Last update: 2013-04-12

Scholarcast 28: Ireland, Empire and the Archipelago

2013-04-12 :: Nicholas Allen
By 1916 the British Empire was at a point of crisis. The beginning of the First World War marked the end of a half-century of expansion in trade and speculation that made the empire a global network for the exchange of capital. Consequently, the foundations of Irish separatism were built in movements antagonistic to world trade. Self-help, folk culture and native language were conceived as late compensation for human losses incurred by the displacement of local resources into the global flow. Irish culture had its own recent and bitter evidence for the decimation of an imperial attachment. The memory of the famine inhabited the same cultural space as the increasing import of traded goods in the second half of the ninteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. So it is that James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’ pictures the legacy of hunger through the imagination of a meal. If this first wave of globalization came to an end in Britain with the declaration of war in 1914, it suffered fatal arrest in Ireland in 1916. Reaction to the global empire underpinned the cultural and political movements that fed the rebellion. The Easter Rising was a product of the old order and a siren of the revolutions still to come.…

Scholarcast 27: 'All Changed, Changed Utterly': Easter 1916 and America

2012-02-20 :: Robert Schmuhl
When P.H. Pearse proclaimed 'The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic' on Easter Monday 1916, he acknowledged that Ireland of the Rising was 'supported by her exiled children in America'. What assistance did these "exiled children" provide, and how did people in America react to the Easter Rising? This Scholarcast considers these questions by focusing on three individuals central to America's involvement and response. John Devoy, an exile in New York and keeper of the Fenian flame, raised money for the rebel cause and knew several leaders from their visits to America. Joyce Kilmer, who considered himself Irish (though his actual heritage brought that assertion into question), wrote both journalistic articles and poetry about the Rising and its significance for American readers. Woodrow Wilson, U.S. president in 1916 and candidate for re-election that November, sought to avoid international problems with domestic political implications, deliberately keeping his distance from a matter he considered internal to Great Britain. This Scholarcast probes the Easter Rising's American connections. …

Scholarcast 26: Perspectives on Popular Music in Ireland from the 1960s to the mid-1970s

2011-08-31 :: Paul Brady
In this Scholarcast Paul Brady reflects on his early childhood encounters with music and on the importance of popular music in the 1960s to the formation of his own musical consciousness.  He recounts his earliest experiences playing with various  R ‘n’ B bands during his time as a student at UCD. In 1967 Brady joined The Johnstons whose combination of traditional Irish music with newer trends in folk music brought international success. Having distinguished himself as one of the most talented singers and accompanists of his generation he was invited by piper Liam O’Flynn to join Planxty in 1974.  Although deeply committed to traditional music, Brady stresses the importance of individual musical vision and the constant need for renewal and innovation.…

Scholarcast 24: England Versus English Literature

2011-05-27 :: Michael Gardiner
This presentation looks at the relationship between England and the British discipline of English Literature, whose origin, it argues, owes much to the state unification of Britain between 1790 and 1815, particularly informed by an anti-French-Revolutionary Burkean philosophy which was defined by opposition to a written constitution, and by opposition to the national. It suggests that English Literature is stuck in this Burkean-organic-deep-conservative moment in terms of its methodology and its idea of a canonicity – but that the gradual crumbling of British empire after 1919, from the late 1950s, and then during devolution, has re-created England as a place able to overwhelm the British-imperial ideal space which was created for it. The presentation looks forward finally to a more open-ended and action-oriented, and less managerial and imperial, national literature of England.…

Scholarcast 25: 'Dreaming of the Islands': The Poetry of the Shipping Forecast

2011-05-27 :: John Brannigan
This lecture examines poems which make reference to the Shipping Forecast, as broadcast by BBC Radio Four, including poems by Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Street, Andrew McNeillie, and Andrew Waterman. The aim of the lecture is to consider how both the radio broadcast and the poems it inspired conceptualise the cultural geography of the British Isles. If culture is, as Wendy James has argued, 'adverbial' rather than 'nominal', what kind of cultural geography of the Isles is practised in the poems which draw upon the forecast's daily and nightly ritual of naming the sea areas around Britain and Ireland? How might this maritime and archipelagic imagination of the Isles be related to current post-devolutionary attempts to reconceive the British Isles, both politically and intellectually? All of the poems revel in the forecast's litany of names such as Dogger, Fastnet, Lundy, Heligoland and Finisterre, for example, which do not evoke places so much as they imply ideas of untapped spatial and cultural possibility within the British Isles. Might there be a utopian dimension to some of these poetic visions of the archipelago? On the other hand, some of the poems juxtapose domestic and maritime settings, and dramatise a tension between the safe and comfortable houses or beds in which listeners enjoy the broadcasts, and the exoticised coastal margins of the Isles in which the forecasts may be merely the 'cold poetry of information'.…

