Marginal Irish Modernisms


About Marginal Irish Modernisms

Established in 2015, Marginal Irish Modernisms is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project

The established account of Irish Modernism is that after 700 years of colonisation, Ireland was a fractured country, its population and culture alienated to the point of trauma. Irish society in the nineteenth century was thus already ‘Modernist’ and already predisposed to the processes of displacement and decentring that would, in time, come to constitute the cornerstones of the international Modernist movement.

This model has largely determined the trajectory of debates on subsequent Irish history. It is as a response to Modernist dislocation and fragmentation that all future developments, involving independence, emigration, war and scandal, come into focus.

Although compelling, this account does not do justice to the richness or the complexity of Irish Modernism during the fervent decades after 1879. Many figures of potential importance, as well as many ideas of potential relevance, are routinely relegated to the margins of debate or dismissed entirely as irrelevant.

This project is looking at Marginal Irish Modernisms is looking to reconsider Irish Modernism through ideas, practices, texts and events from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – a crucial period in Irish history. Such an intervention will in turn contribute to the re-imagination of subsequent Irish history and to the reorientation of its current status.

As part of this Arts and Humanities Research Council project, academics from Liverpool John Moores University are working in partnership with researchers from St Mary’s University, Twickenham and from Trinity College, Dublin.

In the longer term, the project aims to redefine Irish Modernism in ways that resonate throughout the international Irish Studies community. The Network will also have an impact on the wider perception of Irish identity in the modern era.

How does Marginal Irish Modernisms plan to achieve this?

Marginal Irish Modernisms will provide a forum for emerging researchers to present work within a supportive atmosphere and dedicated postgraduate events. Each of the academic events will also feature a programme of outreach and public engagement activities, including public lectures, performances and exhibitions. 

Links will be established with journals, publishers and international scholarly associations for follow-on projects, such as transnational collaborative funding, a monograph series, a regular conference and a dedicated journal.