On 22-23 august a symposium on Irish studies in South America was held in Santiago de Chile under the title "Cultural Dialogues between Chile and Ireland" with sections on migration and diaspora, nationalism, literature, translation and visual arts.
The meeting was organized by the Brazilian Association of Irish Studies (ABEI) along with the Association of Irish Studies in the South of America (AEIS). Although the AEIS was founded in august 2017 under the auspices of Justin Harman, former Irish ambassador to Argentina, both research groups have worked together on Irish migration to Argentina and Brazil for years.
AIES is composed of members from different universities (Universidad Nacional de La Pampa, Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad del Salvador, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, Universidad de San Pablo) and of members of the community with an interest in the research and spreading of aspects related to Irish culture and the history of Ireland and of the Irish descendants in the region.
The symposium (the thirteenth for ABEI and the first for AEIS) took place at the Facultad de Letras de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (San Joaquín Campus) and at IDEA, Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
Jacqueline O'Halloran Bernstein, recently appointed Irish ambassadress to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, regretted not being able to pronounce the opening speech as at the time she was receiving the agrément from President Macri.
The symposium opened with a brilliant speech about Brexit and Irish and English nationalisms by renowned journalist and writer Fintan O'Toole (Irish Times / Princeton University).
Then, doctors Laura Izarra and Munira Muntran (president and honorary president of ABEI, both from University of Sao Pablo) spoke about the current situation of Irish studies in South America and of possible research approaches to Irish literatures in the area.
The Irish diaspora was discussed by Prof. William H. Mulligan (Murray State University) while doctor María Eugenia Cruset (UNLP) outlined a first approach to the question of Irish nationalism in Chile. Argentine writer Eduardo Cormick spoke about Estanislao and Patricio Lynch in the history of Chile while Professor Maureen Murphy (Hofstra University, NY) drew a parallel of the lives of heroes and liberators Daniel O'Connell and Bernardo O'Higgins. Laura Hosiasson (USP) spoke about Alberto Blest Gana and Clotario Blest.
In the translation section María Graciela Eliggi (president of AEIS) spoke about her research, Translations as cultural dialogue between Argentina and Ireland, carried out with Graciela Obert (both form UNLPam), on theoretical questions (cultural translation and the skopos theory). Verónica Repetti and Paula Ortiz from USAL spoke about translation as a bridge to intercultural communication between Ireland and Argentina. Yolanda Fernández Suárez (from the Spanish AEDEI) explained the complex process of translating Brian Friel's play Translations into Spanish for the first time. Natalia Muguiro (UNLPam) exposed about the presence of distinct voices in the discourse of Literary Criticism while Elisa Lima Abrantes explained her research approach to the literary section of the Anglo Brazilian Times (1865-1884).
In the literary section, the papers dealt with the works of James Joyce and Dylan Thomas and their common ground (Vitor Alevato do Amaral, UFF), with the Great Famine and Civil War traumas in the works of Sebastian Barry and with Irish roots in the works of Argentine writer Graciela Cabal (Viviana Keegan, AEIS)
The section on visual arts brought the works of Cristina Elgue de Martini (UNC) about the influence of Francis Bacon on Argentine painter Carlos Alonso, of Stephanie Schwerter (Université de Valenciennes) on the treatment of violence in Northern Ireland in contemporary films as well as that of Roberto Ferreira da Rocha (UFRJ) on the different films versions of The Informer by Liam O'Flaherty. Chilean poet Mané Zaldívar (UC) read her poems in translation.
These activities were the first stage of this meeting of researchers on the Irish diaspora in South America. The second part will also take place in Santiago on december 9, 10, 11 and 12 during a congress called "Ireland and Latin America: Towards Globalization of Irish Studies. The idea of a nation and the narratives of independence".
The congress will be co-organized by the University of Notre Dame (USA), through the Keough-Naughton Institute of Irish Studies. Renowned scholars from Ireland, Latin America and the United States will take part in the activities. For further information:
Graciela Cabal (1939-2004) was a prolific Argentine writer of novels and short stories for children and adults. With a solid production of theoretical essays on childhood, the formation of readers and sexism in children's books, she was a key figure in the consolidation of high-quality children's literature in Argentina. During her two years as president of the Argentine Association of Children's Literature (ALIJA) more than forty children's libraries were founded in schools around the country. Admired and recognized by readers and peers, Graciela held an MA in Literature by the University of Buenos Aires and she was a primary school teacher, an oral narrator and a puppeteer. But what few people know is that she descended from two large Irish families, the Mulleadys and the Kellys, who arrived in Argentina in 1841. Cabal lends her marvelous literary voice to those sheep raisers settled in Suipacha (Province of Buenos Aires) in the short story Gualicho, about a failed wedding and a bewitched groom in the Irish community, in which even Father Fahey is present to bless the ceremony. What at first sight appears as a beautiful children's story turns into a narrative of migration with intertexts from Borges and from national poem Martín Fierro. Viviana Keegan holds an MA in Literature from the UBA and a Diploma on Childhood from FLACSO. She researches on Irish roots in Graciela Cabal's works.