Irish studies course integrates English and history

A new interdisciplinary course in Irish studies will be offered to all students for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. The course will explore the intersections between history and literature in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the present. Associate professor and Chair of History Joe Cope and professor of English Robert Doggett will teach the course, titled INTD 288: Irish Studies.

“The class will be a good opportunity to really unpack both the historical and literary context of a lot of different topics, ranging from the problems posed by pluralistic societies, how to deal with religious diversity, racial and ethnic diversity and, of course, the big issue: militarism, terrorism and hunger strikes,” Cope said.

The class will strive to look at the history of Ireland in a global context. The most defining aspect of the class will be its integration of both history and literature.

“In my literature classes, I end up doing some history, and I know that [Cope] ends up doing some literature,” Doggett said. “So we started to think, ‘Well, there are some schools that feature Irish Studies programs that are based on integration between history and literature. So we started thinking maybe we can do something modest here.”

Cope and Doggett will also be running the first-ever alumni trip to Ireland, a 10-day program for this summer.

“It will be a trip around the north and west of Ireland during which we will be doing history and literature talks and guided tours, that sort of stuff,” Doggett said.

In the summer of 2015, Cope and Doggett will also put together a trip to Ireland that will involve a combination of history and literature courses, similar to INTD 288. This summer course will either be a four-credit INTD course or two three-credit classes combined together. It would be primarily for history and literature students.

INTD 288 will also be an opportunity for students to utilize skills they have learned from other courses to heighten their future learning.

“I think the goal for a place like Geneseo is interdisciplinary education, and we say that all the time, but we often don’t create opportunities for students to make connections among their classes,” Doggett said. “This is a way to really model for students the kinds of connections one can make when you’re studying history and when you’re studying literature. Even beyond that, you can connect this with international relations, philosophy classes, even geography.”