Conference Presenters

craig bailey

Craig Bailey

Craig Bailey is an associate professor of History at Villanova University.  He received his PhD from the University of London, his MA from the National University of Ireland and his BA from the University of Connecticut.  His research includes the suburbanization and the making of place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with a particular focus on Lower Merion, Pennsylvani.  He also focuses on Irish migration in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on London and the middle classes as well as the famine and responses to distress in Ireland.


Benjamin Bankhurst

Benjamin Bankhurst’s research focuses on Irish migration to the Appalachian frontier in the colonial and revolutionary periods. Before Joining the History Department at Shepherd University, Dr. Bankhurst held teaching and research appointments at the London School of Economics; the Institute of Historical Research; and Queen Mary, University of London. His articles have appeared in the Pennsylvania Magazine for History and Biography, The Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, and Eire/Ireland. The American Council for Irish Studies awarded his first book Ulster Presbyterians and the Scots Irish Diaspora, 1750-1763 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) the Donald Murphy Prize.


Mary Burke

Mary Burke, UConn Associate Professor of English, directs UConn’s Irish Literature Concentration. She is author of “Tinkers”: Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller (Oxford), and has articles forthcoming in James Joyce Quarterly, American Journal of Irish Studies, and LIT. A former NEH Keough-Naughton Fellow at University of Notre Dame and Boston College-Ireland Visiting Research Fellow, she is incoming Chair of the MLA Irish Forum Executive Committee and is former NEACIS President.


Padhraig Higgins

Padhraig Higgins is a Professor of History at Mercer County College, New Jersey.  He is author of A Nation of Politicians: Gender, Patriotism and Political Culture in Late Eighteenth-Century Ireland (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), which was awarded the Donald Murphy Prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies.  He is currently working on a history of poverty and social policy in eighteenth-century Ireland.

joseph lennon

Joseph Lennon

Joseph Lennon is the Director of the Center for Irish Studies and Associate Dean of International and Interdisciplinary Initiatives at Villanova University. His book, Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse UP, 2004) won the Donald Murphy Prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies.  He has published articles on literature and cultural history in journals such as New Hibernia Review, Women’s Studies, The European Legacy, and The Times Literary Supplement, as well as chapters in books on British, Irish, and Indian literature and culture.  Irish publisher, Salmon Poetry published his volume Fell Hunger in 2011, and he has published poems in journals such as The Denver Quarterly, Natural Bridge, Midwest Quarterly, and Poetry Ireland.  His current book project focuses on the beginnings of the modern hunger strike in the early twentieth century in England, Ireland, and India.


Kelly Matthews

Kelly Matthews is Associate Professor of English at Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts.  Her monograph, The Bell Magazine and the Representation of Irish Identity, was published by Four Courts Press (Dublin) in 2012, and she co-edited the collection The Country of the Young: Interpretations of Youth and Childhood in Irish Culture, published by Four Courts Press in 2013.  Her scholarly work has appeared in Éire-Ireland, New Hibernia Review, New Voices in Irish Criticism, and other publications.  She holds degrees from Harvard; Trinity College, Dublin; and the University of Ulster.


Ed McCarron

Ed McCarron is an Associate Professor of History at Stonehill College.   He is originally from Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Maine, but over the years he has lived in a variety of places – from the Florida Panhandle to a rural village in southeast Ireland.  Perhaps for this reason, his research interests have focused on place, community, and the historical landscape, especially viewed through the lens and contours of Irish immigrant communities.  His publications have included articles ranging from an exploration of early Irish settlement in Maine, to a regional case study of Inistioge, County Kilkenny that appeared in the Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape (2nd edition).  With his wife Fidelma he is currently working on a historical atlas of the Nore Tidewater region of County Kilkenny – a river valley that has witnessed an ebb and flow of migration over the centuries.

mary mullen

Mary Mullen

Mary Mullen is an Assistant Professor of English and faculty member in the Irish Studies program at Villanova University.  She is currently completing a book manuscript on anachronisms, institutions, and nineteenth-century English and Irish realism.  Her research has appeared in such journals as New Hibernia Review, Cultural Studies, Eighteenth- Century Fiction, and Victorian Poetry.


James Murphy

Jim Murphy started the Irish Studies Program at Villanova in 1979 and was its Director until his retirement in 2010. He has lectured and published on a range to subjects in modern Irish literature and culture, his special interests being Joyce, Yeats, and Heaney. He still teaches an occasional course in the Irish Studies Program.



