Fred Biggs (English)

A Medievalist, Fred Biggs has offered courses on Old Irish (basic grammar, intermediate grammar, and reading).

Mary Burke (English)

Mary Burke is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast and she joined the UConn English Department in 2004. She was the NEH Keough Fellow at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2003-04 and the 2010 Boston College-Ireland Visiting Fellow. Her book, “Tinkers”: Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller, for which she received UConn’s CLAS Research Excellence Award in 2009, was published by Oxford University Press. She also writes creatively, and was nominated for a Hennessy Irish Writing award in 2008. Her second book project is on representations of the Scots-Irish (the Ulster Irish in America).

Patrick Hogan (English)

Specializing in Postcolonial and World Literatures, Cognitive approaches to literature, and Literary Theory, Patrick Hogan has offered undergraduate and graduate courses on James Joyce.

Brendan Kane (History)

Brendan Kane specializes in early modern British and Irish history. He is the author of The Politics and Culture of Honour in Britain and Ireland, 1541-1641 (Cambridge UP, 2010; paperback 2013) and co-editor with Valerie McGowan-Doyle of the edited collection Elizabeth I and Ireland (Cambridge UP, 2014). He curated (with Thomas Herron) the exhibition Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland at the Folger Shakespeare Library (2013) and co-authored the catalog of the same name. His interests include comparative colonialism and the history of human rights; he was guest editor of a special issue of the journal History entitled “Human rights and the history of violence in the early British Empire” (2014). A growing interest in gender and history has led to guest editing (with Kenneth Gouwens and Laurie Nussdorfer) a special issue of The European Review of History / Revue Européenne d’Histoire on early modern masculinities (forthcoming, 2015). Currently he is completing a book on knowledge production and legitimacy in early modern Ireland, and directing (with Tom Scheinfeldt) a multi-institutional, collaborative digital humanities project “Reading Early Modern Irish: a digital guide to Irish Gaelic (c. 1200-1650)”. Currently he serves as UConn’s Folger Consortium faculty representative.

Rachael Lynch (English)

Rachael Lynch specializes in contemporary Irish women’s fiction. She grew up in Ireland and earned her B.A. (Mod) in English and French from Trinity College Dublin before emigrating to New England in 1984. She has published on Molly Keane, Jennifer Johnston, Edna O’Brien, Mary Lavin, and other contemporary figures. She is currently working on a book on Revolution and Evolution in Jennifer Johnston’s Novels.

Thomas F. Shea (English)

Thomas F. Shea’s current research focuses on Ireland’s Blasket Island writers, primarily Tomás Ó Criomhthain (Tomas O’Crohan), Peig Sayers, and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (Maurice O’Sullivan). The Blasket Islands, off the southwest coast of Ireland, generated a literary blossoming in the first half of the twentieth century with several authors chronicling an Island community and culture radically distinct from those of mainland Ireland. The Blasket people were a strictly Irish-speaking community devoid of modern technology, living a primitive existence centered on fishing and subsistence farming—a culture George Thomson termed “medieval.” Once boasting a population of 176, the Blaskets have been uninhabited since 1953 when the Irish government relocated the last 22 inhabitants to the mainland.

Professor Shea’s recent publications on the Blasket writers have appeared in New Hibernia Review,  The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies,  The Cracked Looking-Glass: Highlights from the Leonard L. Milberg Collection of Irish Prose Writers, and  Irish Studies Review. He has also delivered numerous addresses on the Blasket authors at international and national Irish Studies conferences. His previous publications center on the authors Flann O’Brien and Patrick McGinley, including the award-winning book  Flann O’Brien’s Exorbitant Novels.

Graduate Students

Sarah Berry (English)

Sarah Berry is a PhD candidate in the English department studying twentieth-century literature, especially drama, poetry, postcolonial theory, and modernism. For her dissertation, she is working on a comparative study of twentieth-century verse drama. Sarah is the current Secretary for the Irish Studies Alliance.

