.dce.siu.edu. Pre-registration is required. The poetry reading at the Glove Factory is open to the public without registration.