Postdoctoral Researchers


‌Dr Sarah Comyn  

Realigning British Romanticism: White Settler and Indigenous Writing in the British-Controlled Southern Hemisphere, 1783-1870

Mentor: Professor Porscha Fermanis

Dr. Sarah Comyn is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof. Porscha Fermanis on her ERC-funded project, SouthHem. She completed her PhD in English at the University of Melbourne. Her thesis, titled “The Empathic Imagination: A Literary History of Homo Economicus through the Anglo-American Novel,” explored the complex relationship between political economy and the novel over a 250-year period. Prior to joining UCD she taught English Literature at the University of Melbourne and Trinity College (Melbourne).

In 2016 she held a Chawton House Library Visiting Fellowship where she researched the political economic writings of Jane Marcet, Maria Edgeworth and their literary networks, in a project called, “Blue Ladies and Political Economy: Women Writers, the Popularization of Political Economy and the Discourse of Happiness.” Her research interests are in Romanticism; Victorian literature; and the transhistorical relationships between political economy and literature. She is currently researching the cultural and literary history of the Mechanics’ Institute during the gold rush in colonial Victoria (Australia) as part of her postdoctoral fellowship at UCD.



Dr Suz Garrard  ‌‌ ‌                                                                                

Media Migrants: Emigration, Identity-Making, and the Irish Press, 1814-1910

Funding Body: Irish Research Council

Mentor: Dr Fionnuala Dillane

As twenty-first century news reporting surrounding the recent surges in immigration to North America and Europe has shown, representations of immigrants and immigration vary from humanitarian in politically Left-leaning media outlets, to xenophobic portrayals in publications aligned with the social and political Right. These disparate typologies of immigration have their social, political, and literary roots in the nineteenth-century periodical press and, I argue, particular insight is to be gained from examining the complexities of constructions of Irish emigration in the periodical press from 1814 1910. This project explores how a cross-section of newspapers published in Dublin and Belfast constructed emigrant identity during three of the largest upsurges of Irish emigration: movements that were forced by decreased access to rural land and employment between 1814 and 1841, those caused by the Great Famine between 1845 and 1855, and those attributable to the continued post famine decline between 1865 and 1910. Among print cultures, the newspaper is unique in its ability to deploy various affective genres and is hugely influential in identity formation because of its repetitive regularity of its publication cycles and diverse core features. In an era that saw the exponential growth of urban literacy rates and the growing divide between Unionist and Republican causes, the discourse surrounding emigrant identity in Belfast and Dublin newspapers was an omnipresent feature of nineteenth-century newspapers, and a subject that integrated discourses of nationalism, religious and class identity, and literary genre.



Dr Joao Guimero  ‌‌ ‌                                                                             

Old Pioneers: Representations of Old Age in Contemporary American Poetry

Funding Body: Irish Research Council

Mentor: Dr Nerys Williams

"Old Pioneers", investigates how experimental American poets challenge the notion that vanguardism is a caprice of youth and the idea that old age is a time of recapitulation, reconciliation and resignation. I will survey the recent work of Charles Bernstein, Susan Howe, Lyn Hejinian, Ron Silliman and Rae Armantrout. These poets position themselves against a poetics of summation, sobriety and depth, highlighting instead the importance of discontinuity, disbelief, immaturity, forgetfulness and humour for literary prospection and late life well-being. My expectation is that the poems in question will challenge the idea that old age is a time of maturation, showing that it can be a stage of further personal, intellectual and artistic growth and/or of unexpected transformation.  


Dr Shonagh Hill 

Embodied Mythmaking: A Genealogy of Women in Irish Theatre

Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship

Mentor: Dr. Cathy Leeney

My postdoctoral book project offers a genealogy of women in Irish theatre whose work intersects through their embodied mythmaking. I examine plays from the start of the twentieth century to the present day that employ mythic narratives to investigate myths of femininity. Embodied mythmaking examines the reiteration, reperformance and reinscription of myths on and through the body. These resistant writing-bodies perform alternatives that negotiate female agency and expression. Irish theatre, and the study of it, has largely focused on a literary tradition and my work is engaged in the process of redressing the neglect of bodies, namely the creativity and histories of female bodies.

My postdoctoral project is a development of my doctoral research which I completed at Queen’s University Belfast. I have published in Theatre Research International, Études Irlandaises, and Platform, as well as contributing to the edited collection: Staging Thought: Essays on Irish Theatre Scholarship and Practice. I have also contributed articles to the collections: The Theatre of Marie Jones, as well as Radical Contemporary Theatre Practices by Women Theatre Makers. My most recent publication, ‘Feeling Out of Place: The “affective dissonance” of the feminist spectator in The Boys of Foley Street’, is forthcoming in Performance, Feminism and Affect in Neoliberal Times (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). My research on women in performance is developed both locally and internationally through my memberships of The International Federation for Theatre Research’s Feminist Research Working Group and The Irish Society for Theatre Research’s Gender and Performance Working Group.



Dr Dan O'Brien 

Fine Meshwork: The Intertwining Fiction of Philip Roth and Edna O’Brien

Funding: Irish Research Council

Mentor: Prof John Brannigan

Abstract: This book comprises a comparative analysis of the works the Irish author Edna O’Brien and her contemporary and friend, the Jewish-American author Philip Roth. It investigates the striking biographical, textual, and stylistic symmetries between two writers from very different cultures and literary traditions.

The book begins with the, until now, undetected intertextual nexuses between Roth’s fiction and O’Brien’s. These allusions significantly alter the readings of a number of their novels, while at the same time indicating wider transatlantic frames of reference now apparent in their work. O’Brien has, since the beginning of her career, been in frequent correspondence with all of the pre-eminent Jewish-American authors of her time, and her work conducts a dialogue with key Jewish-American texts. Conversely, Roth’s fiction — like O’Brien’s, obviously indebted to Joyce — has frequently alluded to other seminal Irish authors. The literary and personal relationship between Roth and O’Brien symbolizes myriad links between Jewish and Irish literary cultures. In O’Brien’s (and wider Irish) fiction, the Jew is often positioned as an exotic but dangerous “Other”, while throughout the Jewish canon Irish Catholics are frequently employed as foils. Roth and O’Brien investigate difference by depicting relationships that cross these boundaries.

Through understanding the complex interrelations at play between the fiction of Roth and O’Brien, and between their work and that of a wider pantheon of Irish and American writers, this book repositions both as transnational authors while developing a culturally sensitive, textually nuanced account of their transatlantic literary relations.



Dr Dolores Resano 

Making Sense of the Contemporary: Fiction as Political Intervention in the Era of Trump

Funding: Irish Research Council

Mentor: Prof Liam Kennedy

Dolores Resano is an IRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clinton Institute for American Studies, where she is completing a monograph on American literary fiction in the era of Trump. She holds an MA and a PhD in Construction and Representation of Cultural Identities from the Universitat de Barcelona, with a dissertation entitled Of Heroes and Victims: Jess Walter’s The Zero and the Satirical Post-9/11 Novel that dealt with the interrelation between fiction, politics, and public discourse, and which obtained the UB’s extraordinary award for 2016-2017. Her current interdisciplinary research also focuses on contemporary American literature and culture, with a particular interest in politics and its multiple effects on the cultural sphere. Her project examines the ways in which American writers are seeking to produce fictions that are commensurate to “American reality” in the era of Trump, and in so doing redefining the relationship between fiction and the contemporary, and rethinking the roles of critique and dissent in literary form.

Among her other research interests, she serves on the editorial board of the journals 452ºF. Journal of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature and Lectora. Journal of Women and Textuality, which is devoted to textual analysis and gender studies.