Scholarcast 22: Sensation and Modernity in the 1860s

2010-12-10 :: Nick Daly
In this episode Nicholas Daly reads from the Introduction to his book Sensation and Modernity in the 1860's published by Cambridge University Press. This is a study of high and low culture in the years before the Reform Act of 1867, which vastly increased the number of voters in Victorian Britain. As many commentators worried about the political consequences of this 'Leap in the Dark', authors and artists began to re-evaluate their own role in a democratic society that was also becoming more urban and more anonymous. While some fantasized about ways of capturing and holding the attention of the masses, others preferred to make art and literature more exclusive, to shut out the crowd. One path led to 'Sensation'; the other to aestheticism, though there were also efforts to evade this opposition. This book examines the fiction, drama, fine art, and ephemeral forms of these years against the backdrop of Reform. Authors and artists studied include Wilkie Collins, Dion Boucicault, Charles Dickens, James McNeill Whistler, and the popular illustrator, Alfred Concanen. …

Scholarcast 23: Pliny's Encyclopedia: The reception of the natural history

2010-12-10 :: Aude Doody
In his episode Aude Doody reads from the Introduction to Pliny’s Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Natural History, published by Cambridge University Press. The Elder Pliny's Natural History is one of the largest and most extraordinary works to survive from antiquity. It has often been referred to as an encyclopedia, usually without full awareness of what such a characterisation implies. In this book, Dr Doody examines this concept and its applicability to the work, paying far more attention than ever before to the varying ways in which it has been read during the last two thousand years, especially by Francis Bacon and Denis Diderot. This book makes a major contribution not just to the study of the Elder Pliny but to our understanding of the cultural processes of ordering knowledge widespread in the Roman Empire and to the reception of classical literature and ideas.…

Scholarcast 21: Scottish and Irish Second World War Poetry

2010-08-04 :: Peter Mackay
The relationship between the poetic and the national is crucial to how war poetry is perceived and interpreted. This essay looks at Second World War (and wartime) poetry from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and in particular at images of absence, cancellation, annulment and denial, to explore differences in each poetry between how the war and the role of the poet in the war are constructed. …

Scholarcast 20: Alright, Jack? Conflict and Cohesion in Britain, 2005-10

2010-07-12 :: Nick Groom
Nick Groom's study of the union, The Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, was published in 2006. In this paper, he brings that story up to the present day by surveying the past five years of Union Jackery, from Gordon Brown's initial enthusiasm for new definitions of Britishness through ongoing redefinitions of the iconic image of the flag to the almost complete absence of issues of national identity in the debates preceding the 2010 UK General Election. …

Scholarcast 19: Four Nations Feminism: Una Troy and Menna Gallie

2010-06-28 :: Claire Connolly
The emergence of four nations framework in literary and historical scholarship has helped us to arrive at a fuller understanding of the complex and overlapping histories of the islands of Britain and Ireland, while recent research into Wales and Ireland in particular has helped to make the map of our relations more fully comprehensible. But what is the relevance and meaning of the four nations context for womens writing in Ireland and Wales? What part does gender play in the interconnected histories of Wales and Ireland, and how are questions of sexual and artistic identity addressed within texts that imagine British-Irish history in gendered terms? This lecture identifies finds evidence of a feminist reimagining of archipelagic relationships by two writers: Munster novelist and playwright Una Troy, and Welsh writer Menna Gallie, born into a mining community on the western edge of the South Wales coalfields. Both Troy and Gallie wrote novels that deploy plots of female friendship to interrogate the relationship between gender and national affiliation in a four nations context.…

Scholarcast 18: Dynamism, deixis and cultural positioning in some contemporary poetry

2010-05-27 :: Alice Entwistle
Among the many divergent strands of Irish and Welsh cultural history, one commonality stands out: the profoundly self-conscious preoccupation with nationality and nationhood. For decades, political and cultural thinkers have troped this concern in the spatialized relation between centre and periphery. This paper finds poets working on both sides of the Irish Sea strategically critiquing the exhausted-seeming dialectic of the centre-periphery paradigm, in their anti-deterministic deployment of deixis, the term assigned by cognitive linguists to words which point or position. The few existing studies of deixis in poetry typically presume on its unvarying functional effect: to situate and anchor the voice(s) and environment(s) of the poetic text. Interestingly, poets like Catherine Walsh and Zoe Skoulding, writing out of Ireland and North Wales respectively, call that assumption into question. Both these poets use deictic signifiers in ways which deliberately, arguably self-protectively, fail to fix their texts in a range of potential cultural contexts.…

