Penn State Abington hosts American Conference for Irish Studies

Penn State Abington was the host of the 2010 internationally acclaimed American Conference of Irish Studies (ACIS). The three day annual event was held May 5-8 at Toftrees Conference Center and Golf Resort, and the Penn Stater Conference Center. The theme of this year's meeting was, "Ireland: Then and Now."

According to Tramble T. Turner, associate professor of English at Penn State Abington and head of the ACIS conference organizing committee, there were over 200 attendees, including presenters from Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and Canada. Dr. Rodney Erickson, provost of Penn State, presented welcoming remarks on Friday evening.

Scholars from more than 50 American universities presented papers on topics ranging from Irish history and Irish literature to the "Knock Apparitions." The opening plenary was a reading by the Galway-based, award-winning poet Moya Cannon. Dean John Harrington (Fordham University) spoke of new directions in Irish Studies during his plenary address, "Irish Theater in Global Context." And, in the final plenary of the conference, Dr. James Smith (Boston College) focused on how academic studies can give rise to social justice action. His talk, "A Book's Afterlife: The Ryan Report, State Complicity and the Magdalene Laundries," focused on the history of children and women pressed into service in the Magdalene Laundries and the work of the Justice for
Magdalenes Project.

Turner explained that the annual meeting of the ACIS provides an opportunity for scholars of Irish history, literature, the social sciences and the arts to share their research findings while renewing old ties and establishing new, scholarly collaborations.

"From the attendees' feedback I received," said Turner, "I think the conference was a huge success. The plenary speakers were extremely interesting and the papers presented throughout the conference were intriguing. Speaking for Penn State Abington, we were proud to host such a scholarly and world-renowned conference and I look forward to attending next year's meeting in Madison, Wisconsin."

The American Conference for Irish Studies is a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with approximately 800 members in the United States, Ireland, Canada and other countries around the world. For more information on the ACIS, go to online.