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AIAS & CISA Conference

Politics and Narrative in Ireland’s Decade of Commemorations

Photo: Children of Lir by Oisín Kelly (1971), Garden of Remembrance, Dublin, Ireland
Credit: Sara Dybris McQuaid

23-25 October

This multidisciplinary conference brings together experts in history, film, theatre, classical reception, heritage management, gender studies, politics, and memory studies to examine the impact and significance of events in Ireland during the current decade of centenaries (2012-2022), which mark the anniversaries of major changes in Irish history and society that took place between 1912 and 1922.

Invited experts will examine events both related and unrelated to the Irish government’s official programme of commemorations from a variety of scholarly perspectives. Topics addressed will include: political appropriations of Greek tragedy; competing narratives of the 1916 Rising on film; multi-media public engagement; the differences between scholarly history and public history; the politics of spectatorship as a form of witnessing; the significance of women in politics; the role of ritual in historical narrative; the political narratives of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin; the theoretical differences between commemoration and celebration; and comparative perspectives on postcolonial Ireland and India. This exchange will generate new insights into the current climate of memorialization in Ireland, as the decade of commemorations begins to come to a close, and may serve as a useful comparative study for other contexts of commemoration.


  • Emilie Pine, Associate Professor of Modern Drama and Irish Studies, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland


  • Dominic Bryan, Reader in Political Anthropology, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Stephen Joyce, Associate Professor of English, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Isabel Kusche, Associate Professor (Political Sociology), Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark

  • Laura McAtackney, Associate Professor in Sustainable Heritage Management, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Mary McAuliffe, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland

  • Fearghal McGarry, Professor of History, Queen’s University Belfast, Republic of Ireland

  • Sara Dybris McQuaid, Associate Professor in British and Irish History, Society and Culture and Director, Centre for Irish Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Isabelle Torrance, Associate Professor (Classics and Classical Reception), Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark


The conference is open to all and participation in the talks is free of charge. If you wish to join the conference including catering, registration is mandatory. A no-show-fee of DKK 200,- will apply for registered participants who do not show up.


Deadline for registration is 16 October 2018 12 PM.


Tuesday, 23 October

17:00–18:30: Welcome and Keynote by Emilie Pine (University College Dublin):
'The Memory Marketplace: Gender, Witnessing and Performance’ (AIAS auditorium)

18:30-19:30: Opening of 'Voice and Vote Exhibition' by Irish Ambassador Cliona Manahan and Welcome reception (AIAS atrium)    

Wednesday, 24 October

08:30-09:00: Registration and coffee

09:00-09:15: Welcome 

Session 1: Politics and History Chair: Sara Dybris McQuaid

09.15-10.00: Fearghal McGarry (Queen’s University Belfast):
 ‘Complicating the Narrative: Historians and the Centenary of 1916’

10:00-10:45: Isabel Kusche (Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities):
‘The Irish Republic after the Crisis: Commemorating the Easter Rising in the 2016 Election Campaign’ 

10:45-11:00: Coffee break 

Session 2: Politics and Narrative on Stage and on Screen Chair: Emilie Pine

11:00-11:45: Isabelle Torrance (Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies):
 ‘Oedipus in Derry (2013) and in Dublin (2015): Political Readings of Greek Tragedy North and South of the Irish Border’

11:45-12:45: Stephen Joyce (Aarhus University):
 ‘The Centenary on Screen: Transnational Productions of the Easter Rising’ 

12:45-13:30: Lunch break 

Session 3: Remembering Women Chair: Isabel Kusche

13:30-14:15: Mary McAuliffe (University College Dublin):
 ‘The Going Was Rough on the Female Sex: Gendered and Sexual Violence, 1919-1923’

14:15-15:00: Laura McAtackney (Aarhus University):
‘Thoughts on the Sustainability of Remembering Women from the Decade of Commemorations’ 

15:00-15:15: Coffee break 

Session 4: Narrative Transmission, National and International Chair: Isabelle Torrance

15:15-16:00: Dominic Bryan (Queen’s University, Belfast):
 ‘Memory, Identity and a Decade of Centenaries in Ireland: The Role of Ritual in the Transmission of Historical Narrative’

16:00-16:45: Sara Dybris McQuaid (Aarhus University):
 ‘Remembering the 1916 Easter Rising and the End of Empire: Transnational Templates of Irish and Indian freedom struggles’ 

19:00-22:00: Speaker dinner at ARoS 

Thursday, 25 October (Centre for Irish Studies, English Department, Nobelparken)

09:30-13:00: Author’s workshop (speakers only)

13:00-14:00: Lunch for workshop participants   




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