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September 13, 2001 New Journal of Irish Studies is lively and accessible



by Dana Hearne

The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, launched anew at a reception in the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies in early June, adds new lustre to Concordia’s Irish studies program.

“The Journal is taking a new path, and incorporating a new Canadian dimension,” said Michael Kenneally, interim director of the Centre.

The striking cover was created by Jennifer de Freitas of Concordia’s Department of Design Art. It shows the illuminated tower of the administration building on the Loyola campus, surrounded by the flags of Canada, Quebec and Montreal, suggesting the dissemination of knowledge and the extent of the Irish diaspora in Canada.

The lighthouse in Youghal, County Cork, seen on the page of contents, would have been the last sight of their homeland for thousands of emigrants fleeing the Great Famine in the mid-19th century.

The goal of the journal — to be a forum for scholars and others — has not changed since it was established in 1973, but its reach has been extended.

A look at the first issue shows that while it continues to be a refereed academic journal with impressive Canadian and international editorial boards, it also reaches out to the informed general reader. New findings in scholarly research will be published, as well as articles of a more general interest.

This issue includes a number of contributions by Concordians, including an interview with actor Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Guinevere) by Carole Zucker (Cinema), and a photographic essay by Kathleen O’Brien (Design Art) and Sylvie Gauthier, an Irish Studies student), on the contributions of the Irish to Montreal.

Among other articles on literature, history, geography, economics and politics, volume 26 no. 1 of the Journal includes a profile of Irish-Canadian merchandising giant Timothy Eaton by University of Guelph history professor Kevin James, and an extensive 43-page book review section.

Professor Ron Rudin, a historian of Quebec and Ireland, thinks the journal will be an important vehicle for the publication of scholarly work by Concordia graduate students. He is a member of the Journal’s editorial board, as are geography professors Patricia Thornton and Robert Aitken.

For Professor Zucker, who is the author of several books about actors and directors, having the Journal at Concordia makes it more accessible, and she likes its broad reach. “I like the idea of having my work more widely read.”

An annual subscription to the Journal costs $25, and memberships in the Canadian Association for Irish Studies, which includes the Journal and a newsletter, ranges from $25 annually for students and seniors to $75 for a family membership.

The Centre for Canadian Irish Studies co-ordinates academic courses in 12 departments on more than 25 subjects, as well as sponsoring an annual lecture series.

Students are offered courses in history, literature, Celtic Christianity and women’s studies, among others. Enrolment has always been high, and Kenneally anticipates that by September 2002, Concordia will be offering a minor and a certificate in Canadian Irish studies.

For further information about the Journal or the Centre, call Donna Whittaker at 848-8711 or email cdnirish@alcor.concordia.ca.

Dana Hearne teaches Irish studies and women’s studies at John Abbott College and Concordia, and is pursuing a graduate diploma in journalism at Concordia.