Maureen Murphy

Maureen O’Rourke Murphy is the Joseph L. Dionne Professor of Curriculum and Teaching in the School of Education, Health, and Human Services at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. A past president of the American Conference for Irish Studies and a past chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Murphy was one of the six senior editors of the prizewinning Dictionary of Irish Biography published in nine volumes and online by the Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press in 2009. Murphy directed the New York State Great Irish Famine Curriculum Project (2001), which won the National Conference for the Social Studies Excellence Award in 2002; she was the historian of the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. She is currently the historian, with John Ridge, of the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary/Watson House Project.

Murphy edited Irish Literature: A Reader (1987, rev. ed. 2006), with James MacKillop. She also edited Asenath Nicholson’s Annals of the Famine in Ireland (1998) and Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger (2002). She edited Annie O’Donnell’s Your Fondest Annie in 2005.Her biography of Asenath Nicholson, Compassionate Stranger. Asenath Nicholson and the Great Irish Famine was published in 2016.

Murphy  has been awarded honorary degrees by the State University of New York at Cortland and by the National University of Ireland.  She received the President of Ireland’s Award for Service in 2015.


Doris Panzer

Anthropologist Dori Panzer focuses on expressions of cultural identity and heritage in Irish America and Ireland. Her 2015 dissertation, Tiocfaidh Ár Lá (Our Day Will Come): Negotiating the Cultural Politics of Citizenship, Heritage, and Identity in Northern Ireland, details one republican community’s creation of their own heritage of the Troubles. 

gary richardson

Gary Richardson

Gary A. Richardson is Benjamin W. Griffith, Jr.  Professor of English Emeritus at Mercer.  He is author of American Drama: From the Colonial Period through World War I and co-editor (with Stephen Watt) of American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary.  He has written extensively on Irish-American drama and theater.

theresa roney

Theresa Roney

Theresa Roney recently completed an M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies at New York University. Her research on the Irish in Germantown was the basis for her thesis at NYU. She has a B.A. in Theatre and Speech from DeSales University. She was born in Philadelphia and raised in Springfield, Delaware County. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

caroline tatem

Caroline Tatem

Caroline Tatem grew up in southern New Jersey, enjoying glimpses into the colorful world of mummery through her grandfather's yearly participation in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. At Columbia University, she earned her degree in sociocultural Anthropology and Visual Arts. She studied abroad in Paris through Columbia’s Global Scholars Program in 2012, where she discovered her interest in Ireland and performed ethnographic research on the PhotoIreland Festival in Dublin. Upon graduating, she continued her work in visitor services at the contemporary art museum, MoMA PS1.  She taught English abroad in both rural China and the French Alps, and began her Master’s in Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU last year. The research she is presenting is her final project for her course on Black Irish Literature with Professor John Waters. She has recently returned from summer study in Ireland and is beginning her thesis on Irish and American mummers.

john waters

John Waters

John Waters earned a BA in English at Johns Hopkins, an M.Phil in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and MA and PhD degrees in English from Duke University.  After early appointments to English at Wake Forest University, Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, since 2000 he has taught courses across a wide range of fields in English and Irish literary and cultural history while at New York University.  He served as Director of the NYU in Dublin Program for many years, as Director of Undergraduate Studies from 2000-2016, and as inaugural Director of the MA Program in Irish and Irish-American Studies, all  at Glucksman Ireland House, the Center for Irish Studies at NYU.  He's lectured widely in Ireland and the United States, most recently from two books in preparation, on the forms of Irish writing and thought in the Atlantic World.

bill watson

William Watson

Bill Watson received his PhD in European history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. He is Professor of History at Immaculata and Director of the Duffy’s Cut Project.  Among his publications are: Irish-Americans: the History and Culture of a People (ABC-Clio, 2015), The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut (Praeger, 2006), Tricolor and Crescent: France and the Islamic World (Praeger, 2003),  and The Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union (Greenwood, 1998), as well as numerous articles on medieval and modern history.


Riot in Philadelphia. July 7 1844.
Riot in Philadelphia. July 7 1844. From Villanova University’s Digital Library: Pennsylvaniana Collection.
* Who's/Whose Irish? Program.pdf
VU Conference Program

Contact Information

Center for Irish Studies
Villanova University, SAC Room 105E
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Dr. Joseph Lennon
Phone: (610) 519-4647

Assistant Director,
Dr. Jennifer A. Joyce
Phone: (610) 519-8953

Administrative Assistant, 
Kiersten Ludy

Phone: (610) 519-7517

apply now
* Fall 2018 Course Descriptions.pdf
Fall 2018 Course Descriptions