IHSA 2016 Annual Conference, Call for Papers

Fishka.Logo.Photo

The Irish History Students’ Association is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for its Annual Conference, which will take place in NUI Galway from 19–21 February, 2016.

Proposals are invited for papers (in English or Irish) from both undergraduates and postgraduates in Ireland, on any historical topic or period and from those studying Irish history abroad. Abstracts of no more than 250 words for 20 minute research papers (approx. 2,500–3,000 words in length) should be submitted, along with a short personal biography of no more than 100 words.

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Poster presentations are also invited. Posters should be A0 in size and may encompass any style or theme, similar to the criteria for written papers. Presenters should be prepared to speak for up to 10 minutes regarding their posters, with or without an accompanying short paper. Further details will be provided on request by emailing
ihsa2016@gmail.com

As usual there is no specific conference theme. However, given the various commemorative events which are expected to take place on the island of Ireland in 2016, papers are also invited on (but certainly not limited to) issues which fall broadly within the theme of the Decade of Centenaries (1912-1923).

Eyre Square
Eyre Square – Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’, is steeped in Medieval & Modern History

All proposals should be submitted by email to ihsa2016@gmail.com no later than Friday 11 December, 2015. Abstracts and biographies should be submitted in the form of a word document attached to the email and should include: Full Name, Institutional Affiliation (if any), and Paper/Poster Title.

For more information please see:
IHSA 2016 Facebook and Academia.edu – IHSA2016

This event has been kindly sponsored by Bank of Irelandboi1

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Past Speaker Bio – Katya Radovanova, Technische Universität Dresden

Katya.BW

Name: Katya Radovanova

Institution: Technische Universität Dresden

Course: British and American Studies and Art History, B.A.

Age: 26

Most recent IHSA Paper: The Native American Fight for Sovereignty and Self-Determination: The Period of Red Power

Was 2015 your first IHSA Conference? First IHSA & first time presenting at a conference

What attracted you to the IHSA Conferences? I’ve heard legendary stories about the previous IHSA conferences. I was also a committee member of An Cumann Staire (NUIG), so I thought participating would be a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people from all over Ireland, Britain, and the continent.

Best memory of the conferences? The second my panel was over was the best moment of the conference. I enjoyed presenting but since it was my very first conference, I was really afraid that I won’t be able to answer a question or, even worse, that I’ll say something stupid. The second my panel was over, I could finally relax and fully enjoy the rest of the conference and Limerick.

Worst memory of the conferences? Getting the flu and missing out on a great night out in town. It was so bad even hot whiskeys couldn’t help me.

What are you looking forward to most about Galway 2016? I am looking forward to a weekend of fascinating papers, new people, and a whole lot of craic. I have nothing against Limerick, but Galway is the Capital of Craic, so I have really high expectations of IHSA 2016! *no pressure, guys!*

Anything else you’d like to add? Sin é.

Past Speaker Bio: Ciarán McCabe, NUI Maynooth

McCabe, Ciaran photo

Paper/Name: Ciarán McCabe

Institution: NUI Maynooth

Course: PhD History (currently Post-Doctoral work in NUI Galway)

Age: 30

 

Areas of Interest: Poverty, Welfare, Charity, Medicine, Health, Urban, Religion.

Thesis Title: ‘Begging and alms-giving in urban Ireland, 1815-1850’

Past IHSA Paper titles:

IHSA 2014 (MIC): ‘“The silent endurance of these poor creatures”: perceived virtue in the          silent suffering of the poor in nineteenth-century Ireland’

IHSA 2013 (QUB): ‘The Church of Ireland parish and beggars’ badges in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries’

IHSA 2012 (NUIG): ‘“Surely this monstrous inconvenience is not of an insurmountable nature”: the suppression of street begging in early nineteenth-century Dublin’

IHSA 2011 (UCC): ‘The Cork Street Fever Hospital, Dublin and pre-Famine fever epidemics’

Was 2015 your first IHSA Conference?

No, I attended the 2015 conference as a spectator, but was collecting a prize from 2014.

 

What attracted you to the IHSA Conferences?

My first IHSA conference to attend was in 2011. For me, the IHSA conference has always been an opportunity to present a research paper in an environment that is not too intimidating for early-career scholars. I presented at each of the 2011-14 conferences and always found them incredibly rewarding experiences.

 

Best memory of the conferences?

The after-dinner speeches of Professors John A. Murphy, Gearoid O Tuathaigh and Keith Jeffrey.

 

Worst memory of the conferences?

Staying in a noisy hostel in Cork and getting little to no sleep the night before my first-thing-in-the-morning paper!

 

What are you looking forward to most about Galway 2016?

Being based at the host institution!

 

Past Speaker Bio: Jodie Shevlin, University of Ulster

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Name:  Jodie Shevlin

Institution: University of Ulster

Course: PhD

Age: 26

Subject Area/Thesis Title/Paper you gave:

I’m interested in 19th Century Irish social & cultural history/ Religion/Crime/Witchcraft/ Supernatural/Folklore.

Was 2015 your first IHSA Conference? No, 2013 Queens University was my first time.

