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Villanova University Launches Center for Irish Studies with Inaugural Conference

Villanova University Launches Center for Irish Studies with Inaugural Conference

Villanova University’s Center for Irish Studies, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, welcomed roughly 60 attendees to its Inaugural Conference October 15. Titled, “Whose/Whose Irish? : Philadelphia Stories from Penn to the Present” the day-long event, held on the University’s Main Campus, featured four panels presenting new research on Philadelphia Irish history and culture.  The research ranged from 18th century “Scots-Irish” immigration to hostilities against post-Famine Catholic Irish.

Opening remarks were made by Joseph Lennon, Ph.D., Villanova’s Associate Dean, International and Interdisciplinary Initiatives, and the Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies. The Plenary Address, “Three Philadelphia Stories,” was given by Kevin Kenny, Ph.D., Boston College.

Presentations included topics as wide-ranging as “Hiding in Plain Sight: Unearthing History in Nineteenth-Century Germantown, Philadelphia,” “Duffy’s Cut,” and “Grace Kelly, Philadelphia and the Postwar Politics of Fashion and Beauty.”

Villanovan panel moderators included Joseph Lennon, Craig Bailey, Ph.D., Megan Quigley, Ph.D., and Mary Mullen, Ph.D. Presenters included Maureen Murphy, Ph.D., from Hofstra University, Mary Burke, Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, John Waters, Ph.D., from New York University, and Kelly Matthews from Framingham State University.  To learn more about Villanova’s Center for Irish Studies and to view the full conference program click here.

“We were very pleased with the mingling of the many Irish groups, Villanovans, and academics,” said Lennon. “The range of papers presented at the conference attested to the depth of research on the overlapping histories and cultures of Ireland and the Philadelphia area.” 

Prior to the start of the conference on Oct. 14, attendees were invited to a special “Villanova Night” Abbey Theatre on tour performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia to celebrate the official launch of the Villanova Center for Irish Studies.

“We look forward to developing our Center for Irish Studies, particularly our relationship with the Abbey Theatre, in the coming months and years,” Lennon said.