Current Projects


Ireland and the North (Peter Lang, 2018)

Barber, Fionna / Hansson, Heidi / McQuaid, Sara Dybris (eds)

The idea behind Ireland and the North is to relativise the position of Ireland by using a northern point reference rather than the more common western orientation. The West has played a major role in the formation of cultural imaginings in Ireland since at least the mid-nineteenth century, bound up in particular with the growth of nationalism. A feature of the present contexts of post-nationalism, however, is to enable a re-orientation towards other geographical reference points whose importance has perhaps been obscured by the earlier dominance of the West in constructions of Irishness. In this collection we want to focus on the ways that deeply embedded yet still potent relationships between Ireland and the North, and more specifically the Nordic countries, manifest themselves across a variety of different cultural forms. Chapters are organised into three sections, each framing particular forms of relations between Ireland and the North. These sections are at once distinguishable, in asking contributors to observe shared frameworks and questions under the headings ‘Material’, ‘Political’ and ‘Print’ Culture, as well as overlapping, in empirically collapsing these boundaries.

I Material Culture

This section focuses on the relationships between the material forms of objects and their symbolic meaning, constructed, circulated and consumed within academic disciplines such as archaeology, antiquarianism or museology. Although their methodologies may differ, these disciplines draw upon a range of cultural practices that include collecting, classifying, curating and indeed the making of objects. We would ask contributors to engage with the following question in the context of their own subject area and methodological approach:

  • How might these varying disciplines, and the objects they interpret, function as the mediation of historically specific social relationships – in particular the relationships between Ireland/Irishness and its construction of the North?

Chapters in this section are

Maria Panum Baastrup, Foreign Artifacts in the Hands of Vikings – Looted & Imported Irish Objects Discovered in Southern Scandinavia

David Gray and John Wilson Foster, Constance Malleson’s Travel Account In the North (1946)

Janice Holmes, Northern Ireland’s Skansen: Nordic Influences on Ulster Folklife Studies and the Creation of the Ulster Folk Museum, 1928-64

Ciaran McDonough, “Ireland and Denmark are Specially to be Named”: The Connections between Irish and Scandinavian Antiquarians in the Nineteenth Century

II Political Culture

This section focuses on political culture as the assemblage of symbols, discourses, practices and institutions, by means of which individuals and groups articulate their relationship to (dispersed) power, articulate demands and put them at stake. The articles in this section might speak to (or bridge) political culture in terms of civil society or in terms of the constitutions between citizens and states. We would ask contributors to engage with the following question in the context of their own subject area and methodological approach.

  • How are political cultures constituted in and constitutive of ongoing exchanges between Ireland and the North.

Moving beyond a mere representational analysis, we would encourage (but not demand) the consideration of political geographies, actors and institutions that create and regulate specific templates for these exchanges, as well as situating both local and transnational political culture in symbolic and discursive landscapes.

Chapters in this section are

Fionna Barber, Severance and the Two Norths: Reconfiguring Ireland and Norway in the Paintings of Rita Duffy

Laura McAtackney, Northern Ireland, ‘the North’ and Degrees of Othering: A Gendered Perspective

Sara Dybris McQuaid, Good Neighbourly Relations or Family Values?: Assessing British-Irish Cooperation in a Nordic Comparative Perspective. 1990-2010

Andrew G Newby, Michael Davitt and Scandinavia

Eugene O’Brien, The Rhetoric of Grammar and the Grammar of Rhetoric: An Apophantic reading of Seamus Heaney’s North

III Print Culture

For the purposes of the collection, we will use a wide definition of ‘print culture’ that includes artistic and intellectual contacts and influences and their transformations into print. Culture, in this context, shares meanings with ‘practices’ or ‘activity’ and is not intended to refer to a particular group’s or nationality’s way of life. The combination of the terms ‘print’ and ‘culture’ may however lead to questions about what kind of culture is shaped through print, what might be meant by the term ‘imaginative culture’ or the ‘power of the word’ and how we can understand the idea of a culture industry based on print. Rather than narrowly defined studies of individual works, we look for discussions that take in the wider context of text production, dissemination and consumption and the importance of interrelations between Ireland and the North in these situations.

  • How are cultural exchanges between Ireland and the North manifested in print?

Chapters in this section are

Eoghan Smith, The Scandinavian Influence on Irish Modernism

Anne Karhio, “Strange Woods and Seas”: W. B. Yeats and the Kalevala

Julie Anne Stevens, Padraic Colum’s Treatment of Northern Mythology, The Children of Odin (1920), Illustrated by Willy Pogany

Heidi Hansson, Beyond the Vikings?: Cultural Transfer in the Dublin University Magazine