A symposium on “The Irish Family at Home and Abroad” will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 9, on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The program features presentations and panel discussions by scholars, creative writers, graduate and undergraduate student researchers, and those in the helping professions. All sessions will be held in the auditorium, Room 126, of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts.

The program is sponsored by the university’s Center for Irish Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Sociology Department, and Family Studies Program. The Irish Genealogical Society International also is a sponsoring organization. The program can be viewed here.

Dr. Brigittine French

Dr. Brigittine French of Grinnell College will open the symposium with a keynote address titled “Anthropologists Look at the Irish Family: Solidarity and Strife, Conflict and Cooperation.” French, who has just returned from a Fulbright Fellowship at Dublin City University, is the social science representative of the American Conference for Irish Studies. She has presented numerous lectures and conference papers on Irish identity formation and on conflict resolution in the early Irish Free State.

Later panels will include sessions on “Therapists’ Perspectives on the Irish Family,” “Literary Images of Vocation in Irish Life,” and “Mothers and Fathers in Irish Life Writing.” There also will be two sessions involving creative writers. In one, memoirists Nick Hayes, Brian Nerney, Marge Barrett and Fred Nairn will discuss “Shame and Respectability in the Irish Family.”

The program will conclude with a session called “The Last Word Belongs to Poets,” in which local writers (including Pat Barone, William Cavanaugh, Ethna McKiernan and Mike Finley) will read original poems about their families.

The luncheon speaker is Dr. Patrick O’Donnell of Normandale Community College; he will speak on “Tyrone Guthrie’s Remarkable Family.”

Registration is $12 for the general public, or free with a St. Thomas ID. (A buffet lunch is available for an additional $12, and must be ordered at the time of registration.) Registrations are handled through the Tommie Central website.

For more information contact Jim Rogers, director of the Center for Irish Studies, (612) 962-5662 or jrogers@stthomas.edu.