Call for Papers: Images and Perceptions of South America, Central America and the Caribbean in Irish Culture


The University of Limoges [Université de Limoges, 33 rue François Mitterrand, Limoges, France] has extended an invitation to submit papers for a workshop entitled Images and Perceptions of South America, Central America and the Caribbean in Irish Culture. The keynote speaker will be Sarah O’Brien (Trinity College Dublin). The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2018.

Description: Irish studies have already explored in depth the relations between the United States, Canada and Ireland, and the influence and transfers from one to the other in Irish and North American culture. However, studies on the image and perception of Central and Latin Americans in Irish culture are rare. We, therefore, decided to organise this workshop with the aim of exploring the impact, influence and trace of the Americas in Irish culture.

The Latin American Irish diaspora is the fifth largest in the world. The presence of the Irish is particularly strong in Argentina and Uruguay, where there are 50 000 immigrants of Irish origin, and in the Caribbean: the island of Montserrat was a refuge for Irish Catholics and their culture has continued to thrive since 1632.

The historical links that bind Ireland to South and Central America and the Caribbean are associated with the context of colonial and postcolonial tensions that are part of the fabric of Irish and English history, and to a lesser extent the history of Spain, a country in which many Irish settled before migrating to South America. The first Irish landed on the coast of South America as early as the 16th century, following in the wake of Magellan on his circumnavigation of the world. Later, in 1612, James and Philip Porcell established a plantation at the mouth of the river Amazon. There followed a period of emigration, as people searched for new lands and better living conditions. The Irish were also used as slaves, sent to English plantations in America, and some would later participate in the slave trade in the Caribbean. Many Irish clerics set up missions in South America to evangelise the continent. Others chose to fight in the armed conflicts being waged in various countries such as Mexico between 1846 and 1848, and Cuba, with Che Guevara, whose great-grandfather was Irish …

Thus, the aim of this workshop will be to explore the links, both past and present, which bind Ireland to Central and South America through the images which the Irish hold of this part of the world, its diaspora, its history, its legacy, and their exchanges, with particular emphasis on the cultural dimension. What are the bonds between Ireland and these lands of emigration? How do the Irish perceive them, represent them in their art, their media, and their sports? This study will be conducted by analysing articles written by the diaspora in Spanish, English and Gaelic in newspapers like The Southern Cross, founded in 1875 and still in circulation today, and The Standard, which was published in Buenos Aires and last appeared in 1959.

For the purposes of this workshop, the term culture may be understood in its broadest sense: cinema, literature, theatre, the media, photography, art, architecture, fashion, music, gastronomy, sport etc. Transdisciplinary approaches combining, for example, sociological, aesthetic, historical and literary elements are welcomed. Avenues to be explored could include: the diaspora, transnationalism, emigration, representations of figures from elsewhere, transatlantic relations based on the notion of ‘itineraries’ as a personal or collective, symbolic or real, phenomenon. The part played by the national and transnational imaginary on this cultural and symbolic production could also be analysed.

Themes that could be examined include:

– Real and/or imaginary images of territories and frontiers.

– Interpretation and construction of the foreign land/homeland in art.

– Questions of identity, nationalism, memory and commemoration.

– Participation of the Irish in nationalist South American wars, echoes of Irish history?

– Pictorial and photographic representations of the Central and South American Irish.

– Culture, hybridity and blending.

– Place and role of Irish exiles in the slave trade and in piracy (Anne Bonny). [See image above.]

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for sharing this link. For more information, see]

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