Scholarcast 17: Professions of English diaspora

2010-05-20 :: Julian Wolfreys
In '"I have only one culture and it is not mine": Professions of English diaspora', Julian Wolfreys engages in acts of memory-work, to recover, through a focus on the voice as mnemotechnic and anamnesiac trace, the occluded and marginalized cultural differences of the regional English. Through a reflection on the work of the literary as archive and and the role folk song and folk culture play in the spectral maintenance of different Englishnesses over a thousand year period, Wolfreys argues that at a time when a national agenda for national identity is more urgently damaging than ever, turning to the embedded traces of different, pre-industrial pasts, offers modes of perception and representation that are based on equalities, rather than hierarchies of difference.…

Scholarcast 16: Poems and Paradigms

2010-05-06 :: Edna Longley
In Poems and Paradigms Edna Longley argues that the archipelagic paradigm is crucial to the criticism of modern poetry in English. Quoting John Kerrigan on the expansive, multi-levelled, polycentric aspects of the literary and cultural field, she discussed five poems which display their archipelagic co-ordinates on the surface: W.B. Yeats’s Under Saturn (1919), Philip Larkin’s The Importance of Elsewhere (1955), W.S. Graham’s Loch Thom (1977), Edward Thomas’s The Ash Grove (1916) and Louis MacNeice’s Carrick Revisited (1945). For Longley, the poems’ deeper aesthetic dynamics epitomise how influences move around within the archipelago, and she particularly emphasises serial transformations of Wordsworth and Yeats. She sees archipelagic and national paradigms as complementary, but criticises the way in which national poetic canons marginalise border cases’, saying: If a poem doesn’t fit the paradigm, change the paradigm. She goes on to suggest that, in the mid twentieth century, the aesthetic significance of Yeats’s mature poetry was most significantly absorbed by MacNeice and by English poets such as Auden, Larkin, Ted Hughes and Geoffrey Hill. She ends by proposing that all this throws light on the archipelagic sources of Northern Irish poetry.…

Scholarcast 15: Old and New Media After Katrina

2010-04-15 :: Diane Negra
In this episode Diane Negra reads from the Introduction of Old and New Media after Katrina published by Palgrave Macmillan. This pioneering collection explores the relationship between Hurricane Katrina and a range of media forms, assessing how mainstream and independent media have responded sometimes innovatively, sometimes conservatively to the political and social ruptures Katrina has come to represent. Looking closely at the organization of public memory of Katrina, this collection provides a timely and intellectually fruitful assessment of the complex ways in which media forms and national events are currently entangled.The contributors explore how Hurricane Katrina is positioned at the intersection of numerous early twenty-first century crisis narratives centralizing uncertainties about race, class, region, government and public safety.…

Scholarcast 14: Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland

2009-12-16 :: Diarmaid Ferriter
In this episode Diarmaid Ferriter reads from chapter six of his latest book Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland published by Profile Books. Using a huge variety of different sources, Occasions of Sin charts the Irish sexual experience over the course of the twentieth century. In tackling the public and private worlds of Irish sex, this book is groundbreaking in its scope and ambition, covering such subjects as abortion, pregnancy, celibacy, contraception, censorship, infanticide, homosexuality, prostitution, marriage, popular culture, social life and the various hidden Irelands associated with sex and sexual abuse. The book energetically and originally engages with subjects traditionally omitted from the mainstream historical narrative. It also details the interaction between church, state, politicians, lobby groups and private individuals as debates raged over family planning, marriage, gay rights and the role of the media.…

Scholarcast 13: Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living

2009-06-05 :: Declan Kiberd
In this episode Declan Kiberd reads the closing chapter of his latest book Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living published by Faber and Faber. Kiberd shows that Ulysses, far from being the epitome of elitism, was always intended as a book for the common people. It was rooted in their experience and offers a humane vision of a decent life under the dreadful pressures of the modern world. Leopold Bloom, the book’s hero, shows the young Stephen Dedalus how he can grow and mature as an artist and as a tolerant, adult human being. Bloom has learned to live with contradictions, with anxiety and sexual jealousy, and with the rudeness and racism of the people he encounters in the streets of Dublin. Apparently banal, he embodies an intensely ordinary kind of wisdom, and in this way offers us a model for living well.…

