Institute for the Study of Irish Culture

“In dreams begins responsibility.” William Butler Yeats, Responsibilities, 1914

irish emblem a book of irish verse irish musical instruments

The Institute for the Study of Irish Culture (ISIC) at Boston University, newly founded and housed under the auspices of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning, reflects the University’s dedication to the advancement of scholarship in interdisciplinary fields and acts as a place of welcome for students, scholars and researchers in the diverse fields within Irish Studies, including history, politics, religion, literature, music and the arts.

Ireland, in all of its manifestations at home and abroad, presents an extraordinarily significant and rewarding area of intellectual inquiry.  There is much to be mined from scholarly attention to its history, its past and current relationship to England, and its different language traditions, the literatures of which reach back to the sixth century.  For such a small geographical space, its pulse can be felt in the far-flung corners of the world, the effect of the Diaspora.  As Seamus Heaney puts it, “We were truant and at home outside the tribe, like scouts in old haunts, ghosts who’d walked abroad” (“Tollund,” 1994).  Irish scholars, playwrights, novelists, poets, musicians and critics have made exceptional contributions to the humanities, and Celtic folklore and mythology are unparalleled in the variety and wealth of their offerings.

Through our support for scholarship, the Institute seeks to protect and preserve the richness of the culture of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Our mission is to build a cohesive community within the university and also to offer a public venue for the celebration and study of Irish Culture.  To this end, the ISIC supports students and faculty working in all areas of Irish Studies whether it be the study of the history of Irish fiddle music, the repercussions of the potato famine, Irish women in politics, Beckett’s embrace of the Theatre of the Absurd, or the exploration of the early Irish lyric poem.

The Institute hosts a wide array of public readings, workshops, performances and lectures, all of which serve to broaden knowledge of Irish and Irish-American culture.  We hope to become a home to poets and historians, artists and linguists, literary scholars and musicians, among others, including those new to the field and those already passionately committed.

The ISIC faculty is a group of internationally recognized scholars.  Their collective expertise spans a wide range of Irish subjects, such as 18th, 19th and 20th century Irish history and literature, Irish music and theatre, Irish film, and the American Irish. Faculty members are intimately involved in other interdisciplinary fields of inquiry such as women’s studies, comparative literature, American studies, the arts, and area studies.

ISIC intends to design directed studies at both the undergraduate and graduate level that are tailored to individual students’ disciplines and interests.  In addition to existing resources provided by the University, the Institute hopes to attract external support for fellowships and for visiting lecturers.  Graduate students can affiliate with the Institute.

For more information, please contact the Chair of ISIC, Professor Meg Tyler, mtyler@bu.edu.