What attracted you to the IHSA Conferences?

Robert Rock (his paper on Witchcraft to be more specific 🙂 ) and the opportunity to network.

Best memory of the conferences?

I made a joke about the amount of pigeons at one point during Prof. Sean Connolly’s Walking History Tour of Belfast (resembling a scene from ‘Home Alone’). Cara Hanley laughed; we got talking and found out we had the same supervisor. Friend made for life!

Worst memory of the conferences?

I’ve had no bad memories or experiences with IHSA conferences. That having been said, I did learn the hard way that it’s not an absolute requirement to bring your own wine, in a plastic water bottle and refill your glass under the table during the conference dinner…

What are you looking forward to most about Galway 2016?

Ceol agus Craic! I expect to be ‘Takin’ a whirl, ‘Round the Salthill Prom, with a Galway Guy!’ But seriously, I’m really looking forward to IHSA 2016 because I couldn’t attend last year and heard that I missed some awesome papers, like Aaron O Maonaigh’s on the Thompson Sub-machine Gun. I can’t wait to see my old buddies and make new ones, like every year. I’m also really looking forward to giving my first IHSA paper!

Anything else you’d like to add? The atmosphere of an IHSA conference in my experience has always been welcoming and friendly to speakers and listeners alike, I’d heartily recommend it to any student.

Past Speaker Bio: Aaron Ó Maonaigh, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin

Aaron ó Mainaoigh, St. Patrick's College, Dublin

Name: Aaron Ó Maonaigh

Institution: Coláiste Phádraig, Droim Conrach.

Course: B.A Humanities (English and History)

Age: 28

Subject Area/Paper: Military History of the Irish Revolution/’The Thompson Submachine Gun and the Irish War of Independence‘.

Last year was my second IHSA and my first conference at which I delivered a paper. I was attracted to the opportunity that the IHSA affords undergraduates who wish to present papers based on their own research.

Best memory: Delivering my very first conference paper to a wonderfully receptive audience.

Worst memory: Delivering said paper after a night out on the town in Limerick!

What am I looking forward to at IHSA 2016: Delivering another paper to what is shaping up to be a fantastic conference @ihsa2016, coupled with the fact that conference is being held in one of the most beautiful parts of Éire.

Anything else to add: For any prospective first-time speakers. The environment at the IHSA is a very friendly and welcoming one, you will meet contacts with whom you will find you share many common interests that often bring many prospective projects to fruition. My advice is to enjoy yourself and the weekend.

Beir bua a chairde!

Free Education, isn’t…

The Mamas & the Papas

Do you remember that song from the 1965, ‘California Dreamin [on a Winter’s Day]’, by The Mama’s & The Papas? It was a great hit at the time and has shown true resilience over the intervening decades. As a matter of fact I had started to write this entry in a very different fashion and he lyric entered my head and I had to listen to it….and then the entire timbre of the article changed before my eyes! Anyway I digress, but seriously, please take a listen to some great 60’s counter-culture! California Dreamin. I have a link and although tentative, I think its relevant.

As a PhD student (final year, thank the gods!), take it from me; money does not fall from the sky like autumnal leaves. Even as the aforementioned song describes “All the leaves are brown/And the Sky is grey”, one must marvel at the metaphorical sight of all those fivers and tenners slowly spiralling down to form a blanket on the ground. Wouldn’t it be a great thing, if the simple things in life were, if not free, then at least valued and funded appropriately?

www.123rf.com
http://www.123rf.com

As a conference organiser seeking funding, I can tell you money does most definitely not fall in such a fashion! But yet again at CAO time we have a talking head pop up to tell us about this great knowledge economy we have here and how our third level institutions are so well funded, etc, etc. We  as anyone in academia knows, they’re not. I heard from a colleague a few years back that a leading Irish Third Level department had to sell some of their PHOTOCOPIERS to make ends meet after a budgetary shortfall.

The Royal Irish Academy (hat tip for kudos), have come out with a sensible position/advice paper aimed toward central government and perhaps as a broader conversation starter also in the Irish Third Level sector regarding not just the perennially raw topic of funding, but also the more pressing topic of student funding. We all remember the terrible hardship caused in 2012/2013/2014 by the disastrous SUSI website for online grants “processing.” Part-time (and personally I have MASSIVE issues with that misleading and pejorative term) students are being persecuted by the Irish education system and successive administrations for not being good little drones and entering into courses in the desire full-time fashion with other Secondary School graduates.

Professor Daly (to the right of An tUachtarán, Michael D. Higgins). www.ul.ie
Professor Daly (to the right of An tUachtarán, Michael D. Higgins). http://www.ul.ie

Grants are being withheld from people who, lets face it here, are trying to better themselves. Professor Mary Daly succinctly presents the case of the

“…bank official working full-time on €25,000 a year is being charged fees to study in the evenings, while the child of the bank’s CEO is entitled to the free fees scheme to study during the day?”

