Irish Studies Würzburg

Workshop "Environmental Humanities & Irish Studies"

Datum: 03.12.2021, 14:15 - 16:00 Uhr
Ort: online

December 3, 2021, 2-4 pm c.t. (CET), online via Zoom. University College Cork (UCC), Ireland & Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), Germany.


Incentive Talk: 2-3 pm c.t. (CET)

Discussion: 3-4 pm c.t. (CET)

The environmental humanities have arisen out of responses to the urgent need to address ecological catastrophes around the world as well as increasing attention to the need to recognize the nonhuman not only as a site of agency and volition, but as populated with fellow beings whose fates cannot be separated from ours. The arts and humanities, including poetry, photography, cultural geography, and history, have the power to change our perceptions and influence environmental policy. This is ultimately the aim of the environmental humanities: to reclaim the dominant narrative for a sustainable social and ecological vision of the future.

My work, including the organisation of international conferences and transdisciplinary workshops, investigates the kind of work in Irish Studies that is responding to the global crisis by considering the ideological origins of the Western belief that dominance over nature has been divinely ordained, as well as how Irish cultural production can figure in the effort to dismantle such dangerously anthropocentric beliefs.

My talk will specifically look at the poetry of a contemporary Irish writer, Moya Cannon, whose work is often the subject of ecocritical and ecofeminist scholarship. I will be focusing on her most recent poetry, written during the pandemic, which in direct and oblique ways addresses the current climate catastrophe. Long before our current plague time, Cannon has been writing poetry that deals with loss and death, in ways that encourage revising our relationship to these phenomena, lessons of urgency in these challenging days. As the back of her recently published Collected Poems observes, ‘The immediacy of our response to the beauty of our exploited planet inspires many of Moya Cannon’s poems’. Cannon’s poetry powerfully evokes our embeddedness in the ultimately deathless material world. The work captures and resides in intensely present moments free of the oppressive need to organise our perceptions or penetrate the mystery of our interactions with our earth others. Cannon’s poetry immerses us in the joy of belonging in the world, even amidst destruction, pain, and loss.

Maureen O’Connor lectures in the Department of English in University College Cork. She is the author of The Female and the Species: The Animal in Irish Women’s Writing (2010), co-editor, with Derek Gladwin, of a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 'Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities' (2018); with Kathryn Laing and Sinéad Mooney, of Edna O’Brien: New Critical Perspectives (2006); with Lisa Colletta, ofWild Colonial Girl: Essays on Edna O’Brien (2006); and, with Tadhg Foley, of Ireland and India: Colonies, Culture, and Empire (2006). Her latest book, Edna O’Brien and the Art of Fiction, is forthcoming from Bucknell University Press in 2021.


This workshop is part of “WueGlobal – Writing, Learning, Digital Connection” funded by the DAAD / IVAC International Virtual Academic Collaboration Program. Participation can be applied to the WueGlobal Certificate. Please visit the WueGlobal website for more information:


This workshop is directed at PhD and advanced students in Irish, English, and American studies from UCC and JMU. Students from other institutions are also invited to participate. If you are interested in participating in this online event, please sign up by sending an email with the subject line “WORKSHOP” to by November 26, 2021. Please include your full name, affiliation and address. Upon registration, you will receive the assigned readings for the workshop vie email attachment. Participation in the workshop can be confirmed on the ISWÜ certificate:

Please note that the above given email address is used solely for registration purposes. If you want to contact ISWÜ or EH, please use the contact information given below.


Irish Studies Würzburg (ISWÜ)
Prof. Dr. Ina Bergmann & Prof. Dr. Maria Eisenmann

Environmental Humanities (EH)
Prof. Dr. Catrin Gersdorf

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