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Scholarcast 30: Memory Studies and Famine Studies: Gender, Genealogy, History

Margaret Kelleher


This lecture identifies and examines a number of trends in recent historiographical work on the Great Famine including their striking appropriation of narrative and fictive tropes. It explores the existence – or perceived existence – of an 'affective gap' in existing historiography, which is seen to justify this wave of new publications, a gap reinforced by the failure of most famine scholarship to reflect in depth on its own affective and emotional register. The related absence of gender as a category of analysis within studies which have emphasized national and regional scales of enquiry is highlighted in the lecture's second part, and it concludes by proposing a re-examination of gender as a lens through which, in Marianne Hirsch's words, 'through which to read the domestic and the public scenes of memorial acts'.

Margaret Kelleher

Margaret Kelleher is Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin. She is the author of Feminization of Famine (Cork and Duke UP, 1997) and co-editor (with Philip O'Leary) of The Cambridge History of Irish Literature (2006). Her research interests include famine literature, women's writings, nineteenth-century Irish literature and digital humanities. She is currently Chairperson of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures and member of Science Europe's Scientific Committee for the Humanities. In 2011 she received a Senior Fellowship from the Irish Research Council to work with colleagues at An Foras Feasa, NUI Maynooth, to create an electronic edition of the Loebers' Guide to Irish Fiction, now live at


Series edited by: Emilie Pine
General Editor: P.J. Mathews
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey.
Recording, audio editing, photography and development by: John Matthews & Vincent Hoban at UCD IT Services, Media Services.

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