About the Project

The main objective of the planned project is to analyse representations of Jews in Irish literature from the earliest times to the present. The project will investigate references to Jews in Irish literature, whether in Irish or English, and collect more substantial references into an anthology of such writing. In tandem with this we will produce a comprehensive study of the representation of Jews in all the main genres of Irish literature. Drawing on psychoanalytical and postcolonial theory (Lacan, Spivak, Bhabha), earlier frameworks for the study of Jews in other literatures (English: Calisch 1909, Fisch 1971, Cheyette 1993, Shapiro 1997; American: Liptzin 1966, Harap 1974, Cheyette (ed.) 1996; German: Strauss/Hoffmann 1985, Robertson 1999, Schlant 1999; Polish/Russian/Ukrainian: Segel 1996, Shkandrij 2009, Livak 2010), and literature on the “Jewish Joyce” (Nadel 1989, Davison 1996, Reizbaum 1999), the study will concern itself with processes of othering by investigating the forces in consciousness and culture which generate the assumptions, biases, stereotypes and myths out of which the Jewish other is produced. The research will demonstrate how the representation of the Jew in Irish literature actually tells us much more about Irish than about Jewish identity, how in fact a whole psychohistory of Irishness is hidden in these neglected representations.

Representations of Jews in Irish Literature- Launch June 2016

In addition, the project will create an online database of all texts and writers relevant to the theme (subject to copyright), while a conference will bring scholars together to analyse aspects of the topic in depth. In conjunction with the conference an exhibition will be organised at our Belfast city centre campus, and subsequently in Dublin at the Royal Irish Academy in collaboration with the Irish-Jewish Museum.

Objective

To analyse representations of Jews in Irish literature from the earliest times to the present.

Investigate references to Jews in Irish literature, whether in Irish or English, and collect more substantial references into an anthology of such writing.

Outputs

A comprehensive study of the representation of Jews in all the main genres of Irish literature

An online database of all texts and writers relevant to the theme (subject to copyright), while a conference will bring scholars together to analyse aspects of the topic in depth.