The event will be held in Ireland in part because Dr. Gregory Betts, from Brock University, is this year’s Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies at UCD, which holds a celebrated status in Canadian Studies on the world stage.
The event will be partially funded by the Craig Dobbin endowment and is meant to reanimate Canadian Studies on an international platform, which has been hurt in recent years by significant funding cuts to the “Understanding Canada” program. We intend to attract an expansive participant base from Canada, Ireland, and Europe to demonstrate the vitality of the field. Showcasing such work in Ireland, the land of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Edna O’Brien, the land that has successfully revived the Irish language and culture after centuries of colonization, presents an important opportunity to learn and share the new work from Canada and expand the knowledge mobilization networks engaging with and producing this work.
University College Dublin (UCD), James Joyce’s alma-mater, is a pivotal space for Canadian and Indigenous practitioners to connect with international scholars and students attuned to experimental and postcolonial modalities. This university was a central hub in the efforts to decolonize Ireland after centuries of British rule. Many of the key cultural policies that helped to establish the independence of the new Republic were developed here at the university, especially when Douglas Hyde jointly served as professor at UCD and the first President of the Republic of Ireland. He, like the current President Michael D. Higgins, was also a poet and a theorist of language’s role in cultural transformation. Literature and politics are recognized here as overlapping fields, with a particular place of privilege afforded to innovative and experimental works.