Scholarcast 8: Filming Friel: Lughnasa on Screen

2008-12-03 :: Frank McGuinness
Frank McGuinness speaks of his experience of adapting Brian Friel’s Dancing At Lughnasa for the screen, with Meryl Streep in the leading role. Friel has appeared to shy away from film for most of his distinguished career but was deeply influenced by the wider revolutions in acting, writing and directing across all media during the 1960s when modern sensibility took shape. Friel’s writing may have been influenced by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller but it also owes a debt to powerful films such as Kurosawa’s Rashomon. By reducing the role of the narrator and repositioning the climactic dance sequence, McGuinness attempted to translate what he regarded as a ‘male’ play into ‘a woman’s movie’.…

Scholarcast Series 2: Introduction by Ian Russell

2008-12-03 :: Ian Russell
Ian Russell introduces Series 2 of UCDscholarcast. In the summer of 2008, Ian Russell curated a series of contemporary art projects entitled Abhar agus Meon as part of Ireland’s hosting of the Sixth World Archaeological Congress at University College Dublin. The projects were placed in the shared spaces between the contemporary arts, archaeology and heritage in Ireland. This introduction is a reflective statement and contextualization of the projects and the intellectual history of the relationship between art and archaeology.…

Scholarcast 9: Art to Archaeology to Archaeology to Art

2008-12-03 :: Douglass Bailey
Professor Bailey discusses the various relationships between art and archaeology, and argues that the most exciting current work is pushing hard against the boundaries of both disciplines. His proposal is for archaeologists and artists to take big risks in their work and to cut loose the restraints of their traditional subject boundaries. The result will be work that is neither art nor archaeology, but something else altogether and something that can take the study of human nature into uncharted and exciting new territories.…

Scholarcast 10: Dust and Debitage: An Archaeology of Francis Bacon's Studio

2008-12-03 :: Blaze O'Connor
This short paper offers a personal reflection based on the author’s involvement in the reconstruction phase of the Francis Bacon studio project. During this project, archaeologists were employed to deconstruct or ‘excavate’ the contents of Francis Bacon’s painting studio in London, and meticulously reconstruct the room at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. The studio had long been renowned for its wondrously chaotic contents, its floor strewn with the debris of his creative practice, and its walls - which played the role of artist’s pallete - embellished with vibrant pigments. The paper draws on ‘rubbish theory’ relating to the aesthetics of industrial ruins exemplified in the work of Tim Edensor. This research provides a way of exploring why Bacon may have found working in the archaeological equivalent of a ‘midden’ both an efficacious and enjoyable process.…

Scholarcast 11: Art and Archaeology: Reflections of an Artist/Curator

2008-12-03 :: Kevin O'Dwyer
The presentation is based on my own experience as an artist/practitioner and the experience gained as Director/curator of Sculpture in the Parklands working with both Irish and international artists who have created new artworks that respond to the rich environmental, archaeological and industrial history of Lough Boora, County Offaly. For over 25 years my artwork has explored the subtleties of ritual and imagination. I create artefacts that often combine the textured surfaces and flowing lines of our past with the strong and austere forms of modern architecture. The ultimate goal is to create a work of art that is timeless, thought provoking and responsive to the human spirit. As Director and curator of Sculpture in the Parklands I have been an observer of artistic practice as opposed to directly involved in it. The sculpture park is located in a cut away bog that has been brought back to life over the past ten years through the introduction of lakes and wetland habitats. The sculpture project has added another layer of engagement for visitors to the area by combining visual and conceptual interpretations of geography, landscape, the industrial history of peat harvesting and the people who had lived and worked there. Besides permanent or time based work, the project has a commitment to commissioning video artists, composers, writers and performance artists to interpret and document this unique landscape, archaeology and industrial history.…

Scholarcast 12: Archaeoclash: Manifesting Art and Archaeology

2008-12-03 :: Ian Russell and Andrew Cochrane
Is archaeology a science? Is archaeology a humanity? What are the politics of spectatorship and archaeological representation? These initial thoughts form the basis for our archaeological explorations. Within current archaeological discourse, there are a growing number of requests for expressions, which illuminate and expose the interpretive and artistic qualities of presentation and narration. Yet few scholars actively utilise expressive practice to explore these philosophical issues. As such, we feel that this is an opportune time to intervene in the visual and textual discourse by issuing a manifesto for our project, building upon our previous works (e.g. Cochrane and Russell 2007). We call for the development of a critically reflexive practice of visual archaeological expressionism, which seeks to contest traditional modes of thought and action.…

