Poetry at the Post: It’s Going To Be All About Ireland in South Dakota!

Behind the Plow
I look in the turned sod
for an iron bolt that fell
from the plow frame
and find instead an arrowhead…

A harvest in South Dakota in 1898
A harvest in South Dakota in 1898

Call for Papers

The 31st Annual Meeting
 of the
 American Conference for Irish Studies Western Regional “Ireland: Memory and Monument” Rapid City, South Dakota October 16-18, 2015

Submissions due July 1, 2015 to aciswest2015@gmail.com

We invite you to join us in Rapid City, South Dakota for the 31st annual ACIS-West conference. This interdisciplinary conference features a range of scholarly panels, lectures, readings, exhibits, and performances. We welcome papers on any aspect of Irish studies, including literature, theatre, film, dance, history, economics, sociology, music, religion, politics, language, culture, diaspora, conflict and border studies, the material and visual arts, and comparative studies. We particularly encourage papers and panels that explore the theme of “Ireland: Memory and Monument.”

Topics may include, but are not limited to, Official forms of commemoration, like statues, plaques, monuments, parades, ceremonies, holidays, as well as their reappropriation Contested memorials and counter-memorials Buried or erased memories; modes of forgetting Private versus collective/public memory Memorialization and the sacred Geography and regional or local memory Literary and artistic commemorations Transnational memory (e.g. the Irish diaspora, immigrants to Ireland) The business of commemoration: tourism, financing, the media We welcome not only papers that consider the question of the memorialization within Ireland, but also comparative work that addresses Irish intersections with the global circulation and preservation of memory.

A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936
A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936

The conference features keynote speaker David C. Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and keynote performer Donal O’Kelly, award-winning playwright and actor who will stage his play Fionnuala for conference participants. Western South Dakota, home to some of the nation’s most famous and contested monuments and counter-monuments, provides a rich site in which to explore the preservation and politics of memory. Downtown Rapid City, founded during a gold rush in the 1870s, is steeped in history—statues of U.S. presidents grace every corner, and stories of the Lakota are told through commemorative plaques and statues—while also boasting a lively arts and music scene, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.

The conference will take place at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, has hosted six U.S. Presidents, and is also said to be haunted. The conference organizers invite you to explore Rapid City, “The Gateway to the Black Hills,” as well as its many nearby attractions, including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the historic Black Hills 1880 Train, the city of Deadwood, the Badlands National Park, and the Devil’s Tower. Please submit your proposal by July 1, 2015 to aciswest2015@gmail.com.

Panoramic view of Sixth and Main Streets in Rapid City, ca. 1912
Panoramic view of Sixth and Main Streets in Rapid City, ca. 1912

Individual paper and panel submissions (3-4 participants) are welcome, as are proposals for live performances, dramatic readings, poster presentations, or exhibits. Individual proposals should be 250-500 words in length and include a brief biographical statement for the submitter (50 words). In the case of panel proposals, live performances, dramatic readings, posters, or exhibits, please submit a rationale (250-500 words), as well as biographical statements for each of the presenters.

To recognize undergraduate research in Irish Studies, we will also organize a special undergraduate panel at the conference, and we encourage exceptional undergraduate students to submit individual paper proposals. For more information, visit https://aciswest.wordpress.com/

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