Department Hosted Webinar on Irish Literature and Childhood Trauma

The English Department, in conjunction with Irish Studies and the English 559: Irish Literature class, welcomed Dr. Margot Gayle Backus (University of Houston) and Dr.Joseph Valente (University at Buffalo) to UNM to discuss their new co-authored book, The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature, published by Indiana University Press.

Backus and Valente’s groundbreaking study explores child sex scandals in 20th and 21st-century Ireland and the responses to those scandals that surfaced in Irish literature and culture. Through historically contextualized and psychoanalytically informed readings of scandal narratives by notable modern Irish authors, the book presents a nuanced and troubling account of how Ireland’s postcolonial heritage served to enable the trauma and abuse of its most vulnerable citizens.

The webinar featured a presentation and discussion of the book, including its relevance to present instances of child imperilment in the direct provision system for refugees in Ireland and in migrant detention facilities at the U.S. border.

The event was co-sponsored by the English Department, the International Studies Institute, and the Irish Studies Fund.