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Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies

The Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies provides an opportunity to study the literature, history, film and theatre of the island of Ireland over the past two hundred years, and the history, literature and culture of Scotland and the Scottish diaspora since the late seventeenth century.

Irish Studies

While Irish Studies focuses on issues such as identity, ethnicity, and 'nation building', and the history of their contestation, it also pays attention to Ireland's relationships with New Zealand, Europe and Australia.

Scottish Studies

Reflecting Scotland's history as one of the most mobile societies in Europe, our research and teaching possess a global scope, studying both the internal development of Scotland and the international impact of the Scottish diaspora.

Recent publication

A new book by the Eamon Cleary Chair in Irish Studies, Professor Peter Kuch, is now available in hardback and ebook formats.  See the recent Irish Times extract from Professor Kuch's book, and the Irish Times review from Terence Killeen.

Irish Divorce / Joyce’s Ulysses Kuch Irish Divorce cover

Published by Palgrave Macmillan • ISBN 978-1-349-95187-1

This engrossing, ground-breaking book challenges the long-held conviction that prior to the second divorce referendum of 1995 Irish people could not obtain a divorce that gave them the right to remarry. Joyce knew otherwise. Obtaining a decree absolute in Edwardian Ireland, rather than separation from bed and board, was possible. Bloom’s “Divorce, not now” and Molly’s “suppose I divorced him”—whether whim, wish, fantasy, or conviction—reflects an Irish practice of petitioning the English court, a ruse that, even though it was known to lawyers, judges, and politicians at the time, has long been forgotten. By drawing attention to divorce as one response to adultery, Joyce created a domestic and legal space in which to interrogate the sometimes rival and sometimes collusive Imperial and Ecclesiastical hegemonies that sought to control the Irish mind. This compelling, original book provides a refreshingly new frame for enjoying Ulysses even as it prompts the general reader to think about relationships and about the politics of concealment that operate in forging national identity.

Irish Studies Scholarships

Students interested in postgraduate study (MA and PhD) in Irish Studies are invited to apply for an Eamon Cleary Postgraduate Scholarship. Thesis topics proposed by students enrolled in Irish Studies that involve researching significant issues relating to (singly or jointly) Irish Literature, Irish History, Irish Theatre, Irish Film, or Irish Politics will be considered. Find out more about it on the scholarship webpage.

OTAGO Irish Studies MA-PhD Poster

Our people

The Centre's Co-Directors are Professor Peter Kuch and Professor Liam McIlvanney.