Honors | Reading N Ireland & Recent Troubles
H203 | 0011 | Watt, S.
This course will trace the history, literature, and culture of the
delicate and in some ways uneasy peace in contemporary Northern Ireland.
The recent "troubles," dating specifically back to the
late 1960s, actually have a much longer history going back some 800 years.
And, as tragic as many of the events associated with the conflict have
been, it is also the case that some of the finest
works of Irish and Northern Irish literature, film, and music are
concerned directly with the impasse: from Brian Friel's plays to U2's
"Bloody Sunday," from Jennifer Johnston's fiction
to the popular films CAL, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, and THE BOXER.
This course will spend about half of the time with the history and
literature of Ireland in the 19th and early 20th centuries, stopping
particularly at crucial moments of tension between England and Ireland:
the Great Famine, the 1916 Easter Uprising, and the Anglo-Irish Civil War
represented in Neil Jordan's film MICHAEL COLLINS. We shall read works by
W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, and others that deal directly with
Then, the course will move to contemporary Northern Ireland with films,
plays, and short works of fiction on violence in the North. Topics will
include feminism in the North, the tradition of physical force,
conceptions of nationalism, the hunger strike as tactic of protest,
colonialism, and others.
Each student will write short essays and then work on a research project
leading to a final paper on a topic of the student's interest.