The Higher Education Authority has reported a significant drop of 9% of students embarking on a PhD and a 2% drop in those engaging with 3rd Level as a Mature Student in recent years. With all the Brouhaha (yes, I dropped the B-Bomb!) in recent years about the need for ‘re-training’ and ‘internships’, it should come as a significant surprise that during the same period Postgraduate students have had their access to maintenance grants significantly undermined by SUSI and the Irish government, the body pushing this great ‘knowledge economy.’

University rankings. Generally speaking, those who excel are those with greater funding. Irish Independent
University rankings. Generally speaking, those who excel are those with greater funding. Irish Independent

Now in ‘post-crisis’ Ireland (another massive bone of contention btw), with everything rising but the dead, students are faced with increased accommodation costs, not only in Dublin, but also throughout the country as a whole. So people will just commute from home or a cheaper place to live? Also on the rise is petrol/diesel, parking, public transportation fares. Fees are also continually and incrementally rising, with increases being used to offset declining central government funding. Those claiming that grants are quite generous are living in cloud cuckoo land; wages rose during the Great War also, but inflation effectively destroyed those paltry increases! Free Education, isn’t, basically.

www.independent.ie
http://www.independent.ie

There’s a massive disconnect between what the government want (and not just this one wither, in case I’m accused of Fine Gael/Labour bashing…though Ruairí Quinn, the former ‘Hypocrite-in-Chief’, did their credibility few favours) and what they’re willing to invest in. Perhaps as the RIA suggests a new model of student support should be entered into? I’m not blind to the needs of universities or IT’s to investment and upgrading of facilities and infrastructure, but something has to give here; many have an aging (and expensive) building stock, which were expanded during the 1960’s and 70’s and need modernising. And its probably going to be parents and students who will have to give in. A model which is used at the national and international level might be worth considering; a bond issue. If colleges were to issue a long term bond, which would accrue with profits generated over a thirty year period, it might provide for some financial stability and guaranteed income. Some profits from these campus based start-ups and spin-offs we hear so much about, could be channelled into this area, etc.

Taking (and breaking) the Pledge
Taking (and breaking) the Pledge

As a conclusion, we as a Third Level community must acknowledge that the system is at present not effective. it is creaking along and certainly not operating at the peak efficiency, which is desired. Unfortunately, one must wait and see are there any in the sector, especially the national parliament, who posses the ability to engineer and herald such dramatic and much needed change.

The Nuts & Bolts

NUI Galway

 

When you’re sitting at a conference, listening to the chair give his or her spiel about who they’d like to thank and why and how the committee was great, you’re probably like me….wishing they’d finish up rapido and let us all get on with the business at hand, namely the sharing of ideas and delivering of papers. Its like at the cinema, the trailers might be interesting, but they’re not the real reason you went there in the first place!

 

However after a few months working with the committee in Galway 2016, I have to admit, the credits have their place in the shake-up too. A competent team behind/beside you will save your bacon and sanity in one fell swoop! A team comprised of solid, dependable, innovative and hard workers might even allow you to enjoy the process! In Galway I would like to think we have that combination well mixed in. Its important to enjoy life, sure even the Big Fella kicked back as well…

Mick & Ché

Now wouldn’t THAT make for an interesting paper!

 

Since we last spoke, the committee and myself have all been hard at work on IHSA 2016. Documents, updates and a seemingly endless supply of pedantic edits (my own pedanticism) have been flying across the net and people have been expressing opinions, choosing menu options, wandering corridors looking at rooms, pricing suppliers and determining which coffee is best! Ask anyone, I’m an awful coffee snob; if I have to drink it on the 19-21 February 2016, then it will at least be decent swill! We’re working on hotels and other accommodation options to try and get the best deal for attendees and to get as much bang for your hard earned bucks as possible!

Eyre Square

I am becoming convinced that it is the nuts and bolts, the unseen spade work, that can make or break a conference. You can have a Nobel Laureate give you keynote, you can have the most amazing dinner and lunches, but if your budget is blown sky-high, if your hot beverages are well, not hot, or if your attendees have no idea what’s going on, then your perfect 10 will be heading in the opposite direction! And despite what anyone tells me (or you too), it does take a full year to do it properly. Now I’m not saying you’ll be at it 24/7, but you will give it a few hours every week in some capacity, even if its writing a blog like this, or emailing caterers, or sorting out a workshop. To approach matters in any other fashion would be to invite a downward spiral which could be hard to pull out of. To quote the late, great George Harrison, ‘It takes time/a whole lot of precious time/it takes patience and time/to do it, to do it right!’

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And with all this behind-the-scenes activity, I feel that it is vitally important to keep in touch with you, the public and potential attendees, to let you know that we’re working away and that if you give us your weekend in February next year, then we’ll give you a truly great, memorable experience with some lasting memories and positive outcomes! This year we hope to have even better outcomes than previously, with greatly expanded media of presentation, legacy plans and greater than ever avenues of participation.

The excellent Charlie Byrne's Bookshop in Galway
The excellent Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway

So keep the faith and we hope to have some great testimonials coming out in the next few weeks or so! As usual if you’ve any questions please feel free to email us on ihsa2016@gmail.com or leave us a comment below.