Kate Gross (English)

Kate Gross is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Connecticut. She earned a BA from University of Michigan and an MA in English literature from Boston College. She is interested in issues of postcoloniality and migration in twentieth-century fiction.

Tara Harney-Mahajan (English)

Tara Harney-Mahajan is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Certificate recipient. Her research interests include contemporary Irish and Indian English writers and queer feminist postcolonial theory. Tara’s 2012 article, “Provoking Forgiveness in Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture” was published in New Hibernia Review and in the fall of 2015 her article “Refashioning the Wedding Dress as the ‘Future Anterior’ in Edna O’Brien, Marina Carr, and Eugene O’Neill” will appear in the journal Women’s Studies. Tara is also co-Editor of the literary journal LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory.

Maureen Harris (History)

Maureen Harris is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at UConn, working on a dissertation entitled “Education, Ireland, and the Early Modern World.” Maureen studies early modern England and Ireland, with a particular interest in religion and its place in society. She has examined the factors leading Irish lord Sir Cahir O’Doherty into rebellion in 1608, and has also investigated books printed in the Irish language before 1700. Maureen is fascinated by languages (including Old, Classical/Early Modern, and Modern Irish) and is currently the treasurer of the Irish Studies Alliance.

Mollie Kervick (English)

Mollie Kervick is a PhD student in the English department at the University of Connecticut.  She specializes in 20th and 21st century Irish fiction, gender and sexuality studies, and maternal theory. She received a BA in literature and creative writing (poetry) from Bates College and a MA in Irish Literature and Culture from Boston College where she began studying the Irish language. Mollie’s poetry and creative nonfiction has been published in Knee Jerk Magazine, Torrid Literature Journal, The Paradise Review and on

Winifred Maloney (History)

Joanna MacGugan (Medieval Studies)

Joanna is a PhD candidate in UConn’s Medieval Studies program, concentrating in Irish history. She earned her M.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts, Boston following completion of her thesis entitled “The Otherworld in Medieval Irish and Welsh Arthurian Literature: A Comparative Mythology.” Her scholarship has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics and Literature and Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures. She has recently been awarded a Graduate Dissertation Fellowship from the UConn Humanities Institute and will spend her fellowship year completing her dissertation entitled “Competing Authorities and Contested Spaces: Dying in Dublin in the Reign of Edward I.”

Matthew Ryan Shelton (English)

Matthew Ryan Shelton is a PhD student in the English Department, specializing in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Irish and English Poetics as well as Poetic Translation Practice and Creative Writing. He earned a BA in English Literature from Carleton College and a MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast. His poetry and translations have appeared in Scotland and Northern Ireland in Abridged, Poetry Proper, The Open Ear, and Causeway/Cabhsair, and in the United States in An Gael, Mantis, Long River ReviewEllipsisThe Swarthmore Review, and Coldfront. Matthew is the current Vice President of the Irish Studies Alliance.

Brian Sneeden (English)

Brian Sneeden is an MA/PhD student in the English Department specializing in Twentieth Century Irish and British modernism, translation studies, and poetics. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia, where he held a Poe/Faulkner Fellowship and served as Poetry Editor for Meridian. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry JournalHarvard Review Online, Ninth LetterQuarterly West, TriQuarterlyVirginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. Brian is the current President of the Irish Studies Alliance.

Christina Wilson (English)

Christina Wilson is a PhD candidate in the English Department whose research interests include American and Irish Literatures, Modern Drama, and Human Rights. Her dissertation Scots-Irish Frontiers, traces the legibility of Scots-Irish Americans across 20th- and 21st-century American Literature.  Her interview with a Northern Irish playwright, “‘What My Own Wee Divil Bids Me’: An Interview with Damian Gorman,” appears in the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (2013). Her most recent article, “Illegible Ethnicity and the Invention of Scots-Irish Narratives on the Stages of Belfast and Appalachia,” appears in Texts and Textures of Irish America, a special issue of Irish Studies Review. Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, Christina will be working as a Fulbright Student Scholar in Theatre Studies, doing archival research at the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive (NUI-Galway).