Scholarcast 7: Globalising Irish Music

2008-04-28 :: Bill Whelan
Over the last three decades Bill Whelan has been at the heart of many exciting moments of extraordinary innovation in Irish music across the genres from traditional to rock. Here he documents and considers his varied career to date, from jobbing session musician in the early 1970s to Grammy Award winner in 1997. Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine are recalled as seminal influences on his music during the Planxty years while the founding of Windmill Lane Studios in the 1980s is seen as a landmark moment in the evolution of Irish music across the spectrum. Whelan reflects on Riverdance from inception to global reception. At a time of rapid cultural change he welcomes the creative possibilities brought on by recent immigration to Ireland and argues for the importance of a robust Irish musical tradition.…

Scholarcast 6: Hollywood and Contemporary Irish Drama

2008-04-14 :: Paige Reynolds
This lecture examines how contemporary Irish playwrights depict and how they engage the cinematic and narrative patterns we’ve come to associate with American movies. Donal O’Kelly’s Catalpa (1995), Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan (1996), Marie Jones’s Stones in His Pockets (1999), and Geraldine Hughes’s Belfast Blues (2003) grapple with the effects of Hollywood on their characters and on Irish society. Despite frequently depicting individuals thwarted in their pursuit of big screen success, these plays maintain a surprising optimism about Hollywood. This suggests the American film industry provides a productive tool for exploring Irish identity and history in a moment of rapidly changing, globalized popular culture. …

Scholarcast 5: Neutrality and Popular Culture

2008-04-08 :: Clair Wills
This lecture explores forms of popular culture that developed in Ireland during the Second World War. Comparisons are drawn with Britain, where radio and cinema assume tremendous importance in the war years. In Ireland the major developments are in amateur drama, reading groups, beginnings of film and journalism. Particular attention is focused on the very specific relationship between high and popular culture which develops in both Britain and Ireland at this time due to the fact that many 'high cultural' writers are taking on mediated jobs in radio broadcasting. Consideration is also given to the role of The Bell and other cultural movements in strengthening the consensus on behalf of neutrality in Ireland.…

Scholarcast 4: Anne Fogarty - James Joyce and Popular Culture

2008-03-27 :: Anne Fogarty
James Joyce’s works abound in references to popular culture. They depict such works as part of the very fabric of modern consciousness. Frequently, Joyce deploys allusions to popular entertainment as a means of underlining the debasement and vulgarity of contemporary existence. But also crucially, in the manner of Walter Benjamin, he depicts popular culture as a site of resistance and the very basis by which his characters may contest the enervating effects of capitalism and of political imperialisms.…

Scholarcast 2: Elaine Sisson - The Boy as National Hero: The legacy of Cuchulainn

2008-03-14 :: Elaine Sisson
This lecture is focused primarily on the pre-revolutionary period in Ireland and looks at the cultural and visual significance of the image of the boy within Irish nationalist discourse.…

Scholarcast 3: Eddie Holt - W.B. Yeats, Journalism and the Revival

2008-03-14 :: Eddie Holt
This lecture examines W.B. Yeats’s not inconsiderable body of writing for the newspapers which ranges from literary journalism to letters to the editor. Attention will focus on the tensions between his clear commitment to journalistic practice and his own avowed hostility to ‘the Ireland of the newspapers’.…

Scholarcast 1: PJ Mathews - Doing Something Irish: From Thomas Moore to Riverdance

2008-03-12 :: PJ Mathews
Like Moore’s Melodies, Bill Whelan’s Riverdance has become the stable signifier of a complex cultural moment. The innovation and appeal of his music lies in his ability to interrogate and transcend the highly compartmentalised divisions within Irish music which can be traced back to Yeats’s rejection of Moore’s songs.…

Scholarcast Series 1 Introduction

2008-03-11 :: PJ Mathews
PJ Mathews introduces Series 1 of UCDscholarcast…

Scholarcast 29: The Prisons Memory Archive

1969-12-31 :: Cahal McLaughlin
The Prisons Memory Archive is a collection of 170 filmed interviews inside Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh Prison. Utilising protocols of inclusivity, co-ownership and life-storytelling, the PMA recorded participants, including prison staff, prisoners, chaplains, teachers and visitors, as they walked-and-talked their way around the empty sites of these prisons, which had operated during the political violence of the last third of the 20th century in Northern Ireland.…

About this podcast:


UCDscholarcast provides downloadable lectures, recorded to the highest broadcast standards to a wide academic audience of scholars, graduate students, undergraduates and interested others. Each scholarcast is accompanied by a downloadable pdf text version of the lecture to facilitate citation of scholarcast content in written academic work. Series Editor: PJ Mathews Scholarcast theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey. Development: John Matthews, Brian Kelly, Vincent Hoban, Niall Watts, UCD IT Services, Media Services Series 1 and 2 Consultant Producer: Cliodhna Ni Anluain, RTE