NISN conference

NISN 2023: Recirculations: Transmissions and Transits in Irish history, literature, and culture

Háskóli Íslands/University of Iceland, Reykjavík, 25-26 May 2023

Register by Friday, 19 May here. Note! All presenting delegates must be paid members of NISN.

You can find the conference programme here.

Call for papers:

Ireland’s geographical position as an island at the western edge of Europe has made it, in turns, a marginal or central location for various forms of material, social, and cultural transmission. Rather than novelty, such encounters in literature, culture, and art have often emerged as instances of revision, rediscovery, or recirculation of texts, languages, narratives, and images. Similarly, people, goods, and documents travel along familiar or revised routes in the North Atlantic and North Sea region; information and ideas are received and transmitted within networked infrastructures connecting Ireland and other parts of the globe.

Ireland’s history, culture, and geography thus demonstrate how stories of origin and authenticity can gloss over entangled cartographies of exchange. These recirculations highlight Ireland as situated at the intersection of diverse cultural and material flows within and outside its borders. Joyce’s Finnegans Wake reflected this idea by embodying the manner in which, as David Earle has observed, “history recirculates, water recirculates, [and] the cultural debris of Dublin recirculates”, as do commodities of various kinds in and outside the capital, and the island itself.

Literary texts and narratives appear, disappear, and reappear, often without clear sense of origins or originals, from medieval re-tellings and translations of classical Greek and Roman literature to Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s prose rendering and interweaving of Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire. Irish writers have drawn on stories and imagery of previous eras, from the imagined pagan past in Táin Bó Cúailgne to narratives providing the historical backdrop for discussions on the Good Friday Agreement. In the nineteenth century, medieval Irish formed the bulk of European philological research, and antiquarian activity was largely centred around translations of medieval and early modern texts, both Irish and Latin. The constant return of past images and ideas both sustains and complicates relations between social groups and informs responses to changing society, including newcomers seeking to make Ireland their home. Historically and in the present, personal and collective pasts are re-used and revised to suit present circumstances, in literature, the arts, everyday life, or political rhetoric.

To address the above themes, the forthcoming Nordic Irish Studies Network conference explores the idea of recirculations in Irish culture through themes including, but not restricted to

  • Exchanges between Ireland and other culture
  • Uses of the past in literature, culture, and society
  • The manuscript trade in Ireland and beyond
  • Antiquarianism
  • Renderings of foreign literature into an Irish form
  • Translations to and from Irish, and interface between Irish and English
  • Medieval literature in the early/modern era, and beyond
  • Ireland, material culture and travel in the North Atlantic and North Sea region
  • Old and new media

As always, the organisers also accept submissions on topics related to Irish Studies but not directly connected to the conference theme.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh, University of Edinburgh as a keynote speaker and Dr Kathy D’Arcy as artistic performer and speaker.

Abstracts of 200-300 words should be sent by 28 February to, with a short biographical note. For any queries related to the CFP or the conference, please contact Ciaran McDonough at

Please note that all speakers must be paid members of NISN at the time of the conference.