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Center for Irish Studies Fosters Powerful Conversations about Brexit, Literature, Irish Athletes and More in Spring 2021 Event Lineup

VILLANOVA, Pa – Villanova University’s Center for Irish Studies is offering a diverse array of events throughout the spring semester, fostering powerful conversations at the intersections of race, culture, politics and the creative arts. All events are free, open to the public and held virtually via Zoom.

Shirley Wong, PhD, "Contemporary Irish Poetry and the Creative Economy"
Monday, Feb. 15
Zoom, 7 p.m.

How does poetry—or poetry that memorializes a specific event, such as a funeral or military victory—dramatize the capitalist crisis of contemporary Irish literature? Shirley Wong, PhD, aims to answer this question. Drawing from her forthcoming book on globalization, place and contemporary Irish poetry, Dr. Wong will discuss how Irish poets exploit occasional poems’ historic ties to an event in order to critique Ireland’s creative economy schemes.

Louisa Joyner, PhD, Discusses Award-winning Novel Milkman
Tuesday, Feb. 23
Zoom, 9:35 a.m.

Louisa Joyner, PhD, associate publisher at Faber and the editor of Anna Burns’ novel Milkman— which won the 2018 Booker Prize—will discuss the way Burns deals with language, conflict and the female gaze in the novel, as well as the book’s editing process and its reception by the public. Dr. Joyner, who earned her doctorate in post 1990s American fiction, joined Faber in 2016 as editorial director—her latest position in a career that has included roles at Canongate Books, Harper Collins, Virgin Books and Atlantic Books

"The Complexities of Learning a 'Dying' Language: Irish Language in the United States" Panel Discussion
Wednesday, March 3
Zoom, at 5 p.m.

Former Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Alene O' Malley chairs a discussion on the current state of the Irish language in Ireland and internationally. Panel guests, Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew, PhD, and Chris Finnegan, will discuss the challenges facing non-native learners and the merits of learning a perceived dying language. Dr. Blyn-LaDrew has studied in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Newfoundland, earning her bachelors from Harvard University and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of, Clóicín Dearg (2001), an Irish translation of Little Red Riding Hood, and writes regularly for the Irish Edition.

Chris Finnegan is a musician and orchestra director. A classically trained musician, Finnegan studied Irish music at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and studied uillean pipes with Bill Ochs at the Irish Arts Center. He currently performs with several bands and as a solo artist.

O'Malley is offering the University’s first online Irish language course for adult and part-time learners through the Fast Forward program in Villanova University’s College of Professional Studies.

Irish Pipeline: Irish Athletes at Villanova
Thursday, March 4
Via Zoom, 4 p.m.

The “Irish Pipeline” began in 1948 with Jimmy Reardon, when he became the first Irish runner and international athlete to accept an American track and field scholarship to Villanova University. Between 1948 and 2001, 25 Irish athletes came through the “Irish Pipeline,” including 12 Olympians and six world record-breakers. Irish Pipeline athlete Marcus O’Sullivan ’84 VSB, four-time Olympic miler and Villanova’s head track coach since 2000, and Beaudry Allen, Falvey Library preservation and digital archivist, will join the discussion.

Virtual Symposium: “The Northern Ireland Peace Process after Brexit”
Friday, March 12
Zoom, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., registration details are forthcoming

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has posed profound challenges for the Northern Ireland peace process and significant implications for the constitutional future of the region and politics in Ireland. These challenges have triggered intense engagement from political leaders and scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, with critical alliances emerging between Ireland and the US to protect the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. To examine these challenges, Villanova University’s Center for Irish Studies will present “The Northern Ireland Peace Process after Brexit,” a one-day virtual symposium.

Villanova St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: “Links Across the Atlantic”
Wednesday, March 17
Zoom, registration details are forthcoming

In partnership with the Villanova University Alumni Association, the Center will host an international celebration for St. Patrick's Day on March 17, 2021. This three-part event will include live segments from breakfast in Galway to lunch in Dublin and will culminate in streamed musical sessions in the evening, featuring artists such as We Banjo 3!

Hannah Khalil's The Scar Test
March 25 – 28, April 1 – 4
Villanova Theatre online

The 2021 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies Hannah Khalil's play The Scar Test takes you inside one of England's migrant detention centers, exposing the conditions the inmates must endure while awaiting a decision on their fate. Based on verbatim interviews from current and former detainees, the play spotlights the harrowing ordeals of the female migrants seeking refuge in Britain. This event is in partnership with Villanova Theatre and the Villanova Literary Festival and features two talkback events with Hannah Khalil.

An Evening with Heimbold Chair, Hannah Khalil
Thursday, April 15
Time and Zoom link are forthcoming

The 2021 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies Hannah Khalil will read and discuss her work with faculty from the Center for Irish Studies and the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies.

The event is co-sponsored by the Falvey Memorial Library.

About the Villanova Center for Irish Studies: The Center for Irish Studies at Villanova University has been a leader for four decades in interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship on Ireland in a global framework. The Center connects students to local community organizations while also preparing them to become citizens equipped to take on the world’s most pressing challenges. Through liberal arts-focused academics, multi-disciplinary scholarship and key partnerships, the Center provides students with research, study abroad and employment opportunities.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.