Research interests: Irish Studies
My initial interest in Ireland was triggered by the work of James Joyce and by the extraordinary Irish self-image expressed in the Irish Literary Renaissance. As I prepared my PhD thesis on the subject I found out how long and intensely twisted the roots of national/cultural identity and confrontation are in Irish history.
Set apart from the European mainland, largely unaffected by geopolitical upheavals on the continent (Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler), and locked in a painful embrace with its "Significant Other" Britain, Ireland still presents, to my mind, one of the most interesting European test cases for the historical analysis of cultural conflict and national identity.
My work base in Amsterdam has taken me into different geographical areas, but the interest remains, even though access to relevant sources and involvement in ongoing discussions is more tenuous from here. I have become particularly interested in theoretically re-assessing the relations between the Gaelic and English-language traditions of Ireland in terms of Actor-Network theory, cultural transfer, and cultural appropriation. In a European-comparative framework, the uneven growth of a "public sphere" for Ireland's different cultural constituencies is fascinating.
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