The Irish Family at Home and Abroad

A symposium featuring scholars, helping professionals, creative writers, Student researchers and others discussing aspects of the Irish family.

Date & Time:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM


$12; registration free to UST faculty, staff, and students. Optional lunch is $12 for all.


John Roach Center Auditorium (JRC 126)

St. Paul Campus

A symposium on "The Irish Family at Home and Abroad" will be held at the University of St Thomas on Saturday, March 9 from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The program features presentations and panel discussions by scholars, helping professionals, creative writers and graduate and undergraduate student researchers. All sessions will be held in the auditorium of the John Roach Center auditorium on the St Paul campus (JRC 126).

The program is sponsored by the university's Center for Irish Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the department of Sociology, and the Family Studies Program. The Irish Genealogical Society International is also a sponsoring organization.

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 will also 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, who will speak on "Tyrone Guthrie’s Remarkable Family.

Keynote Address

"Anthropologists Look at the Irish Family: Solidarity and Strife, Conflict and Cooperation"
Dr Brigittine French, Department of Anthropology, Grinnell College

"Therapists' Perspectives on the Irish Family"
A roundtable with Dr Jeri Rockett (UST Counseling and Psychological Services); Fintan Moore, MSW (Polk County Human Services); Dr Joseph Gillespie (psychologist and Dominican priest; Annetta Sutton, author and spiritual counselor, Hazelden

Lunch Speaker

Tyrone Guthrie's Remarkable Family
Dr Patrick O’Donnell, Normandale Community College

Patterns of the Family in Recent Irish Writing
Presentations by undergraduate researchers Shannon Kelly (Irish fathers); Samantha Hanowski (Irish mothers); Killee Pertl (family secrets); and Meghan Meints (conventional models of the Irish family)

Images of Vocation in Irish Writing

  • John Kelly MA "Richard Power's The Hungry Grass (1962)"
  • Timothy DeCelle MA. "Donald Hayne’s Batter My Heart (1962)"
  • James Rogers, MA Center for Irish Studies "Dutiful Diffidence: Priests' Autobiographies Before Vatican II"

Irish and Irish-American Memoirists on Shame and Respectability
Readings and presentations by Dr Brian Nerney, Metro State University; Dr. Nick Hayes, SJU; Fred Nairn, MA (adjunct, UST Theology Department); and Marge Barrett, The Loft

The Last Word Belongs to Poets: Irish-American Poets on their Family
Local poets Patricia Barone, Ethna McKiernan, William Cavanaugh, Carol Connolly, Elizabeth Oness, Mike Finley will read, accompanied by traditional Irish music.

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.